We’ve all been impulsive and careless at some point in life, but if this lately is a regular pattern with you, you may be avoiding some essential signs that you’re a slave to your emotions. This is not a good thing.
We have all devised our own personal ways of dealing with our emotions. What we call emotionally intelligent people, are people who have a way with others and themselves and have learned to master emotions in order to live a fulfilling life with satisfying relationships.
It has been found that emotions govern everything we do. They are the source of functioning, and the reason for decisions we make. In healthy amounts, emotions are amazing and are what make us human, but under extreme amounts of intense emotion, a person ceases to function in a civilized, intelligent, and sympathetic manner. Sometimes, there is a flux where you know what the right decision is, but do not follow it anyway. Due to the stress of modern life, people tend to lose control of their emotions. They start letting their emotions drive them, out of frustration, anger, loneliness, low self-esteem, depression or repression. All rationality is thrown out the window. This results in a life where a person learns to ignore the voice of their own conscience, and makes himself a slave to his emotions without realizing it. Walking around life blinded by emotions is a recipe for disaster.
Id, Ego, and Superego
The Id, Ego, and Superego are terms which Sigmund Freud used to describe the structure of the human psyche. Id is the basic, childlike, part of the psyche that has demands, irrespective of morality. Ego is the negotiator between the practical world and Id; a sort of nanny that kindly regulates the childish urges of the Id, with the art of compromise. The Superego represents the unconscious that absorbs values, supervision, and influences of the environment, and is the moral center.
Not to be very strictly adherent to Freud’s theories, but if you are listening more to what your desires tell you than your mind, you may be governed by the Id part of your psyche, the one that wants instant gratification to its wants. If any or all of these are a regular occurrence, you need to start worrying.
Signs that You’re a Slave to your Emotions
You Don’t Think of Consequences
The key difference is whether you take action by being emotional or by a cool, well-thought, and objective decision. When you’re ruled by intense emotions, you don’t tend to think of consequences to your actions. Whether it is to go for an impromptu trip without informing your bosses at work, or whether it is buying a car without consulting your wife, you never think what the implications will be. You justify it by saying “the heart wants what the heart wants.”
You Want Instant Gratification
Whatever it is you desire, you need to have it at that very moment. Whether it is craving a pizza or going home in the middle of a meeting, you wish to do it, and do it now. You do not delay anything that pops into your head, especially when it comes to something that is in no way beneficent to you except for the present. You have no second thoughts before maxing out your credit card on that dress you just saw, nor what happens when you binge eat three boxes of cookies.
You Like To Think You Know Best
Your choices and opinions seem to you the best, and you do not trust another person to give you sane advice regarding anything. You should respect yourself, but not to the extent that you disrespect others in the process. If someone tells you anything against your own views, you tend to brush it aside and are even more determined to do what you mean to do, sometimes just because you dislike the person who is butting in.
You Later Regret What You Say
When you later look back on your sharp retort to the boss, or to your mother that day, you realize that it doesn’t seem quite as witty as you’d thought it to be at the time. And then you might start to fret whether the boss was embarrassed by what you said, and whether you’ll have to resign tomorrow. If you still have some semblance of conscience left, you will regret what you have said impulsively in anger, pride, or pain.
You Get Angry if Someone Tells You Otherwise
When you are told to do something you do not agree with, it is possible to diplomatically get out of the mess and have it your way without making a tantrum. Except you don’t do that. You make one hell of an argument in support of yourself and refuse to listen when the other person wishes to even voice his opinion. You don’t stop to give their advice a thought at all. This is not to be confused with being angry at something or someone who is genuinely troubling you.
You Don’t Care Whose Feelings You’re Hurting
Sometimes you’re so busy shouting your head off in anger that you do not realize that you have said words that may have pierced the other person, even if you were mad for the right reason. You get ahead of yourself and into the moment, and by doing that, you never stop to think and rationally ask yourself whether the words you’re saying are going to hurt the person you say them to. As long as you are gratified, you don’t bother about the fact that words cannot be taken back.
