Feel Your Way
Our emotions are triggered by our thoughts. We think therefore we feel. But are negative emotions bad? Should we try to control them?
Thoughts have to occur before emotions can occur. An emotion requires a thought stimulus, otherwise we would be feeling all kinds of things for no reason. Subconscious thoughts (thoughts you aren’t aware of) also stimulate emotion as in a physical crisis or emotionally threatening situation when you react to something before you have time to consciously process the information.
When you think, see, or imagine things that make you happy, your brain secretes biochemicals, such as endorphins, that elate your mood and benefit your body. Your blood pressure improves, your digestive and immune systems perk up, and your cognitive and cellular functions get a rejuvenating massage.
When you think, see, or imagine things that make you unhappy, your brain secretes biochemicals that direct energy and blood flow away from your life enhancing systems to support your defensive/offensive systems. If stressful emotions are prolonged, your body starts to break down system by system. In essence, happiness keeps you young, chronic stress makes you grow old before your time.
According to the Law of Attraction, your thoughts determine what you attract and allow into your experience. But you can’t pay attention to your thoughts all the time any more than you can consciously regulate your breathing for more than a few minutes.
Fortunately, your emotions are triggered by thoughts. That’s why your emotions, positive (allowing) or negative (resisting) are so valuable! They tell you when your thoughts are moving you closer to, or away from what you really want.
Emotions tell you when to pay attention to your thoughts.
Emotions can help you get where you want to go. They act like homing devices that report movement toward or away from the target signal (your desire). Positive emotions mean you are getting closer to matching your energy with the energy of what you want, negative emotions mean you are increasing the distance.
Continuously choosing to think thoughts that feel better and better is what makes you a conscious creator and sets you apart from almost everyone else you know.
Feeling good, no matter what, is an extreme act of courage because we are under a lot of pressure to feel bad. Society expects you to get upset about war, terrorism, crime, poverty, scandal, global warming. In most cultures, feeling bad about bad things is a virtue. It means you are in solidarity with everyone else. You fit in. You watch the news, read the paper, and rehash all that negative (resistant) energy with your friends and family. It gives you something to talk about.
You may also be under pressure to feel bad about good things if you were taught not to trust your feelings, or that your emotions are dangerous, threatening to others, and should be suppressed.
Like criticism, discounting emotions is a popular technique authorities use to control their people. Closer to home, parents, preachers, teachers, bosses, spouses, children, older siblings, and enforcers of any kind can be quick to invalidate our feelings as a way to get what they want.
I know how pervasive this technique can be, especially when children are forced to conform to family norms. My siblings and I were taught that feelings were not to be discussed in our family, and we were never allowed to express them. This kept us from speaking out against the invalidations we suffered from the authorities that governed us. As a result, we didn’t know how we felt about things and were unable to express ourselves until we discovered the exploding world of self development books and classes in the 1980s!
At the other extreme, some families use emotions to manipulate and control each other. These differences in “emotional strategies” are often culture based and perpetuated though generations, but not always.
Thanks to all this emotion manipulation, most people aren’t clear about how they really feel. That’s why this Practice is so empowering. It gives you permission to 1) connect with your emotions, and 2) choose to feel better in every area that stands between you and what you want, regardless of what anyone else dictates.
This means finding ways to feel good about things that have been driving you crazy. It means letting go of guilt and not making other people guilty. It means forgiving and forgetting if that makes you feel better. It means that feeling good, especially about yourself, becomes your highest priority, even if you have to stop feeling bad about yourself or other people.
How to Feel Your Way
You have emotions all day long whether you know it or not. They are usually in the background and you may not be aware of them until they change. If you aren’t used to your emotions or you distrust them, try describing them in terms of biochemical responses. You may not acknowledge being embarrassed, but you can acknowledge your headache and upset stomach. Could your headache be a sign that you resent being told what to do or having your ideas discounted?
Your emotions will find a physical way to communicate with you if you suppress or deny them. That’s good because pain means that something is wrong. Emotional pain is no different.
For some of us, emotional pain becomes such a badge of honor that we develop an unhealthy tolerance for it. The downside of all that tolerance is a toxic overload of stress hormones that manifest as depression, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, allergies, obesity, addictions, or violence.
