You are Not a Vulcan, and Neither is Anyone Else.

Friends often tell me about something that happened to them and they're angry, sad, frustrated, annoyed, and whatever crazy range of emotions they feel on a daily basis. "She said this to me! Can you believe that? She pissed me off really good..."

But what I find even more interesting is that a lot of the times, these same friends say in the same breath that they don't understand why they feel this way and they want to stop feeling this way. They can't justify feeling this way and they feel guilty for having such a strong emotional reaction.

So why do you have such a strong reaction? It's simple. You are not a Vulcan. You are a human being. You feel feelings and have no way to suppress them like Vulcans do.

(Sidenote: If you ARE a Vulcan and can verify that the planet Vulcan is still in tact despite several Star Trek movies saying it was destroyed, please take me to your leader. And Spock, while we're at it)

The way I see it, feelings are reactions we have internally to what is happening to us or others externally. Over time, with great amounts of personal development, these knee-jerk reactions can change to something else.

For example, when I used to go out to dinner with an ex, he would flirt with the waitress innocently, engaging conversation with her in front of me and being kind to her, probably more  than he needed to. I thought, "Cool, she's nice and I like her nails a lot so I'll join in on conversation because she seems friendly and she probably would like a great couple to serve rather than one that's yelling at each other and her and isn't that a pretty bracelet you have there, you say you got it from a friend that went to Tanzania? That's so awesome! When will you go out and visit yourself?" And we may even get better service as a bonus for how I reacted to the situation. This shocked my ex because the last girl he dated HATED that he even so much as looked at the waitress with a smile.  His last girlfriend had a very different outlook on how she perceived her environment.

But both of our feelings are valid. What we feel is valid. We're allowed to feel excited that there's another person to join us in conversation while we're at the bar, and we're allowed to feel insecure that our boyfriend pays more attention to the waitress than us. We're allowed to be angry that our friend disagreed with our life decision, and we're allowed to simply write them off because they don't understand where we're coming from. We're allowed to be happy that someone is asking us more about a problem we're having, and we're allowed to be annoyed.

We're allowed to FEEL. That's something no one can take away from us or tell us we can't do. We can change that, but it takes time to change how we feel about situations.  So what can we change despite how we feel on the inside? How we react externally.

Just because your boyfriend tells the waitress that she has a cool hairdo doesn't justify you throwing your beer in his face. Just because your friend disagrees with your new plan to become a direct sales representative doesn't justify you excluding her from your entire social life. Just because someone is probing us for questions doesn't mean we get to lash out and bring up that their life isn't perfect and to leave us the hell alone.

I mean, you can still do these things if you really want to, but what I'm getting at is that there is a separation of reactions internally and externally. How you react internally doesn't have to be your knee-jerk reaction externally.  Use this to your advantage. Let yourself feel whatever emotions you have internally, but be selective in how you bring out your emotions externally.

And while you're at it, just like you're not a Vulcan, neither is anyone else. They also have these feelings and emotions, and not all of them know how to separate the internal feelings from the external reactions yet. Some people never do, and they spend their lives just reacting all the time.  Understanding this is important too so you can even more carefully pick your external reactions to help people understand your perspective.