THE MOST IMPORTANT SUBJECT—REACTIONS
Reactions involve your inner life.
The management of your inner life is, to me, the most important subject in this book.
Every day you will either reveal or conceal feelings, emotions, attitudes, intentions and thoughts stimulated by people and events. Either way, whether you reveal or conceal them, there they are, coming from within you.
You can’t control what other people do around you. Neither can you control all the events of the day. How you respond will either build up or chip away at your self-respect and self-love, depending on how you manage what goes on underneath your skin.
PLEASANT, POSITIVE FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS
When psychologists write about the inner life, they refer to pleasant and unpleasant feelings, or positive and negative emotions. There are two kinds of pleasant feelings and emotions.
First, when there is a highly pleasurable and satisfying response to people or circumstances, we describe ourselves as excited, elated, thrilled, ecstatic, or exhilarated.
Recently I heard a TV advertisement inviting people to experience a “new high” at a certain resort. Along with such pleasant responses come some bodily changes like a pounding heart, increase in respiration rate, or muscle tension. Such responses are easily experienced al an athletic contest, a suspense drama, a concert, when anticipating some event, on the arrival of a special friend or relative, in the presence of someone, or while participating in something challenging.
It takes a lot of energy to sustain such a condition and there comes a point when this excitement, pleasant as it is, must cease, or it becomes unpleasant.
Second, a person can be described as living heartily, joyously, and happily when the inner life is described as calm, still, or quiet.
Muscles are relaxed, heartbeat is normal, and digestion is normal. There is freedom from nervousness. All these words describe an inner condition that can be summed up in one word: peace.
Feeling good and pleasant today is not a sure test of whether the feelings are built on a firm foundation. One can be filled with elation, pleasure, and joy over successfully cheating, stealing, lying, deceiving, sensuality, breaking the law, going through a divorce, expressing cruelty and selfishness.
In the long run, good feelings not based squarely on God’s commandments will turn to ashes.
UNPLEASANT, NEGATIVE FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS
The person who experiences unpleasant feelings and negative emotions can be described as being filled with tension, restlessness, anxiety, or frustration. He probably has tense muscles, a pounding heart, faulty digestion and nervousness.
These words describe an inner condition also, and can be summed up in one word: misery.
The pace of modern-day living is crisis upon crisis—rapid, unpredictable change in people and circumstances.
A common response to the pace is misery: tension that invades the soul and even the nervous system.
We can’t endure misery. Something must be done about it. Peace must be restored.
There is general agreement among physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and ministers regarding the destructive effect of the so-called unpleasant feelings and negative emotions that result from the absence of peace.