What to do with our feelings!

We hear it often said and are told by many “just go with your feelings” on this or that, don’t think about it; let your emotions decide. While there are definitely many occasions where we should do just that; there are just as many situations where personal feelings need to be avoided at all costs.  One example that comes to mind where one should proceed with caution when it comes to allowing personal feelings to affect decisions, is the area of self-employment.

Being a business owner myself, I know firsthand the “dangers” of handling your feelings without discretion. It is not uncommon for many budding entrepreneurs (including yours truly) to lose sight of their business goals, and eventually even the loss of their entire businesses because they could not control the “feeling” of taking just one too many holidays.

As famed English novelist Mary Stewart is quoted as saying, “the best way of forgetting how you think you feel is to concentrate on what you know you know.” This is great advice for many of us not exactly sure what we should do in certain situations when our feelings seem to take over our mind. At times like this it seems to me that what Stewart is really saying is focus on what you know, on what has been proven, and put aside your feelings for the moment. This is great advice especially when our feelings are trying to impact us in some negative way whether at work or at home, staying focused on what we know can help get us through.

Our military personnel are without question the most disciplined example of setting personal feelings aside to concentrate on what they know regardless of cost, even and more often than not if that cost is their very lives. With this being said there are without question contributing factors that impact our feelings besides just thoughts. Factors such as our physical health; are we eating right, getting the proper rest, participating in an exercise program etc … “ as head coach Vince Lombardi would often tell his players “fatigue makes cowards of us all. Also, our mental health; are we in a nurturing environment that feeds and encourages us, elevates our mind with new insights and challenges us with new ideas?  I’m not saying that without these key factors in place that achieving control over personal feelings is impossible, but it will definitely require more effort on your part.

Now before you think I’m totally against listening to feelings and being moved by them, as I stated at the beginning of this article, personal feelings do have their place and need to be listened to and observed. The challenge is to know what thoughts to allow in, and which ones to disregard. Here are some guidelines to help you gauge which ones to use, and which ones to lose.

  1. If I act on this feeling will it help me grow in becoming a better human being and assist me in reaching my goals?
  2. Are there concrete benefits that I will gain (better health, increased understanding etc.) if I act on this thought?
  3. Is this a feeling resurfacing from my old mindset (past experiences, relationships) or my new mindset?
  4. Is this feeling rooted in guilt, denial, hurt or jealousy that I’m justifying for selfish reasons to “get back” at somebody or something?
  5. If acted upon will this feeling improve my life and the lives of my loved ones?

This is a very short list to say the least, and your questions will vary depending on your personal objectives, goals and given situation at the time; hopefully however it will get you started on the path to understanding the myriad of feelings that often overwhelm us on each and any given day.

Yours in health and healing,
Sam