Emotion Regulation 1.20: A Caveat or Two

A Caveat or Two

I’m a bit unsettled about moving on to our next series before I offer one last caveat (or two) to our series on emotion regulation.

I’m not sure I stressed enough that the 19 skills of wisdom should not be used to deny issues or to sweep problems under a rug. Perhaps it goes without saying but, by all means, if a problem can be solved, solve it! If conflict could result from trying to solve a problem, all the more reason to try to solve it, so that the conflict can go away! But solve it with interpersonal effectiveness.

Move Toward Your Anxiety

If your own emotion or the emotions of others will be disturbed as a result of life’s realities, still, move toward what gives you the most anxiety, and then consciously use the skills we’ve covered to navigate through the dangerous waters.

Have you seen the animated film, “How to Train Your Dragon”? Hiccup, a young Viking boy, finds it impossible to kill the dragons that threaten his family and community, so he tries a different approach: befriending them. This approach ends up saving his own life and the life of the entire community.

The film is a wonderful metaphor for facing your fears, confronting your problems, welcoming them as friends in your life, allowing them to mentor you, to teach you and to help you grow.

Endless Do-Over Opportunities

Of course, this is not a requirement. You can always continue to do life as you’ve always done it, but remember, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. Life gives us one “do-over” opportunity after another until we master these skills, so if you decide to postpone the project, no worries. You’ll get another opportunity just around the corner. The problem might be bigger by the time you get there, but it’ll be there, waiting for you to face it fairly and squarely.

So if you thought that these 19 skills could help you avoid life or to make life easy, I’m sorry to deliver bad news. They’ll only help you confront life in a more effective way so that, in the end, you’ll not only end up with fewer problems to deal with, but the problems you do have won’t have the power to smack you around.

Wisdom is King and Queen

Wisdom–the mix of reason and emotion (in parts that each unique situation calls for)–is always the desired outcome. Develop and use the skills we’ve discussed in such a way that you can manage yourself more consciously, more solidly, more confidently, and more effectively in all your relationships.


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