Thoughts create our feelings, but feelings are the fuel that create our experience with life. When you learn to leverage the power of feelings, there is nothing you are unwilling to do, because you will be willing to feel any emotion in service of the result you want most.
In this episode, you will learn specific tools that will help you create the emotion that you want, and have an understanding of why both positive and negative emotions can be useful.
Everything you could ever want is on the other side of learning to use your emotions as fuel.
I’m Andrea Giles. You’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast,
episode number 28, Using Feelings as Fuel.
Hello, and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity podcast, for courageous
women. Learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest, truest, most decisive, and confident versions of themselves,
ever. If you know there’s more for you than the life you’re currently
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Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
off. Is it possible? It is. I’m here to show you how. I’m your host, Andrea
Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hey, everybody. Welcome to episode number 28. Hope everybody’s doing well.
As I go over all of the podcast episodes I’ve recorded, by far, the one
that is listened to the most is called Feeling Your Feelings. I decided
that I want to dive into this more today because it’s something that I get
asked a lot. People want to know more, want to have more understanding.
Feelings are really, really powerful. Feelings can be leverage to moving
forward towards the life that you want. They could be leverage to get you
the results that you want, if you know how. Most of us don’t know how. Most
of us were never taught this stuff. So I’m taking what I recorded in
episode five about feeling your feelings and adding to it. You can go
listen to episode five if you haven’t heard it yet. It gives a lot of
foundational things about feelings. This is just going in a little bit
As a reminder, a feeling is a chemical release from your brain into your
body. We have a thought. It creates a feeling. It sends a chemical release
into our body, and we feel it. It makes sense that since we have thought
patterns, we also have feeling patterns. We have thoughts that are really
easy for us to access. They’re in our neurological pathways. It makes sense
that there’s also feelings that come along when we believe those thoughts
that are really, really easy for our bodies to create. They are the
feelings that we live by. I want to ask you, what are the three feelings
that you feel most of the time? What are they? Can you name them?
Also, I want to know what feelings did you feel most of the time before you
found out about your husband’s infidelity, and what are the feelings that
you feel post infidelity? How different are they? I ask because I noticed
that after the initial really intense time of learning the various things
that I learned in my first marriage, those intense initial emotions wear
off, and I just settled back into the old patterns that I had before any of
it. Isn’t it interesting? To me, that just shows the power of our thoughts,
power of emotion, that our brains find a way to go back to what’s easiest,
easiest to access. For me, I have some patterns and some thinking patterns,
some feeling patterns that are really easy for my brain. You do, too.
I want to talk about various kinds of emotions. Okay. You’ve heard me talk
about positive and negative emotions, but just because it might be
considered a negative emotion, it does not mean that it can’t be useful.
How can it be useful? If you feel fear, for example, it might be warning
you that there’s something dangerous ahead. It might be useful. It might
help you to run faster if there’s something chasing you, if you’re in an
actual dangerous situation. The negative emotion of fear can also be a cue
that you’re about to do something really brave. It can let you know that
you’re onto something, that you’re moving in the right direction.
Now, what feelings are, are the fuel for where we go. If you think of a
car, what we put into the gas tank is the fuel. It’s what gives us the
power, moves us forward to wherever we’re going, whether we actually want
to go there or not. Feelings can also be in the driver’s seat and even
dictating the GPS where you’re going, plugging in the destination. Now,
just because we feel it does not mean that it’s creating a result. Isn’t
that interesting? I’m going to tell you why. It’s only when we obey the
feeling that it creates a result. We think a thought. We feel a feeling. We
listen to that feeling. We obey it. It shows up in actions that we’re
taking, things we’re doing, not doing, and then the actions that we take
create a result.
For example, we can be a person that feels anger and still have a result
that we like, even if that emotion felt negative in the moment. How does
that work? It’s only when we react, avoid, or resist, that that feeling is
driving the action. Let’s say that you feel mad about something. You might
have the thought, “They shouldn’t have done that.” You feel mad. Because
you believe you should feel mad, you send a scathing text to the person
you’re having thoughts about. You tell your friends and your sister why
you’re mad, and you build a case for yourself of why you’re right and
they’re wrong. In the end, the result that you create is that you behave in
a way that doesn’t actually line up with who you want to be. And you’ve
built a stronger case against that person in question. Nothing here is
actually solved. It’s not resolved. It’s not solved.
