The other day I posted something about thoughts and how just because we think them does not mean they’re true.
It goes the same way with feelings. Just because we feel an emotion does not mean it’s true, and it doesn’t mean we just ARE that emotion.
Let’s say I feel afraid of having a candid conversation with someone. I fear being rejected or dismissed. Just because I feel that fear doesn’t mean I SHOULD actually be afraid as a protective measure. It’s just an emotion I am having because I am thinking thoughts like “This could be bad. What if he thinks I’m stupid? I better not do that.” We can easily talk ourselves right out of the thing that scared us, even if there was not real danger in the first place.
How could that person interpret this emotional response? They could take the experience (and let’s be honest here- we ALL feel fear A LOT more than we let on) and make it mean they are just a fearful person. How do you think that person would show up in the world if they just believe as if it’s a fact that they are a scared person in general? I am guessing they would be playing it pretty small.
Most of us have “feeling memory” where we have felt the same emotion and corresponding chemical reaction in our bodies so many times that it becomes our go-to emotion. We just believe it as a truth. It feels comfortable (even if it really is making us miserable!!). What if feeling inferior is your go-to? It would look something like this:
My kid had messy hair going to school. I am a lame mom. I am inferior.
I didn’t get that job I wanted. I must be less-than (insert feeling of inferiority here).
Only two people came to my dinner party. I must not be cool enough. I am inferior.
Because your body and brain are so used to creating this emotion, your brain is constantly scanning for “proof” of its truth. But what if it’s all a big fat lie?
I want you to try something with me. Imagine a clear jar and blank slips of paper. Write down on each slip of paper a feeling you have felt within the past 24 hours. Imagine putting them in that jar. How many feelings are in that jar? My jar would look something like this: frustrated, grateful, amused, annoyed, fear, doubt, determined, tired, interested, calm, busy. Yep, I felt all those things in the past 24 hours! I imagine you felt a lot of emotions too. Welcome to being a human!
I have a choice here with those emotions and so do you. I can identify myself AS those things (I could believe I am just an annoyed person, I am just a tired person, I am a doubter), OR I can look at them over in that jar and notice them for what they are…just feelings. That’s all. They are neutral. I am me, and the things in the jar are experiences I get to have by being human with a human brain.
THE THOUGHT CAME BEFORE THE FEELING
Here’s the most incredible part. By being onto our feelings and what we most often feel, we can do some digging and identify what is causing those feelings in the first place. I promise a thought came first. That is true every single time. Sometimes we miss the thought because the feeling comes on fast and furious. When we identify the thought and see what thinking it is creating for us, we get all our power back because we then get to CHOOSE what we want to think- and therefore CREATE what we WANT to feel. Isn’t that awesome? What do you want to feel? Do you want to feel confident? Creative? Smart? Think thoughts that create that emotional response within you.
I am not my feelings. I am me. You are you and you are a magnificent, perfect, whole, glorious creation that sometimes (and maybe oftentimes) feels certain emotions. But you are NOT that emotion. You are so much more than that.