Dealing With Your Feelings


feelingsIt is peculiar to me that something that affects our life as much as our emotions do, would be the subject of greater education and study. It’s like we all grew up with this menagerie of feelings, yet seldom have we learned to understand what those myriad feelings are communicating to us. Most people, it seems choose rather to try and escape certain emotions while encouraging the existence of others. But, what if our feelings are communicating important messages to us? What if we took the time to evaluate our emotions; why they occur; when they occur and used them to help us move in a more beneficial direction with the promise of a better future. Do you know what your feelings are saying to you? Are you aware of what is behind your emotions and where they originate? Are you dealing with your feelings?

We humanoid units are incredibly sensitive creatures and by sensitive I mean have the capacity to experience a wide range of emotions. Some folks whole existence is based upon their emotions, while others seldom give their emotions much thought. It would seem that both scenarios are lacking. Our emotions are easily manipulated, if you haven’t noticed already, and to place your sole trust in them as the citadel for decision making would be foolish. Conversely, excluding all emotions as pointless or frivolous would serve only to rob your life of its richness and blessings. The wiser option would be to seek understanding regarding what your emotions are communicating to you. We have all had that experience whereby suddenly we feel a sense of dread or become agitated in place of the peace we had a few moments ago. Usually a little thought regarding what you were just thinking about reveals the thief; usually some vague fear or concern about a thought you just processed. The point of your emotions was to alert you to some change inside your head that needs to be addressed. All anxious or nervous feelings point to the same reality. Ignoring those thoughts with their subsequent feelings; medicating those thoughts; distracting yourself away from those thoughts leads only to more of those feelings. Your job in that instance was to deal with the intruder! By the time you are experiencing anxiety, it is a sure sign that you have been letting something go and now suffer from misplaced fears labeled as anxiety. Anxiety is only a common phenomenon today because people have stopped paying attention to their thoughts and to their feelings. We have become a nation of letting stuff go. We move too fast; try to do too much; endeavor to live up to impossible and unrealistic standards. We are quite literally led about by our noses staring at images and words and opinions lacking in any conceivable substance or help with our lives. We compare ourselves, measure ourselves, recognize our so-called deficits and lack and from there try to carve out a peaceful and happy existence. We are told when we should be married, when we should make our first million, what we should already have by now, where we should live and on it goes. It’s no wonder our feelings are trying to tell us something. They are telling us something isn’t true! 

Have you ever tried an experiment where you simply allow your emotions to be what they are and not try to escape them? How about when you are feeling bored? What are those dreaded boredom feelings trying to say? Is it really just a lack of activity? Or, have you entertained a series of thoughts that succeeded in taking the wind out of your sails? Boredom says you have nothing to look forward to, but is that really true. If you simply stopped running from those feelings with endless activity you might find that you don’t need more activity, but maybe need to reframe your thinking. Perhaps you need to stop trying to live in your future and embrace what is happening right now. Whenever you travel back in time or attempt to future travel, your emotions won’t cooperate and will bring you something you need to deal with today. In this way, your feelings are these fantastic barometers for your soul. They are ever pointing you to something, somewhere in the million details of your existence. Unpleasant emotions call for immediate action. Pleasant, joyful emotions encourage your continuance. In this is the only time that “if it feels good do it” was ever true. Trusting your feelings only falsely presumes everything you ever feel is an indicator of truth; that something is actually true. Then you spend your entire life waiting to feel good about something that may not feel good now, but has a huge payout in the future. The point is to pay attention to your feelings! Don’t cut yourself off from their messages, but instead investigate them without fear and follow their subtle promptings. Those experiences you have that bring joy to your heart are to be welcomed and repeated often.  Helping others, being kind, having great compassion, loving and forgiving others lead to immeasurable bliss. Don’t forsake them.

The next time you are feeling out of sorts, unhappy or down in the dumps, think about what you have been thinking about. Have you perhaps been focusing on what you don’t have or where you fall short? Have you been spending too much time thinking about life instead of actually living it? Or, have you fallen into perpetual self focus which leads only to more and more recognition of what isn’t right or needs repair. If you want to know, you can know as they are your emotions given to you by God’s wisdom to help you live your life that much better. Don’t ignore your feelings or write them off as foolish, but instead pay attention to the message and if needed take the necessary action. Sometimes our emotions are simply trying to get us to take some action we know we need to take, which as soon as we do it, opens the windows to a flood of positive feelings. The message, “handle your business!”

It is always your choice whether or not you take the time to deal with your feelings. But, you owe it to yourself to do so. You’ll know when you’ve got it right by the peace you experience inside. Feelings of peace and contentment are the ultimate measure of right thought. Peace is the end of the fight when you, at last, prevail. Deal with your feelings. You won’t be truly happy until you do. 

