Foundational Principles of the Option Process (what we teach at Option Institute) #1 - HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE: Though many of us speak as if our emotions happen to us, we believe that they are responses we choose in an effort to take care of ourselves. Misery, fear, anger, distress, and discomfort are optional, not inevitable. We can show you how to make emotional choices of comfort to enhance your life. Love, Bears
Deborah G. - Thank you for posting this again, and again, I need reminding about this when I am afraid and trying to move forward in my life....
Shaun K. - Personally i call this emotional responsibility. I find it hard to believe, however, that there exists a truly emotionless state, and so I would say everyone is always feeling something, though it may not be outstanding. It is impossible to constantly be paying attention to your own emotional state.
Therefor some emotional conditioning, or a sort of self training may be necessary to eliminate undesired emotions completely, but personally i do not feel this is healthy.
Having controlled my emotions for years, and also having relinquished control, I find it best for myself only to control my emotions when they feel unhealthy or extremely out of balance. I have found plenty of value in "allowing emotions to happen to me" as a sort of subtle internal compass.
I figure if negative emotions exist there may be a purpose or reason for them, and so i allow them to be as important to me as positive emotions, and I find the contrast of the two more refreshing and enlightening.
Pessy G. - Hi Shaun. What if you were to believe that there are no "positive" or "negative" emotions, rather simply emotions as you said, that have a purpose, and are as important as we make them? What if, in understanding their purpose, we give ourselves the opportunity to choose the emotion that is most useful at the time? How about visiting www.option.org? Check out the webinars and enjoy...if you choose to ;)
Shaun K. - Pessy. I chose to view emotions as positive and negative because it expands my range of concepts, giving me more versatility in my explanations. this is the same reason i do not remove the words "should" "try" and "better" from my vocabulary.
I feel I am able to understand what emotions are most useful at the time, though i rarely chose to be so utilitarian with my own heart (figuratively).
I am not suggesting there is no purpose for what I call negative emotions or what Bears calls misery, fear, anger, distress, and discomfort. In fact I am suggesting the opposite: that there is a purpose for all emotions and hence little need for me to control them, it is more useful for me to study them, rather than allowing my study to use my emotions.
Simone D. L. T. - Shaun, I think the main question here that is being proposed is not about how you judge your emotions to be good or bad but that they are always your choice even though you might think you are not choosing them and they are just happening to you. A lot of people think that the Option Process advocates that people must be happy all the time and it is forbidden to feel anger, misery, etc but not so, what it claims is mainly that we choose our feelings, whichever they are, because they serve us a purpose, people use unhappiness or happiness because there is an underlying belief that it serves them in a certain way, even though that belief is not always clear to everybody, so in a way what you are saying is not the opposite but the same thing Bears is saying, you are just choosing to keep emotions you choose to call negative because you think they serve you a purpose and that is totally ok. In the Option Process what you do is exactly as you said study your emotions.
Alison S. T. - Happiness is a choice is my favourite of all your ideas Bears, because the ideas that our emotional responses are based on our beliefs is so empowering - I love the fact that I am in charge of me, and that if I explore my beliefs that I can change them if I want to and so give myself a whole different experience. But also aren't people so amazingly fascinating, we all have such an incredible array of beliefs that are unique to us. So deciding to work with ourselves to uncover our beliefs could be more like going on a treasure hunt rather than open heart surgery without anaethesia. Love hugs and smiles
Larry B. - Shawn and Pessy; there is a reason behind every choice of emotion we put on ourselves. Me thinks the question to ask is whether it helps, truly helps one to have the quality of experience they want to have, display, and to share? And to become aware it is not the stimuli that determines this, it is ones own chosen and held beliefs about what or how one best ought to respond or react like a program and each of us is our own programmer hugs
Melanie M. S. - I shared this with a dear friend yesterday and recommended she visit the site and order some great books!!
Shaun K. - Simone, I am very aware that the proposition Bears is making is that emotions are always a choice, and not that negative emotions are to be avoided. My detailing of that idea was for pessy. I am not suggesting the same thing as bears, however.
Allow me to make an analogy:
Breathing is a choice. one could always choose to be inhaling or exhaling, however one is constantly breathing, (in the same way i would argue one is constantly feeling) and does not always have the time or head space to choose, as more pressing issues arise. in this way inhaling, exhaling, misery or fear may happen to you. paying attention to ones breathing is recommended by many a teacher in very much the same way paying attention to emotions is.
i feel the same way about choosing my breathing as i do about choosing my emotions. unless they are extremely out of balance, i leave it up to my body to regulate them most of the time, as i think most people do, and this feels healthy to me.
Simone D. L. T. - I understand now Shaun and you're right it's not the same thing. I disagree in the sense that I believe my breathing is controlled by involuntary action while my feelings are controlled by my beliefs although one could argue there are people who can control their breathing like those divers who can hold their breath for ages. Its a fascinating shady line between mind and matter and this is a region of thought I am not certain myself. I would love to follow an Option course which discussed this, how much of our diseases/body functions happen to us or are caused by us. I like the way you discuss ideas deeply and dissects them, very interesting. It is a question of belief really as I don't think there is such an option of leaving it up to your body to regulate your feelings, I think choices are being made even if you are not concious you are making them, they are such automated responses rehearsed over and over again by ingrained beliefs that it feels as if we are not choosing them. I think that is why some people don't like surprises because it would require a more concious choice of reaction rather than a rehearsed one. When we designate that the cause of our feelings is the stimulli outside, what happens, whenever that particular thing happens we react in the same way and blame the thing happening taking our responsibility away from the choice of our reactions. When you exercise making different choices you sample the power of changing your destiny as you start getting totally different outcomes and it is really refreshing. But as choices go, it is up to each person, you are choosing what it feels healthy to you and that is great, to take care of ourselves at all times is everyone's ultimate goal and the guide of our choices. Thanks for discussing, it is a fascinating subject.
Judy M. - I have found that emotions are responses to thinking. Feelings are gifts that tell us what we are thinking. If I ever want to know what I am thinking I just need to be aware of what I am feeling. If I want to change a feeling or emotion, I can change my thinking. So I am in control of my emotions and what I am putting into my head. I now no longer overeat to numb the feelings I don't want to feel. Instead I feel them, understand what the thinking is behind them and choose to change them if I want.
Stacey R. - Happiness may be a choice in our hearts - it's also a choice we can choose to give to others as well. Maybe if we choose to brighten other people's day a little bit - be good natured, and spread God's love, it'll be easier for us ourselves ...to be able to choose to be happy. I find your comments interesting, thanks for posting them, I'm Erol's daughter Stacey! :)
Alison S. T. - Yes Stacey, you are so right, that in giving to others we give ourselves a happier and more nourishing experience. Thanks for joining this. I'm glad you are enjoying Bears status posts. Love Alison : )