That same emotion could be there, and the person could just allow it,
notice it, feel it in their body, decide if it’s a useful emotion to get
the result they want. It could be that a different emotion might actually
be more useful here. Maybe something like curiosity or even disappointment,
like “I’m disappointed that this person said that. I wonder, if
disappointment were the feeling, what actions would come from that.” But in
the moment, allowing yourself to just sit with the emotion and process it
is how you will determine what step to take next. You’re not avoiding.
You’re not resisting. You’re not reacting. You’re simply allowing it to be
there, allowing yourself to be a person that sometimes feels mad. Once you
have allowed it and let it work through you and processed it, you get to
decide how to respond.
I’m going to give you an example of when a negative emotion was very useful
for one of my clients. From her best wisest self, she decided that it would
be the best thing for everyone involved to end her marriage. It was a
decision she did not take lightly, but that she determined would be the
best thing. So she moved forward in getting a divorce. Now, throughout the
divorce, she held onto the thought, “This divorce needs to get finalized.”
Every time she would try to think of nice things about their marriage or
things that were happy, it did not serve her well. It actually got her
confused and going, “Wait. If we had good times, then what am I doing? Why
am I getting divorced?” When she had already made the decision from her
very best self, from the very wisest part of her brain, that it would be
the best thing.
What she decided to do was to use as fuel a feeling of frustration, a
feeling of determination, a feeling of sadness, a feeling of even
annoyance, like it’s time to get out. I don’t want to be married to this
person anymore. It worked. It helped her to take the actions she needed to
take that would ultimately get the results she wanted, which was an ended
marriage. One week after the divorce finalized, she realized that emotion
helped her to take the actions to get the result, and now she was willing
to allow other emotions. She was willing to look at other results. She
decided to look at the pictures in her phone of happier times together and
allow herself to feel grief. She decided that was a good thing to feel on
purpose, to help get her to the result of really feeling free to completely
move forward with her life. That’s an example of how a negative emotion can
actually really work well to get you the result that you want. She did it
What about positive emotions? Are positive emotions all useful? Are they
all good? It depends. It depends on what you want to do, what results that
you want, and if that emotion is helping you to get that result, which
takes me to the next thing I want to talk about, which is a concept called
indulgent emotions. What’s an indulgent emotion? Well, these are emotions
that pretend to be useful, but they rarely are. They are easy to come by.
They’re super easy for our brains to create. They don’t get us into problem
solving. They don’t get us moving. They keep us going round and round and
For me personally, one of my go-to indulgent emotions is overwhelm. My
brain loves overwhelm. It goes there as often as possible, as often as I
allow it. I’ve had lots of practice knowing what this feels like in my
body. I’ve also had lots of practice knowing that it never is useful, ever.
Feeling overwhelmed never creates the result that I want, ever. Never. But
why would my brain go there if it’s not useful? My brain goes there because
it’s easy. When I’m in overwhelm, I’m not in problem-solving mode. I’m not
using the wiser part of my brain to look at solutions. It’s the easier
option. It’s an out. It’s a way to give responsibility to other people
rather than taking it on myself and feeling the discomfort of that.
What are some other indulgent emotions? I’ll tell you some of them and how
I spot them. One of them, it’s huge. Indecision. Indecision. It’s such an
indulgent emotion. It makes sense, right? We stay in indecision, and it
pretends to be so useful, like I have to get this right. I cannot make a
mistake here. Round and round we go, rehashing and rehashing and going
through the same scenarios over and over and getting ourself more and more
frustrated and more and more indecisive. It’s an indulgent emotion because
it’s robbing you from actually taking action that would get you a different
result, that would actually help you to move forward. It’s keeping you
stuck. It’s not keeping you moving anywhere.
It’s indulgent because it’s not giving you the opportunity to lean into the
discomfort of making a decision and taking action on that and feeling that
discomfort. It’s pretending to be useful because it’s keeping you safe from
negative emotion in other forms. Even though a decision feels
uncomfortable, there’s other emotions that you’re hiding from. What are
they? A good way to find out is to ask yourself, “If I made a decision
about this thing that I’m in indecision about, what would I have to feel
next?” That’s your clue. Whatever your answer is, is the emotion that you
might be hiding from. You’re indulging an indecision to not feel that next
layer of emotion.