Just some good thoughts…

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Buried Feelings…


As far as I can tell, projections you may put upon your pets aside, human beings are God’s only creatures that came from the factory equipped with feelings. That alone should have arrested our attention! Human beings have feelings and those feelings are vast and complex. There are more feelings than there are descriptions for them. Some people say you should honor your feelings, while others say to ignore them. Some folks are described as emotional, yet others appear emotionless. Men attribute feelings to women and women demand more feelings from men. Have you ever wondered why people have feelings? What is the purpose for your feelings? Can you feel too much or too little? And most importantly, why would God have given you the capacity for all of those feelings if they didn’t have any value in your life? You feel how you feel for a reason. But, have you taken the time to figure out the reason? Or, have you learned to bury your feelings instead?

The feelings that you experience are a barometer of your soul. And, like any good barometer, they provide you with important information concerning your internal weather patterns. Sometimes your feelings are sunny and warm and at other times your feelings are gloomy and foreboding. Some feelings are turbulent and agitated while other feelings are peaceful and calm. Feelings provide both warnings and confirmation. Certain feelings have no clear description associated with them like when you feel something is right. Other feelings are painful and inform you something is very wrong. You can feel anxious and apprehensive. You can experience feeling afraid.  But, you can also feel confident and assured. Strangely, sometimes your feelings point out a lack of meaningful activity (boredom), yet also signal an overload of activity defined as stress.  With all of the vast world of feelings at your disposal, there must be some intention behind them. Though infinitely complex, to you they are always understood, though sometimes needing further examination. Do you understand your feelings and receive the message they contain for you or have you learned to not give them much credence and go on about your merry way?

Feelings have been described as being no guarantee for truth. And while that is certainly true, feelings do represent the truth about where you are in your journey. Your feelings, both fleeting and long standing, exist to act as a compass to guide you in the right direction. Feelings are not the “truth,” but do indicate your position in relation to the “truth.” When you are off track, you feel miserable and defeated. When you are right on, your feelings are light, pleasant and enjoyable. Feelings of apprehension do not necessarily indicate something is wrong, but do indicate more thought and understanding may be required. To consistently ignore your feelings is to run headlong into the unknown, risking life and limb. You are feeling what you are feeling for a reason! Learn the reason. Most people don’t feel their feelings because they have no feelings, but rather because the world has succeeded in numbing their feelings. A callous isn’t formed from being tender, but instead from repeated rough treatment. Thus, having strong feelings isn’t an indication of weakness, though it is reported as such, but rather points to a heart that is still tender, soft, pliable. The more you understand your feelings and acknowledge them, the more successful a human being you will become. This insulting notion that a real man is devoid of feelings is an affront to his Creator. A man is a man because he feels and a woman is a woman because she feels, though their feelings be as different as night and day.  Burying your feelings as an act of self-preservation provides a completely opposite result than was intended!

Human beings are social creatures. Yet each creature feels independently. In order to get along, each others feelings must be considered. Relationships do not end because of bad feelings, but rather because those feelings eventually go unexpressed. Every time you ignore the feelings that well up inside you, and do not express those feelings where appropriate, you do yourself a disservice. While seeking harmony with another, you cause disharmony within yourself. To play a role as an actor or a politician while being untrue to your own feelings, is to live a fraudulent life. You feel that you may know and you know that you may grow. Even anger, while feeling unpleasant and toxic, simply acts as a signal that something needs an immediate remedy. Anger ignored comes back with greater velocity until the pressure builds to a breaking point. How much destruction could be avoided simply by faithfully speaking up and expressing honestly how you feel?

To feel is to be human. Not feeling may aid a business endeavor, but eventually the one not feeling will have to come to terms with himself. You cannot be successful and prosperous while ignoring your feelings. Oh you can for awhile. You may garner for yourself much wealth and riches, but you will have paid the price with your very own soul. Listen to what your feelings are telling you. Feelings of boredom inform you of activities left undone, meanings ignored. Agitated feelings point to disturbances and call for a calming solution. How good we feel when we find the answer! Feelings of satisfaction point towards completed efforts. While feeling unfulfilled indicates greater purpose to be discovered. Use your barometer! Pay attention to the weather. It may be stormy today, but storms do not last forever. See your feelings for what they are – indicators, and adjust yourself accordingly.

Our great God equipped you with those feelings to help guide you on your way. Don’t ignore them! Don’t discount them as petty and meaningless. They are not your truth, but will certainly help you discover it. Trust yourself. Trust how you feel though the whole world disagrees with you. Don’t live in a world governed by other people’s feelings. Instead live in a world where you honor your feelings, right or wrong and adjust yourself accordingly. You feel that you may know and you know that you may grow! Don’t bury your feelings! Feel them, experience them and see the message they have been communicating to you. It’s never too late. Feel…

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

The Great Balancing Act


live-unbalanced-1080x670There is such a thing as having too much of a good thing. Every want and every desire carries within itself the potential to turn into an obsession. The discipline that checks can devolve into cruelty. Adherence to rules and standards can lead to peace but also to the bondage of servitude. In order to live successfully and enjoy the ride, you have to learn to find the balance.

