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Cause and Effect

One way to understand that feelings are a choice is to think about cause and effect. If words, actions, or events make someone angry, frightened, or sad, that person has no choice. The person is made to feel that feeling. The word, action, or event is the cause, and the feeling is the effect. If the process truly were a cause-and-effect process, wouldn’t it make sense that the same cause would then produce the same effect (feeling) in everyone? Simple observation proves that different people have different feelings about exactly the same event. Therefore, it is the person experiencing the words, actions, or events who chooses an emotional response.

Example: If someone decided to surprise you for your birthday by hiring someone in a clown suit to show up at your place of work and sing a song for you, how would you feel about the surprise? Whatever feeling you might have, you would probably agree that other people would respond differently to the same surprise. Some would be delighted and happy, others would feel embarrassed, others might get angry, and some might be disappointed. There is no sure way to predict anyone’s emotional response in advance.


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