Another indulgent emotion is doubt. It’s pretty similar to indecision. If
we stay in doubt, then we don’t have to make a decision and feel something
else. Same with worry. Worry really pretends to be useful. If I just think
of every possible scenario of anything that could happen, then I won’t miss
anything, and I’ll be able to make sure nobody gets hurt. Well, guess what?
We don’t have that much control. Wish we did. A lot of the time, the things
that we worry about, most of the time, I would say they don’t happen. Yet,
in the meantime, we’re making a whole lot of misery for ourself, and it’s
keeping us from actually taking action that would change things.
For example, let’s say you’re really worried about money. Really worried
that we won’t have enough to pay for dot dot dot. Worry pretends to be
useful, like, oh, if I just think about this all night long and complain to
my husband about how we don’t have enough money, then surely a solution
will come. Well, what that’s robbing you of is actually finding the
solution. It’s robbing you of actually digging in deep and looking for
things that you can do, things that are in your control. Another one that’s
really sneaky is comfort. The emotion of comfort. We all like to be
comforted. We all like to feel comfort. But here’s where it becomes an
indulgent emotion. Self-care is all the rage right now. Self-care. You got
to take care of yourself. I am all for taking care of yourself, but
sometimes, self-care can actually be something that is keeping us from
doing the thing we actually want.
For example, if what we really want is to go out and make new friends,
let’s say you want to make a new friend. It can feel really scary and
vulnerable because you might get rejected. You might not get invited to
that thing that the friends are doing. So you might lie to yourself and
say, “No, I just want to stay home and read and take care of myself. That’s
what I really want,” when what you really want is a friend. But you don’t
want to feel the discomfort of rejection, of feeling vulnerable. So you
pretend like comfort is the thing that you actually want.
Another idea would be around changing a job. You might want to stay in that
job because it feels … I’m just comfortable here. I’m just comfortable.
That’s just fine. But tell yourself the truth. Is there something that you
want more than comfort? What negative emotion would you have to feel to
have it? It’s the same with marriage. Sometimes we stay in marriages and
don’t change things up. By change things up, I mean being willing to rock
the boat by having difficult discussions, because it feels more comfortable
not to. Even if, deep down, we’re not real comfortable and we know there’s
a lot of things that we’re just dismissing, sweeping under the rug, we’re
calling it just keeping it comfortable. It’s actually not in service of
what you really want, which is something different than that. What do you
want? Your answer to that is going to be different than mine. I know for a
lot of my clients, what they really want is to see and to be seen. If we’re
hiding behind the feeling of comfort, we’re not allowing ourselves to feel
Another indulgent emotion is busy. I’m just busy. Now, you might think
that’s a circumstance. I’m just busy. You should see my calendar. Busy is
actually an emotion. It’s a thought, and it’s an emotion. I’m just busy.
What does it feel like to think that you’re busy, overworking? It might
feel like you’re overdoing it. You might feel burned out. Why do we keep
ourselves busy? Often, it’s because we don’t want to feel the alternative.
We don’t want to slow down long enough to take a look at what we are
without being busy. Who am I without taking care of everybody and doing all
the things, keeping everybody happy and healthy? Who am I without that? Who
am I if I’m not always booked doing something constantly? Some of us are
afraid of time where there’s nothing scheduled because of what we might
have to feel in those moments, what we might have to process.
How do we actually use emotions as fuel to get the results we want? At the
beginning of this, I asked you to think of three emotions you feel the
most. How are those emotions serving you? Are they? Where do they take you?
Let’s say that one of the emotions you feel a lot is a low-grade kind of
bummed. It’s just kind of there. I’m just down, just kind of bummed. When
you hop on that train of feeling bummed, where does it take you? Where do
you end up? Does it help you to take action to change that result? Does it
help you show up in conversations more truthfully and honestly? Does it
lead you to get curious about yourself? If it doesn’t, it’s probably not
useful. It’s probably not serving you well.
Now, I understand that many people, maybe many of my listeners, might have
anxiety, depression. When I was really in the thick of everything, I
struggled a lot with anxiety and even some depression. So I understand it.