It seems God rewards common sense. Intuitively we know when we are out of harmony with ourselves. We know that what starts good doesn’t always end well. We can exercise the muscle and damage the joint. As we traverse through the thrilling peaks of life, we know we cannot sustain them and soon fall headlong into the valleys. What blesses us most is the level ground, the flattened hills, the filled in depressions, the balance. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Yet excitement and enjoyment only, like the delusion of drugs, leads ever to some future collapse. Exhilaration must be followed by some settling or else your heart blows up. But if nothing ever spikes your heart you may as well be dead. You have to occupy the middle territory.

It seems God made the world a metaphor for proper thought. All around us nature teaches us balance as abundant foliage in the summer drops off in the fall to make way for the spring.  Holes soon fill in and high spots eventually get smoothed out. The tide rolls out and rolls back in again. The enjoyments of life follow the struggles and without the struggles there is no satisfaction. Every weekend is preceded by its weekdays. Waking and sleeping, working and playing, accepting and rejecting, all choosing, all deciding part of one and part of another resulting in a balance. And life, it appears, offers itself to the one willing to seek until eventually located, only to be required again later on.

It seems God has designed our bodies and our minds to require a balance and if not indulged, though working out of balance for extended periods, eventually breaks down and wears out forcing its owner to stop until the balance returns. If you have too much going on and you are working too long and too hard, at some juncture the machinery fails and a short bout with illness or some other malady forces you to reconsider. You can drive yourself to extremes in acquiring great wealth yet have no-one left to enjoy it with because the journey drove them all away. You can have so many resources that you can live in perpetual play, until your play turns into a drug addiction or obsession or any unhealthy overindulgence in something fun. Your vessel was designed for equilibrium.

It seems God endorses moderation. The developed world is consumed with the symbols of youth, with the top of the chart being physical fitness disguised as leanness, code for being thin! The trouble being that generally the thin ones are also the youngsters. The older you get, the heavier you get, the less desirable you become. It is the “thin culture.” Enter a vast population of people virtually starving themselves to achieve some artificial level of fitness reserved for people whose full-time job is fitness. That’s not to say there is something wrong with fitness, but when the fitness exceeds logic and good sense or is so extreme that it requires a fourth of your waking hours, it is functioning as a compensation for something else. Every diet craze is solved by the watchword – moderation. Perpetual dieting, the bane of rational activity, always requires a period of deprivation followed by a period of bingeing on everything forbidden during the deprivation phase. The question isn’t how thin you are, the question is what are you really after with your thinness? You can enjoy all things in moderation, which is more of a mindset than a restriction. Level your mindsets…

The great balancing act of life is more about you being in control than any other factor in a life of a million variables. You, being the boss of your own butt, decide just how much time and energy you will give to a thing. If the effort required overwhelms you, it is likely too much. If the effort required is barely noticeable, it is probably too little. Continuing to work at your job long after you have left for the evening may get lots of work done, but it will work you over in the process. Your enthusiasm and commitment may be rewarded until you slip a little and find out rather harshly that you are in fact replaceable if the need so requires it. Working hard certainly isn’t the issue but rather why you are doing what you are doing and whether you are controlling it or “it” is controlling you. The balance of life is found in control.

In the profound humanity of our existence, we all find ourselves pushed and pulled to one extreme or the other. We all traverse mountains and then fall into our self-made valleys. We all like our likes too much and discover ourselves controlled by something we used to control and enjoy. It is part of our human condition and all of the emotions and joy and disappointment and sadness that goes along with it. Yet, our humanity is one of the best things about us. We feel and thus we act. And in our honest feelings we make fine tuned decisions and subtle adjustments ever seeking that which makes us feel the best about ourselves. The built-in balance mechanism a gift from God.

The question to ask yourself is, “How do I feel?” If you feel out of balance, rushed and harried, you are, so honor your feelings and make the change. This isn’t a decision other people make for you, it is a decision you make for yourself. It’s your life my friend, so pursue the balance only you can demand for yourself and enjoy your ride. It’s not being egotistical. It’s being responsible.