We have many laws against physical abuse, but laws against emotional and mental abuse are much harder to legislate, especially when we aren’t clear how we feel about it! No wonder some people seem confident, but are actually terrified that someone will discover how they really feel.
As a conscious creator, you can’t afford
to be confused about how you feel.
This practice is about connecting with your emotions and using the information they offer to your advantage.
When you catch yourself in the middle of a happy emotion, relax and enjoy it and make it last for as long as you can. Mentally bookmark it so you can go there when you are bored or frustrated. Remember it with all your senses because it is telling you that all is well regarding this subject.
When you are scared, upset, sad, or just irritated, pay attention to what your emotion is telling you and don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself. You don’t have to tell anyone else unless it helps you do something about it, such as clearing your energy.
The point is not to indulge in negative emotions, but to identify the subject that’s bothering you and get past it. Allow the emotion and your reaction to what’s causing it.
I can remember how liberating it was for a personal growth instructor to tell me it was OK to be angry with a certain colleague who had embarrased me during a stressful situation. The instructor said that anger was a valid emotion because it helps us take back our power. The next day, when I saw my colleague I thought how great it would be if he were to drop dead with a heart attack. It was a very empowering moment. Interestingly enough, from that point on he couldn’t do enough to keep me happy!
Once you’ve have a realization of truth from an emotion that has disempowered you, shift your energy (reach for a higher energy thought) on that subject. For me it was allowing a temporary desire for my colleague to drop dead that helped me clear my resistance and laugh at the situation! Had I suppressed my feelings, or complained to my friends about him, our uncomfortable work relationship would have continued.
I’m not saying you should hit people when they upset you, but you are giving your power away when you deny that you are upset or believe that your feelings don’t matter.
Take Your Power Back
A conscious creator is not afraid of his emotions. He isn’t threatened by the opinions or actions of others. His stress level is low because his happiness is not dependant on the conditions around him.
His power lies in his ability to shift his energy over and over again. This “personal power” places him in the “power position” he needs to make his own decisions, take his own risks, and pursue his own goals.
For example, my cousin’s ex-wife tries to manipulate him by throwing him off center on any subject related to their daughter. She slings the arrows of criticism and blame at him to confuse the issues then tells him what she wants him to do. I suggested that he hold up a virtual emotional shield until she finishes her tirade and refrain from defending himself against her insults and accusations. Then quietly but firmly tell her what he needs to accomplish the task at hand. This keeps his personal power intact and he gets what he needs, every time, instead of coming away from their encounters wondering what happened.
As you learn to deliberately shift your energy, you will care less about people and things that used to make you nuts and more about developing your personal power. This is your trump card because the happier you are the faster the good stuff flows in!
All Day Long Examples
Instead of worrying about what your boss is thinking when she calls you into her office, offer her a cup of coffee. While you are pouring it, visualize your dream vacation. See yourself floating in the ocean or hiking in the mountains and feel the morning sun on your face. Then smile and ask with confidence what’s on her mind.
Instead of arguing with your husband, step outside and cut some flowers for the table, or ask if he’d like to go for a walk. Talk about happy memories or future good times. While you are centering yourself and getting to your happy place, he’ll wonder what you are up to. Then approach the subject again and listen to what he has to say. Instead of making him wrong, let him know that you are proud of him for sharing his feelings with you. From this power position you can communicate much more effectively than when you are being defensive or suspicious.
When you teenager won’t talk to you or claims you are being unreasonable, remember who he really is and trust that he will learn from those best suited to teach him at this point in his development. Remind yourself that it takes The Universe to raise a child and trust that he is as connected to Source as you are. It’s necessary for adolescents to pull away in order to define themselves. Your personal power is stronger when you don't give him something to push against. Speak your truth calmly, let him know you love him, and leave him alone. Visualize a “someday soon” when he tells you what he learned (even if it was the hard way) and thanks you for understanding. From your power position you can better develop a mutual respect as he becomes an adult.
Value your emotions and let them tell you when you need to think thoughts that make you feel better. Then give yourself permission to care less about what others think and more about developing your personal power.
Interestingly, these acts of courage will not only shift your energy, they will influence the energy of the people around you.