In our futile efforts to control the world around us, we use any tool at our disposal. One of those tools is our moods. We don’t do this on purpose, but we do it anyway. It starts from our earliest interactions with our parents and is reinforced throughout our lives. When we were small children, we learned to throw temper tantrums to get our way. Our parents would have to deal with our moods and to control us they would respond with their moods. We practiced controlling our parents with our moods and they practiced controlling us with their moods. If we were lucky, our parents had some control of their moods. If we were unlucky, moods would become like the weather and we would just have to take what came.
As we grew, we learned how to have some control over our moods, and we could begin to use our moods to control those around us. If we really wanted somebody to do something, we might become angry. If we wanted comfort we would become sad. Sometimes we knew we were doing this, sometimes not.
Problems occur when we get in the habit of using our moods to control others and we don’t believe that we can control our moods. Then our moods, which are at least within our sphere of influence, if not under our control, control us as we try to control those around us. Those around us are also using their moods, consciously or unconsciously to control us.
The remedy for all this mood control is to practice observing how our moods interact with those around us. As we become aware of how we respond to others’ moods, we add consciousness to the interaction. That helps control our reactive moods. When we pay attention to how our moods influence those around us, we can see how we use our moods to control others.
We are social beings, so whatever moods we go through will influence the moods of those around us. When we learn to observe moods and see that we can influence those moods, our moods will not control us. When our moods don’t control us, other people’s moods won’t control us either. We will no longer unconsciously fall into moods in attempting to control an out of control world.
Once we gain some mastery of our moods through simple observation, then we can practice using compassion to engage with our moods and the moods of those around us. Addressing our own and others’ moods consciously, with love and compassion, takes us to a whole new level.