Just some good thoughts…

 

Waiting on Sunshine…


20071104182814_waiting-borderI imagine that all of us like to feel good.  All of us want to experience happiness, right?  Yet feeling good and being happy appear to be somewhat elusive and mysterious, don’t they?  So that got me thinking (a dangerous proposition I know).  How many Facebook memes give advice on being happy?  Happiness is ___________ (you fill in the blank)!  Happiness is reported as being a sunny day; a loving family; your dog; the beach; solitude; a son, a daughter, a Mom etc., etc.  With so many ideas; so many choices; so much disparity out there, maybe it’s time to look at things from another angle.

It seems that the general consensus is that feeling good or being happy are emotional states that just sort of happen.  You know what I mean.  “I feel good today!”  “I’m feeling really happy right now!”  Yet those apparently inexplicable mental states are more a rarity than the norm for most folks.  According to my highly unscientific best guess estimates, people seem to be happy about 20% of the time and seeking happiness the other 80% of the time.  Maybe that’s the old 80/20 rule again?  Is it plausible to consider that maybe life is supposed to be like that?  Were humans created to enjoy a few good times and spend the rest of their lives pursuing good times?  Is it really about the chase or the wait; the long, long wait?

Cliche’ man says, “I think we’ve got the cart before the horse!”  Feelings are really emotional states.  Emotions come and go, have you noticed?  While feelings are wonderful, they aren’t any guarantee for truth (said a great man once).  Our emotions are really barometers; internal sensors that react precisely to what we are thinking or were thinking or think about the most.  Feelings aren’t reality checks, they are thought checks!  Your emotions reflect back to you your mental climate.  If your mental weather is stormy, you feel unsettled.  If your mental climate is sunny and calm, you feel pleasant and peaceful.  Now get this!!!  You don’t feel first, you think first!  Okay, I will say that again with volume.  YOU DON’T FEEL FIRST, YOU THINK FIRST!!!  The real trouble is that most of us aren’t really very clear about what we are thinking about.  Thoughts sort of hit our minds and we go with them.  And worse, we have learned to accept our often fleeting thoughts as truth!  So, here’s a shocker, just because you thought something doesn’t make it true!  Your current thoughts or prevailing feelings may have absolutely nothing to do with reality, but since you are an insider looking out, you beg to differ.  For example, suddenly (it appears) you feel discouraged.  The feeling is very real.  No future, no hope, no sunny days ahead!  And, in your discouraged state you long for happier times; times when you felt hopeful and encouraged about life and its infinite possibilities.  Ya feel me?  Okay now slow your roll for a minute here…  What thoughts preceded those discouraged feelings?  What little snippets of mental picturing led you and of course your feelings to that conclusion?  Trust me, something did.  The problem is that you were woefully unaware of those thoughts and where they led you.  Now all you’ve got left is discouragement.  Do you see what I’m getting at here?

Waiting on good feelings or waiting on happiness is like waiting to eat.  The sooner you decide to put the food in your mouth, the better you are going to feel.  Can you imagine having a banquet at your disposal; starving and yet still waiting for the right time to eat it?  Waiting until the sun comes out…  Waiting until the conditions are perfect for eating…  Waiting until you get your new job; new boyfriend; new car…  Seems the simple solution is to decide right now to eat!  So you say, cleverly, “Yes but what if there isn’t any food to eat?”  Well, if I were a betting man, I’d say that once you have decided to eat in your hungry state, you are going to find some food!  However, happiness and good feelings (despite my thrilling analogy) are always available to you if you will decide to take them!  But, you don’t decide to take them.  You know why, because you are waiting for them (your feelings) to decide for you.  And in that perpetual ruse, you will be waiting a very long time (80/20)…

Our great God Who created all there is, wants you to be happy and feel good always!  I know that sounds fanciful to you, but it’s true.  Sure there’s a time to cry, a time to mourn, a time to overcome, but God wants you to be happy!  And good feelings follow good thoughts, so you got to learn how  to control your thoughts.  You’ve got to challenge that malarkey that enters your brain!  (Remember just because you thought it doesn’t make it true!)  The good book says, “leading captive every thought to the obedience of Christ (like he controlled his thoughts).”  God wouldn’t have asked us to control our thoughts if it wasn’t possible, right?  The endgame of controlled thought isn’t bondage it’s happiness and joy and love and peace.  (Man, I felt good just saying that!)  You learn to rein in that thinker and stop letting it get dragged down the path!  The whole world is afraid of disease, but God heals!  (But what about the C-word?  Yeah that too!)  The economy is in dire condition, but God promises prosperity!  Good feelings flow forth from good thoughts like water flows over Niagara Falls!

So, stop waiting for the sun to come out in your life.  Stop waiting for the stars to align.  Stop waiting for anything to happen.  Decide right now, today, at this moment, that you ARE happy.  Decide that you feel good, even if you are a little under the weather!  Decide you are going to live the life God promised you instead of the one the world keeps telling you is available.

Try walking on sunshine instead…

Just some good thoughts…(and feelings :-))