Today I want to talk about emotions.
But first, I want to thank Boyd who reached out personally and told me how much listening is changing his life. I actually met Boyd because my washer broke about 6 months ago and he was the one who fixed it. He said to let him know when I started my podcast. I thought he was just being nice. Thanks for reaching out, Boyd. It’s so good to hear that I’m reaching people with my message and it’s helping. And if you’re in the Utah area and need an appliance fixed by an honest, hard-working guy, google Hero Appliance. Boyd is your guy. It’s so fun to spread the love, isn’t it?
Okay, on to emotions
Like the idea that being seen crying is so embarrassing for a lot of people. Some think they are showing some kind of weakness because they are sad or showing an intense emotion. I don’t know when the idea of crying in front of someone became so taboo, but I’m guessing its because someone else thought that’s what was making them feel uncomfortable so in order to stop their own discomfort, they suggested “suck it up” or “stop being a baby” or “get over it”
Before I go further, I want you to know that there is a difference between a person who has a healthy functioning brain from that of someone who is challenged with a chemical imbalance like those who suffer from depression and other brain diseases. If you do suffer from anything that causes your brain to not function as it was designed, please know, you have been offered additional challenges that are no fault of your own and all is not lost. I feel comfortable saying this because I suffer from depression and through trial and error and the guidance from a therapist have determined that I need to take medication to help balance my brain hormones and I learned to recognize when my depression was coming on so I could take steps to not sink so deep. Yes, having a chemical imbalance can add to the challenge of navigating through life for me, however life coaching has taught me more about mind-wellness and has given me additional tools to help me level up and create a more fulfilling life.
Understanding how emotions play a part in creating the life we want is so powerful. When we truly understand them and their purpose, we open ourselves up to a deeper, richer life. Emotions are the driving force that can get us to do everything or keep us frozen from doing anything. Think about all the greatest moments in your life. An emotion was present in all of them. Think of the hardest moments of your life. An emotion was there too. Even in the smallest moments, you can find an emotion. This is good to realize because all of our actions and inactions happen because of something we are feeling.
The reason it’s this way started with our basic need for survival. We needed a desire to survive and desire is a feeling. We need to have the desire to eat and drink, so we won’t starve or get dehydrated. We had a desire to stay warm, so we sought shelter. We needed the emotion desire to survive so we didn’t waste away. What I find so interesting is, when studying the brain, scientists were able to block neuropathways for certain emotions and it literally stopped people’s motivation to survive. Our feelings cause us to survive. So our emotions are important and powerful because they are the fuel that drives us to do everything we do and they can keep us stuck doing nothing.
What exactly is a feeling, an emotion? It’s an experience that we have in our bodies based on the thoughts we have. Our brain starts with a thought which cause neurons to fire that then produces a chemical like endorphins or serotonin somewhere in the body and it usually manifests as a vibration. Some of the vibrations can feel like a knot in our stomach, tightening in the chest, or warmth all over the body. How we feel emotions is different for everyone.
If you’ve been listening to my podcast, I recently talked about our thoughts and how they ultimately create our results. What you may not remember is that our emotions are what’s being caused by what we’re thinking, not by what someone else is doing. I know most people confuse what they see happening around them and think that’s why they feel the way they do. It’s how we think as a society overall. I used to think the same way too. We think she hurt my feelings, he made me mad and that’s stressing me out. We’ve talked this way for so long that it’s hard to wrap our minds around the fact that no one can hurt our feelings, make us mad and nothing can stress us out. No one, except ourselves with our own thinking.
Here’s what I found interesting. When we think someone hurts our feelings, it’s possible that it’s because we believe at least 2% of what they’re saying might be true. If someone were to say, “hey Amber, you have blue eyes.” I’d think they don’t know what they are talking about because I know for a fact that I have green eyes. However, if someone were to say “Hey Amber, you’re fat.” Well that’s more open to my interpretation of it and if even 2% of me questioned or cared if that were true, then I might start thinking,” Am I fat? Is there something wrong with being fat? Does that mean there’s something wrong with me. There must be something wrong with me.” Thinking that hurts me. But if someone said, “Hey Amber, you’re fat” and either I knew I wasn’t fat or that I didn’t care that I was fat, it wouldn’t bother me. I’d think more like, “ok, and?” No pain.
