“Befriending your emotions”- 6 September 2011

Salil stormed out of the section, very angry with one and all and almost ready to pick up physical fight with anyone who would accost him. He had just had a very bitter argument with a colleague. So angry was Salil that he insulted the colleague and threatened him with dire consequences. “Meet me outside the office in the evening. I will smash your face”, he had said before storming out of the hall where more than twenty persons were working. In fact, nobody understood why Salil got so angry. For, there was only a mild disagreement over a trivial matter, and colleague said, “Don’t worry Salil. We will sort this out by seeking our boss’s advice. It is a small matter. Perhaps, you may be right. But I suppose, we had tackled a similar matter differently a few months ago. S, don’t worry, I will ask the boss.” Salil took a serious offence and said, “Boss does not know a damn about this. I know things. And don’t interfere in my assignment. I will smash your face.” The colleague, in fact all colleagues, were simply stunned. Nobody understood why Salil lost his temper so much.

In the three years he had been working in the organisation, Salil had fought with almost everyone. He had a bad temper, and did not have any control on himself once he got angry. Son of a wealthy family, Salil had not known how to control his anger. He had got involved in physical fights, too, on a few occasions.
Of late, he had developed a special friendship with a girl in the office. They met in the evenings and even exchanged gifts. That evening, however, the girl was serious. She said, “Look, Salil, I am very worried about your temper. Why do you get so angry over trivia? It appears, your anger is your worst enemy. I don’t think we will be happy if we get married. For, your temper would not allow any peace in the home. I do not know how to solve this problem. And, you do not want anyone to help you. You are just impossible.”
That reprimand did the trick. Salil got thinking. He sought the girl’s help sincerely. She was more than willing. Slowly, Salil started learning ways and means of controlling his anger. He is yet to come out of the ugly grip of that negative emotion on him, but he is on the way to recovery. In a few more months, he may be a changed person, thanks to the patient work his fiancée did to help him.
Salil’s example is not an isolated case, however. We come across in any workplace many such examples of hapless victims of their own emotions. Some have bad temper. Some are extremely sentimental. Some have never learnt the art of making friends. Some are all the time suspicious about others. Some are all the time jealous of anybody who is doing well…..
For all such people whose emotions are not in their control, life is a chain of unpleasant events. They are generally unsettled all the time. They are unaware of the damage they are allowing their negative emotions to cause to themselves. They are unhappy at work, and they are very troubled at home. If only someone tells them how to befriend their emotions, negative or positive, these people can turn their life into a very happy experience. If only….!
In fact, controlling negative emotions and befriend them should not be a difficult affair, provide we take time off to understand what is actually afflicting us. And once we understand the nature of emotions, we can begin efforts to control those. But in our homes and schools and colleges, we are never taught the art of understanding our own emotions correctly and tackle them effectively. Our workplace becomes disturbed zone when the number of such employees is more than the number of people with a sane head on their shoulders.
A systematic effort to understand the emotions, their origin, and why they afflict us, can solve the problem in most people’s lives. If such people are helped by professional counsellors, then our average workplace can be a happy zone. Unfortunately, most organisations do not have counsellors and no awareness of any such need.
An easier way to handle the complex situation of messed up emotions is to understand the nature of our emotions, and then tackle them step by step without giving any knee-jerk reaction. Patience is the key. For, we can befriend our emotions with patience and persistence.

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