You are not above your feelings,
how you respond emotionally defines personality.
Nor are you ruled by them,
how you respond with choices defines character.
Emotional responses are difficult because they ask us to be raw, to be authentic, honest and open when faced with a world from whom we want to protect ourselves. In order to maintain an openness and honest relationship with our emotional responses, we must understand and be comfortable with our true selves. Being in touch with our true selves requires work, because we must incorporate this into our daily lives which are wrought with challenges both internal and external.
Each day we make choices about how we carry ourselves into the world.
We all have a choice to live in fear of our emotions. We can choose to avoid them, act like we are above our feelings, or worse, like we are absent of them. This repression can manifest in great anxiety or depression, and sometimes outbursts of anger. We can fear being our true selves because being open and authentic, or feeling vulnerable, can lead us to great disappointments and feelings of rejection or inadequacy. These are complicated emotions that can be alleviated with help of understand and eventual acceptance of ourselves. The old saying still rings true, we cannot love others until we love ourselves. Loving oneself, in my perspective, means acceptance of the self. When we are honest about who we are, what we want and what we need, then we can better understand ourselves and the emotions we experience.
We also have a choice to let our emotions rule our lives. This too can lead to great suffering, because we become so consumed with the feeling in the moment, that often in doing this, we lose sight of the bigger picture and what is truly important in our lives. I am in no way trying to undermine great pain and suffering, because these can be felt acutely. However, most feelings are temporary, and how we feel today changes from how we feel three days, three weeks, three moths... from now. Time and space are invaluable friends when dealing with difficult emotions because they help us to gain perspective on the situation, and they allow us opportunities to gain insight into ourselves. Acting upon feelings in the moment can be exhilarating, but when they rule or lives, there is often a lack of stability. We must remember to let the choices we make today be the consequences we can live with tomorrow.
Feelings are part of the human experience. They can be a gift and a curse depending on the situation, but it is important to understand that while feelings are an important part of who we are, they are not us in totality.