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Eliminating Upsets From Your Life

Joseph S. Rubino 12-17

Whenever you find yourself in upset, examine what the source of the upset is. Doing so will allow you to identify what actions are appropriate in order to get over it and prevent similar upsets from reoccurring.

Upsets are seldom about the person with whom you are upset. No one else can make you upset. Only you can! The source of your upset is usually an interpretation you made up about something that happened.

To determine the source of an upset:

1. Check to see if there is an expectation in place that is not being met. What rules of yours or prior agreement have been broken? Being upset is often the result of a disappointment. Without a prior expectation that something will occur, there is much less chance of being bothered by what someone says or does.

When you become upset, ask yourself if there was a clear prior commitment made about the issue that produced the upset. Perhaps what may have been missing was clarity around what all parties were to do. Look to see if there is a request you can make to avoid future miscommunication.

When you contribute to others, do so because it is something you choose to do because it serves you.  Expect nothing in return.  Whether the other person appreciates it, acknowledges it or reciprocates in any way is of no consequence. You need not be affected by what anyone else says or does. If the only reason you give love or anything else to someone is because you expect something in return, you are bound to be disappointed when people do not respond as you had expected.

Having personal power means you are never emotionally dependent on what another person does or does not do. You alone are the source of your emotions and actions.

2. See if there is an important value that is not being honored.

When our core values that matter most are not honored, we tend to become angry and noncommunicative. To get to the source of an upset, identify what values are not being honored and what is needed to return to a state of honoring them. Often times, the experience of being heard will be sufficient to satisfy the person and eliminate the upset.

3. Ask if there is some undelivered communication that needs to be expressed. The act of speaking responsibly will often eliminate the pent-up emotion that results from not being heard. What are you repressing that you can say to someone to complete the situation for you so that you can move on with your life?

Instead of reacting to events or people, take the perspective that everything that happens supports you in some way. Your job is to uncover how every situation contributes to you and your growth. Adopt the attitude that everything that occurs is interesting and will support you in some way. Whether it is a difficult boss, a controlling spouse, or a potentially stressful situation, take the interpretation that each is presenting itself as an opportunity for your personal development. Take responsibility for how you feel in any given moment. No one can make you feel anything. You are in control. No one has the power to make you feel sad, angry, frustrated or happy.

Most of the time, our behavior is in reaction to our environment. We live our lives in a low-grade upset waiting for any circumstances that might trigger this impending upset, causing it to explode. This explosion of emotion is always about protecting ourselves from being what we are out to avoid in life. Upsets are always predominantly about the person who is experiencing the upset not about the person supposedly causing it.

An upset is often about the past. The source of each upset can usually be traced back to the same fundamental upset originating in childhood. This is where you decided that you did not belong or were not worthy of being loved. The upset can usually be traced back to whatever it is that you are out to avoid being in life. Your upset is about making sure this possibility does not happen.

4) Separate the facts from the interpretations and opinions involved. There is great power in being able to have anyone say anything to you, knowing that no matter what they say, there is no potential for it to upset you. The key is to recognize someone’s opinion as just that. You need not be offended by it.  Separate what is factual from what is opinion and don’t allow opinions to affect you.  Remember, you are not someone’s opinion about you.

In the final analysis, ask yourself if you are committed to let go and rising above life’s circumstances. Making the decision to not be invalidated will allow you to view everything that happens from an entirely new perspective – one without an upset attached to it! Developing the ability to disengage from the automatic reaction that produces distress will allow for a life of choice free from the habitual path of becoming upset.


1) In your journal, record any upsetting situations you experience daily.

2) What is the source of each upset? What interpretation has caused you to become upset? What new interpretation can you create that does not promote the upset?

3) What will you do to effectively take responsibility for your needs?

5) What would you not want anyone to find out about you?  This is what you are out not to be. Identify how this produces a reoccurring upset that runs your life and robs you of your power.

6) What is being upset costing you in terms of your health, relationships, power and effectiveness?



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