Same with he’s stressing me out. Or that’s stressing me out. When we think it’s someone else causing us pain, it’s usually because we think they shouldn’t be doing what they are doing. That could come from the way we were raised or by what society says is ok or not ok to do. If it’s a project that we’re working on, it’s not the project. I promise. It’s what we’re thinking about that project. Like my yard. That was a huge project and there were challenges in landscaping and plants dying and the dirt be depleted of nutrients. I was feeling defeated because I was thinking, “this will never end. The plants aren’t supposed to be dying, I did everything right, why did I design something so hard” Another person could be saying “I love a challenge! I’m excited to learn more” those are not defeating thoughts.
It’s easy to think that people behave the way they do because of their surroundings and their upbringing. And while external stimulus can definitely play a role in how we view the world, it’s not what ultimately causes us to make the choices that we do. If this were true then every person born into poverty, abuse or oppression would have the same outcomes in life and every person born into wealth and privilege would have the same outcomes in life. But most of us have seen people rise out of oppression and poverty. And we’ve seen wealthy, privileged people end up broke and alone. We’ve also seen poor, oppressed people stay poor and oppressed and we’ve seen wealthy, privileged people make a big difference in the world. We all may start out at different circumstances in our lives with different advantages or disadvantages, but we each have the power to change the trajectory of where we end up. How we live our lives is what will ultimately determine our results.
What can determine how we will live our lives?
Stick with me here. Understanding it can really empower you. It’s our thinking that’s causing how we feel. And the fuel for all the actions in our lives come from how we feel. So how we feel can determine how we live our lives.
For example, Rosa Parks and Malala Yousafzai. I’m guessing the feeling that both women felt was injustice or something like that. Feeling this caused them to act on what they believed. Rosa for black injustice and Malala for the injustice of Pakistani women and education.
They used their inner fire and conviction to make choices that would eventually show up in our accounts of amazing people in history. That inner fire came from their belief. That belief, those thoughts, created a feeling which then they acted on it. I’m going to guess the injustice that they felt came from a thought like, “this isn’t right” I don’t know exactly what they were thinking on the day they decided to defy their situation, but whatever it was, it started a movement for change in both cases.
Society overall has made it a habit to blame others or situations for the way we feel, but what we don’t realize is when we attribute our feelings to something outside of us, we are giving up all our power to how we want our life experience to be. We are essentially saying I need this to happen so I can feel better. So we end up waiting and waiting and may never get to feel the way we want because we can’t control other people or circumstances outside us. Part of my job is to show you where you’re unintentionally giving up your power to feel differently and help you gain it back.
Feelings are the reason we do anything
Feelings are the reason why we do or don’t do anything. Everything we do or don’t do in life is because of how we think it’ll make us feel. Think about the thing you want most in your life right now. Maybe a certain career, to make a certain amount of money, to have your body look a certain way, to be in a loving relationship. Or maybe it’s to just get that darn project over with. You want this because of the feeling you think you will have when you get it. When I have this career, I’ll be happy. When I make this much money, life will be easier. When my body looks this way, I’ll feel accepted. When I find someone who loves me, I’ll feel complete. As soon as I finish this project, I’ll be less stressed.
The problem is, if you’re always chasing a feeling, then you’ll never be able to be in the present moment and you lose what today has to offer you. It’ll always be one more thing, you’ll always be one more event away and then you’ll be happy… or fulfilled…. or less stressed or something else positive and feel-goody. The chasing never ends and the destinations you reach are always fleeting.
What I’ve seen happen is people condition themselves to think they can’t have the feeling they want until they’ve reached that goal because if they feel it now, they won’t be motivated to get it.
