A variety of events over the course of a lifetime can teach a person how to deal with life's ups and downs. Emotional highs and lows. Set backs and accolades. This experience brings to us the ability to handle our emotions or at least understand them. Those better at controlling their emotions usually have had many experiences. Just like wisdom usually comes from actually experiencing a life of hardships, struggles, triumpths and growth. Emotional intellegence (not the book) usually comes from an ability to reflect back on yourself after the emotions have taken their course and gain knowledge for future use.
This experience teaches you what to expect. What your actions and thoughts will be when your in the midst of that emotion. How? Because you've been there before. You're able to recognize when your thoughts are clouded, biased and just plain ridiculous and use this to gain control and perspective when your emotions try and consume you again.
For me, emotional control and intellegence has come from a variety of experiences that were usually followed by regrets. Regrets for the things I've said and couldn't take back, the things I've done that made perfect sense in the moment, or from having to live with the consequences of my actions, but in hindsight? Oh man! You think to yourself...I'm that person. That out of control person making a fool of themselves, making themselves look BAD. If you're like me, a prideful person, you learn quickly when this happens and it haunts you to the point that next time you won't forget and repeat the action. Or in some cases, when reflecting back you'll realize you handled something well and you're able to make a mental note of it, analyze why you were able to handle the situation so well and use this information for the future.
Now and again, you'll come across that emotion that still gets the best of you. You recognize it when its happening. Recognize the idiot thoughts going through your head and the irrational thinking happening at that moment. But....you still don't care. (ha! "Hey You! It's Me Your Conscience!") You ignore all rational. Ignore the knowledge and memory of regretting your actions the last time this emotion took over and controlled you. For some this is anger, love, lust, or greed. Whatever your vice, it now has you in the palm of its hands. Controlling you like a puppet. After it has released you you're left with the ever so popular face in hands, I'm so sorry, what was I thinking state of being.
Then there are those who have the inate ability to shut down. The emotions are so strong and overwhelming. The pain so great your mental instincts kick in and your brain tells you to ABORT! Jump ship! And your emotions shut down. You feel nothing. If it wasn't for this inate skill, I might have lost my job, lost my daughters, ended up in a mental hospitol...who knows. But I am thankful for this ability. I know when its happening. My friends and family know it too.
One day my oldest (20years of age) asked me why I couldn't just let go. Why couldn't I just be emotional sometimes? Must I be in control all the time? I explained to her the many ways I am able to let my emotions out: the gym, kickboxing, writing. Then I continued to explain that there are those times when I just can't. The gym, kick boxing, writing, nothing helps. Not even a good cry. In order to protect myself, our lives as we know it, I have no choice but to shut down. If my emotions were to take over and affecte my parenting, I'd lose her sister, if they affect my job, I'd lose my job. Following that would be losing the house, the home for her and her sister, possibly my ability to care for them and hence custody. My world would crumble if my emotions took over. And for now, there are certain emotions that still get the best of me and this is how they are handled.
Since I am single with no one to lean on. Since no one in my famiily has the financial ability to help me in a crunch (no credit cards, no savings, no additional desposable income to spare) or has a home that would allow for temporary living arrangments should my world crumble. Since I am 100% completely emotionally and financially on my own. I cannot afford to feel pain. Cannot afford to let the overwhelming type of emotions consume me. Why? Because there would be no one there to help pick up the pieces or keep me from self-destructing. Nor did I want to be in a position to have to "pick" up the pieces, not if I could prevent it. So, you're forced to shut down. Sounds great, if you can turn it back on, right? Wouldn't that be great? Turn emotions on and off like a light switch? Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. It's a slow rebuilding and reopening process. But it's better than the alternative.
So for those who curse the pain of heartache, disappointment, etc. Feel lucky that when the occasion arises, you can. Feel blessed that you have the abiility or someone there to hold your hand during and after. Not everyone can afford to hurt. It's a luxury. A luxury many wish they had. For the rest of us, its just survival.