For the past eleven months, I've been planning a major event: my wedding. I would consider myself an emotional person (I'm often misty-eyed and reaching for a tissue after interviewing sources for West Michigan Woman articles, and everyone in the office is used to it). But I never knew the range of emotions I could experience until now. I've gushed, squealed, fumed, and sobbed. And sometimes all in the same day …
On the days that have leaned more toward the negative, I have tried to remember this saying: "Anger is a secondary emotion." It means when I find myself reacting to something or someone with anger, there is another emotional trigger (or triggers) that got me there. For example, I felt angry that I couldn't order the linens for my reception when I wanted to, but the cause of my anger wasn't a tablecloth—I was overwhelmed with my to-do list and worried I'd fall behind. Overwhelmed + Worried = Angry.
Another adage I keep close to my heart is, "Love is always the appropriate reaction." I am a redhead, and stereotypically fiery when provoked. I also have a passive aggressive streak—I know, I'm working on it. And the way I'm working on it is by trying to pause before reacting. During the pause, I have time to remember that I can choose the way I react. I may not be able to choose or change the way someone else acts, but I am in control of my own actions. And why on earth, if I am able to choose, would I ever choose the negative? Everything good, and nothing bad, comes from being loving.
I'm not perfect. My wedding dress is perfect. But I am not. That's why I keep these mantras around, like a little team of personal encouragement, cheering me on and making me a better person (and, someday, a better wife).
What are your favorite quotes or phrases, and how have they helped you?
p.s. What's your advice for me on my big day?
Written by: Erika Fifelski is West Michigan Woman magazine's staff writer. She graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism. Erika was born and raised in West Michigan, and after a brief stint on the sunrise side, she's home and loving it. Photo: Evelyn Vaughn Photography