This situation comes up with myself and my clients who want to lose weight. It’s easy to think, if I feel happy now, then I’ll never be motivated to lose weight. But when I’m chasing happiness, I get in a hurry because I want to feel happier now. And when I’m in a hurry, I end up feeling anxious, impatient, or desperate and my brain goes into scarcity mode. And because it’s so uncomfortable, I can’t reach my goal fast enough. This makes the process to reaching my goal miserable.
The good news is, you don’t have to wait to feel the way you want. In fact, in order to take the action you need for the results you want, it’s easier if you start with a driving emotion. When you find reasons to be happy or motivated right now, then the rush is over and you can start to enjoy your journey instead of white-knuckling it the whole way and risking that you’ll give up before you reach your destination.
However, even when we know that our thoughts create how we feel, it can take time for our brain to get on board. For example, I’m still working on fully accepting myself for who I am, right where I am. I know that this will take time and while the option is fully available for me to just work on that, I wanted to start sharing what I’ve learned with you. I wanted to start helping, so I decided that my goal was to put myself out there as I traveled my own journey to self-acceptance. This hasn’t been easy. I woke up today not really wanting to do anything. My mind was wanting to stay in it’s cocoon of safety and not take chance. Not put myself out there. For me, I knew I had a choice to make. I can stay safe and hidden or put myself out there and risk failure.
So how do you start with a motivating feeling if your thoughts aren’t allowing you to get there yet? Start with knowing the result you want. It doesn’t have to be a big result either. Today for me it was to record my podcast. Even if it’s messy and doesn’t make sense.
Then determine what steps you need to take to get you to feeling how you want to feel. This is how my morning went. Step 1: get dressed. Step 2: sweep the floor as I do thought work to see if I can figure out why I’m feeling this way. Oh interesting, I’m still thinking that if I fail, that’ll mean I’m not good enough. My adult brain knows this isn’t true, but my toddler brain is having another tantrum and my adult brain wasn’t conscious yet. I’m starting to feel a little better. Step 3: go sit at my desk. Step 4: turn on the microphone, and so on. Sometimes it just takes a little movement to start the ball rolling in the right direction. Sometimes the downhill comes fast and sometimes it’s an uphill battle to the finish line.
Some mornings it’s the same with exercising. I wake up and think, I’d rather sleep. But I’ve done it enough that I know all I need to do is start. Even if it’s just doing the moves halfway, I’m still doing it. It usually doesn’t take long for my heart to start pumping, the endorphins kick, I start feeling better and so I step it up from halfway to full throttle. Full transparency, some days, it’s halfway the whole way and I’m watching the time the whole time, but I still feel better when I’m done.
Sometimes feeling the way you want can be as easy as deciding how you want to feel.
I had a recent session where someone was stuck in pain because they thought their special day was ruined because of one incident that lasted maybe a total of 30 seconds and caused by someone she didn’t even know. I told her that her experience of that day was painful because she was choosing to focus on that one incident. It wasn’t the guy or what he did that was causing her pain. It was her thinking that he shouldn’t have done what he did. I guaranteed her that he probably hasn’t given the situation a second thought since then so the only person suffering was her. It was totally within her power to change the narrative of the story. She could decide to accept that whoever he was, I bet if he’d known what was happening, he might agree he wasn’t being his best self in that moment. Even if he didn’t care and would do it again, she was still the one in pain not him. He’s a messy human and she’s a messy human, and that’s okay. She had the power to let her painful thoughts go and cherish the memories from the rest of the day.
You get to choose your life experience. You may not get to choose what life hands you, but the experience you have is completely in your power. Remember, the goal isn’t to feel good all the time, but to live a full, rich life. When you live in complete awareness of what you’re creating for yourself, you realize you are in more control of your life than you think. You get to decide how you want to show up, you get to decide the experience you want to have and you, and only you, are the one capable of making it happen for you.
Just a quick reminder, if you haven’t yet, I’d love it if you’d rate my podcast. It’ll help others find me and let me know that way I say is helping.
Until next week
Have a brilliant day!
If you’re looking for a life coach, I’d love to be yours. If you want to lose weight, better your relationships, or need help with crafting your confidence, I’ve got you! go to myinnerlove.com and sign up for a free mini-session today.