Our emotions are not responses to objective situations. They are responses to what we think is happening in those situations, and to the beliefs we have about what that means for us and for the things that we care about.
Our emotions are responses to the story we’re telling ourselves in our own mind –to our interpretation of what’s going on. Michelle Shiota notes that our beliefs may or may not map to the actual situation. One way of thinking of good mental health is that our beliefs are reasonably in sync with reality.
While it’s true that there is often no one right way to look at reality, there is a scale of attunement – greater or lesser degrees of accurately connecting with what’s actually going on in the world – in other people’s minds and within ourselves and in our relationships to others.
Before we can decide how we want to relate to our emotions, we need a reality check. To what extent is what I am emotionally responding to actually happening?
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