Inside of all of us is a guidance system as old life. It is beyond your sense of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. It is your ability to feel. It can be your greatest enemy or ally. Emotions play an intimate role with your physiology. They have a two way relationship with hormones, muscles, organs, and thoughts. Feeling good leads to better recovery, being able to thrive under stress, and is very attractive to other people. Most people know that fear response is what causes a lot of the disease and poor decision making that goes on today. Some say that it is an almost antiquated system and now causes more harm than good. In my experience it has a much larger place than simply coming to your aid when faced with a lion. So how do these negative emotions figure into where you are today?
Look at the media or most of your work environments and it is very easy to feel trapped, and helpless. People that don’t feel like they are enough and/or scared are ones that buy more and give up their power more easily. Which is exactly why an environment of I’m not enough, or I’m afraid is seen as beneficial to most corporations and governments. It’s easy to accept the status quo when logically it looks like you have no choice. Our brain can interpret feeling bad into just an emotion, or negate the blame onto something else. We can try to kill these feelings with food, drugs, apathy or what have you. This works for brief periods of time as your body becomes numb to adapt and maintain homeostasis. However, a fresh new pain will be there to motivate you to face your feelings.
So remind me again how awesome it is to feel bad? You bet! Those bad feelings are really your inner guidance system telling you not to accept the nonsense that you choose to believe, and do. There is nothing wrong with wanting a beautiful car or brand new dress until you believe that your identity depends on it. Just like it isn’t bad to be hard working and follow leaders until you allow yourself to be taken advantage of. Then it is your emotions job to step in and remind you that you are not here to be a good looking robot. Don’t get me wrong, letting your emotions control you is just as bad and also causes problems. Just like everything else they require balance.
Both logic and emotions are there to help guide you. The difference is that using logic is much cleaner, and doesn’t make you want to punch anybody in the face. Feelings are way more abstract and one thing attached to an emotion can bring a whole flood of unrelated memories together. Using logic to try and sort your emotions out can be even more dangerous. This can lead you to reinforce the behavior, or belief that caused the emotion in the first place. Or even worse, lead you to disregard your emotions. Also throw into the mix that your organs and body in general can store emotions or create them as a way to ask for help or be helpful.
So now that I’ve made things even more confusing hopefully I can be of some help. You need to be a human being. Not a human thinking or human doing. This is why people that are considered enlightened like the Buddha or Jesus Christ spent so much of their time Meditating, praying, and just listening. This provided them with great insight and ability that is not available to the average person. So my suggestion to you is to sit, stand, lie down, or whatever by yourself maybe with some music without words and get acquainted with the bad ass that you are. Harvard Medical School Professor Ronald D. Siegel suggest around 45 minutes a day as that is the amount of time it usually takes to notice immediate effects. He also does an awesome course through The Great Courses called The Science and Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being. My advice is meditate for whatever time you will do it consistently (if you are just starting 45 minutes can feel like eternity). Even if that time is only five minutes a day or taking some deep mindful breaths. This will help you simply allow your emotions, and thoughts some space without interfering or associating yourself as them. Your emotions will tell you what you need if you are brave enough to listen.
The second bit of advice I have. Create space for your feelings, but don’t give into them. This way you can acknowledge and accept what you are feeling but not give into it and still be the master of your domain. Both of these parts are very important. If you simply try to ignore your feelings and create what you want, they will be right there to give you an emotional bloody nose. If you only make space for the bad feelings, this is exactly how you will feel. By using both techniques you are actually honoring the bad feeling emotions by allowing them to tell you that you need to do something different, and then creating what that different thing is.
So next time you feel afraid, sad, or angry, think to yourself. Thank you for reminding me to live up to my full potential. Whether that is refusing to take someone’s crap, stop giving others so much crap, both of those things too yourself or anything else life may throw at you. Much love everybody.