You have Mood Swings
If you find yourself doing different things depending upon your varying moods, do introspect a bit. Having moods is natural, but these moods are to be overcome and faced, and routine should be stuck to despite them. When you find that you are skipping work regularly just because you don’t “feel” like, or ignoring your work and chilling with friends/Netflix whenever you “feel” like, you are very much ignoring your duties because of fickle moods.
You are Considered by Friends to be Unpredictable
If your friends brand you an unpredictable person in the sense that you cancel a meeting at the last minute because your mood changes, or break your resolves and carry them forward again due to rotating moods, that’s a sign. How you feel one moment should not determine the result of a resolution you have taken in the past; moreover, as a back and forth decision without thinking hard and deep about it.
You Regularly Let People Talk You into Doing Stuff
Your close ones will sometimes get you to bunk class with them, or try out this new place when you have a deadline tomorrow. If you are regularly giving in to such demands, because you feel like your work is not as important as compared to seeing the new joint with your gang, you are letting your present emotions jeopardize your future obligations. If it is a one-off thing, no reason to worry about that deadline, you seriously do need a break!
You React First, Think Later or Not at All
You realize at work that you have not been granted the 15-day leave even though you applied a month in advance, and you immediately react by letting out a string of profanities against your boss. And to top it all, then go up to his cabin and fight so loud that the entire building can hear your boss tell you that he didn’t approve your leave because you have none left due to the weddings you’ve been attending lately. See what we mean? Don’t let that emotion overpower your better judgment.
You’ve Been Making Bad Decisions
You seem to feel like nothing has been going right for you, because the decisions you’ve been making lately are impulsive and not well-thought out at all. You tend to consult various people, but ultimately follow your own mantras to disaster. You receive two new job offerings and you immediately select the one paying more without debating the pros and cons of both jobs, just for the money. You later find you’re stuck in a 12-hour shift that squeezes every ounce of energy out of you.
You Confuse Passion with Emotional Governance
You have always wanted to be one of those passionate people who do what is right and follow their hearts, but all you end up being is emotional about things. To be passionate means to pursue something with an unquenchable thirst and tenacity, but being emotional about your passion is to hinder yourself by concentrating on everything related to the task except to finish it. Passion involves taking calculated risks, but emotional decisions will be hasty, rash, and bad for you in the long run.
You’ve Stopped Hearing that Inner Voice of Caution
There comes a point where you have listened to your heart for everything, and now your mind has been trained to stay out of the complicated equations of your emotions. So, that little voice which in the past would have told you to stop driving rashly, will either stop talking, or you won’t hear it at all. All you know is what you’re feeling, and you’re feeling mad at your girlfriend for cheating on you. So you take it out with rash driving.
All the descriptions here might be confused with specific personality types that cannot help but be this way. If you observe just one or two signs within you, which have been with you forever, it is safe to assume that you are not exactly governed by your emotions but need to caution yourself. If none of these signs are recurrent in your life and you find that you have good self-control, all is good. It must be remembered that being an emotional person is different from being someone who is governed by emotions and outbursts. There is nothing wrong with expressing one’s emotions, thoughts and feelings, but this should be done in a tactful way to ensure that you do not make it your aim. Slavery to one’s emotions is retardation of one’s emotional quotient, and unhealthy. Repression is not a solution either, and will lead to outbursts of pent-up emotions.
If you observe most of these signs of being a slave to your emotions within you, or a trusted person has been making remarks that say roughly the same thing, you should know that you cannot control your emotions at all anymore, and are becoming a slave to your mind instead of taming it. Don’t give in to the barbarism that is inherent in human nature, but instead control it with a civilized, educated mind and a strong emotional quotient. If you do not wish to end up behaving like one of the boys from Golding’s Lord of the Flies, there are several ways you can seek help before your slavery reaches such a point that you are a mean, impulsive shadow of your former civilized self.
It does not take much to get yourself back on track. You can start with meditation, or diverting yourself into putting your emotional energies elsewhere. Find a way to utilize this intense excess emotion by joining some physical activity class, run around the park, do things you love, and most of all, get to know and love yourself.