Why do I feel this way?

A baby playing with macaroni

Yesterday, I had a conflict with my best friend. The thing was, he had no idea because it happened entirely in my mind.

The details aren’t super important. We had made plans to do something that I was excited for. He backed out the day of because he wasn’t comfortable doing it until next week.

All the logical parts of me were saying: Of course man. You don’t have to do anything you’re uncomfortable with!

But my automatic emotional response was something entirely different. I felt like: Really man? Come on, you pansy.

I noticed right as it was happening. If I logically know his choice makes sense and is fine, why do I feel hurt and frustrated? Or, put in a cheesier way: Why is my brain saying one thing but my heart is feeling another?

I wanted to text him back but I worried about being in too emotional of a state to say anything of substance. I remembered the advice I’ve heard and have given several times: Don’t respond in an incredibly emotional state—be it anger, sadness, or even excitement.

The reason being that our emotions are fleeting. Especially if it’s a powerful emotion, we most certainly won’t be feeling that way for very long. So naturally, when we respond to someone in that state, we tend to regret what we’ve said or done when time passes and we come out of it.

I didn’t respond. I remembered my training.

As the day came to a close and I finished working, I still felt a slight tinge of disappointment. But I was quite glad I didn’t say anything earlier. Whatever it would’ve been, it wouldn’t have been productive.

I went to jiujitsu and called him when I got out. I told him everything.

It was a truly lovely and utterly strange conversation. I wasn’t saying sorry, but I felt bad. He had nothing to forgive, but he felt reconciled.

We came to the conclusion that I tend to have emotional reactions when things don’t go the way I thought they would. I’ll have it in my head that it’s going to be this, but when that doesn’t happen, my internal response goes, This isn’t how it was supposed to happen!

I asked him about times when his logic and emotions were saying two different things. We shared stories, discussed mindfulness, and expressed gratitude for our ability to have such open conversations.

We laughed as we compared this phenomenon to when someone’s partner dreams they cheated and wake up pissed off at them. Logically, they know nothing happened…but they just emotionally experienced something traumatic.

Lessons:

• We’re emotional beings. We make decisions based on emotion and then justify them with logic.

• While it can be scary or uncomfortable, having totally candid conversations with our close friends is one of the most rewarding experiences out there.

• We cannot control our thoughts or emotions. They simply arise. What we can control is whether or not we let them dictate our words and actions.