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The Importance of Emotional Regulation

There have been many dark times in my life where I regret my emotional outbursts and inability to see certain situations with clarity. I am certain anyone reading this has gone through similar experiences and lays up in bed at night figuring out the right thing to do or what they should have done or said that would have been more constructive to everyone involved in their particular situation. The thing is, no matter what we do or the habits we build, there will always be things we wish we did differently or said differently. We. Are. Human. We make mistakes but we also have to make choices all day, every day. These choices are sometimes going to hurt others around us, and ourselves, and throw our entire day in a negative direction. There are many things we can do to try and avoid these situations happening on a regular basis. I believe the most important is emotional regulation.

I have many personal examples of when emotional regulation lacked in my life and when I felt regret and shame from those outbursts and lack of control of my own emotions. There was a tournament a couple of weeks ago where I tossed a club after a bad shot out of a bunker and the club took a weird bounce, ending up on the green. I felt a tremendous amount of shame and this act bothered me for many nights to follow. It did not really matter the result after that day as I can typically move on from the result within a day or two, it was that moment in front of many people where I portrayed myself as someone who cannot control their emotions, which is not who I am as a person. This was very disappointing to me. A more personal example occurred a couple of years ago, I was much shorter tempered, opinionated, and not very aware of the implications of my actions or words. I lost multiple friends that year because I would continually offer my opinion when it was not wanted or burst out with a passive-aggressive comment that was unnecessary and not very constructive at all.

The words I said were hurtful at times without me even realizing and because I did not have emotional regulation or awareness of when it was an appropriate time to offer my opinion on a situation, I pushed people I loved away and said things I did not truly mean. I was acting like someone who was not really Cam Kellett. I was basing all of my interactions and reactions on my emotions versus processing, taking some time to come up with a response that is of some substance and then proceeding with the conversation. I learned many times that biting my tongue was the right choice and felt that people wanted to be around me more often because I was more concerned about what they had to say instead of constantly needing to butt in for attention or because I just felt like I had the right to do so.

I learned after losing some close friends due to acting in a destructive manner that it was neither attractive nor cool to speak or act recklessly and it was only harming me as a person. I am still far away from where I want to be, however, I have developed a lot of emotional regulation and am able to stay calm in the heat of a tough moment on the golf course or a tough conversation. I am not as clouded by my emotions and I have done this simply by trying to be aware of how I am feeling and suppressing the reaction side that wants to go on a rampage. When I suppress it, I find it gives me a moment of rage followed by the clarity of what needs to be said or done to find a solution to the situation in any aspect of life, rather than snapping and making a fool of myself for no particular reason. It is a lifelong journey of awareness but certainly a tough lesson I learned hard.

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