I don’t have any judgment here against being on medication or things like
that. I had periods of time where I was on medication to help me. But let’s
say that 50% of your brain that’s creating the depression, anxiety, can be
helped with medication. And then there’s the other 50% that is all about
the way that you think. If you could manage that 50%, would it be worth it
to you? That’s where those questions come in, of going, “Where is this
taking me? Where does this lead me?”
Here’s an example. If you often just have this low-grade feeling of
distrust of your spouse in particular, it probably leads you to constantly
looking for evidence of why you can’t trust him, and then it feeds the
story that you should feel untrusting. You’re giving your brain evidence.
You’ll continue to create more of the same. Now, if there really are things
to see, and it’s in your best judgment not to trust, I wonder if there’s an
emotion that could help you see that even more clearly, that would give you
more information. I wonder if, for example, determination could be more
helpful, determined to get to the truth of the matter, knowing you will
deal with it when you have it, rather than feeling down, or rather than
As I was preparing this podcast episode, I remembered something. I
remembered at a time when I was still married. Things were unraveling
pretty quick. I remember one particular day, I found a whole bunch of
evidence for many, many months of deceit. There was evidence that filled in
some gaps for me of some things that I had been told. Of course, I had an
initial reaction of feeling sad and mad and all of those things. Of course,
I did. But I remember getting clear with myself of what needed to happen.
What did I need to do with this information? Of course, my instinct was to
go chew them out and be mad, be hurt, all of those things. But I remember
having this thought, that I needed to use these things as data, that I
needed to go and talk to him with the information that I already knew, and
watch what he did when I asked him questions. Collect data. See how he
answers when I knew the answer. Get information.
So I was able to get myself in a pretty neutral place, just pretty calm and
neutral, and just asked a ton of questions, and used the answers that I got
as data of how to proceed. Going in guns blazing, mad, accusing, it would
not have gotten me that information. I would not have been in that position
where I could watch, where I could learn, where I could gather those data
points and decide what to do next. Even if there are things that you maybe
shouldn’t be trusting quite yet, check your emotion when you go into it. Is
it serving you? Is it helping you show up in a way that will really benefit
you and get you the result that you ultimately want?
Another example is a thought like, “I should forgive him.” What does that
feel like in your body? What does “I should forgive him,” or any should
feel like? Probably not great. Maybe even a little bit resentful, like why
should I? Why should I forgive him? I don’t like being told I have to. How
does that feel different from I want to forgive him. I want to. How does
that feel different? What else could you feel? How do you go about getting
really intentional about what to feel? I’ll tell you. It’s called the
intentional thought model. Begin with the end in mind. What do you want the
result to be, the ultimate result? Go backwards. Get out a piece of paper.
Write in the very end the result. This is the result I want.
Remember, the result always has to be your result. I want to feel at peace
in my marriage, or I want to feel at peace, period. Back that up. Action.
What do I need to do to feel peace? I need to decide. I need to decide what
I’m doing. I need to get more answers and then decide. You can fill that in
based on where you are. What would I need to feel to go ask those
questions? What would I need to feel to make a decision? Back that up. What
would I need to be thinking to feel that? Play around with it. Try on
thoughts. Try on feelings. Play around with them. Imagine you have a silver
platter in front of you with tons of different feelings that you get to
just sample. You get to try them on. You can play with it. What thoughts
will create the emotion that will drive the action that will create the
ultimate result that I want?
Emotions are really, really powerful. Emotions are how we experience life.
I know that we tend to think that it’s the circumstances that are
determining the kind of life we’re having, but it’s not true. It’s our
thoughts about our circumstances and the feelings that come from the
thoughts. That’s what creates our experience because you can put five
different people in the room with the same circumstance, and they would be
having a different experience with it. You are creating your own. You get
to create a different one. You get to create whatever you want.
Really owning your feelings puts you in the driver’s seat of reminding
yourself that you have so much power, that you don’t have to just be a
victim to anything. You don’t have to be a victim to your circumstances or
to the thought of the day. Well, I guess today I’m going to feel this way.
I guess we’re doing this today. You get to decide. You get to choose.
They’re so powerful. What do you want your fuel to be? What results do you
want? I challenge you to be really honest with yourself about what your
current feelings are most of the time, and play around with some feelings
you would like to feel instead. What would you like to feel? What would
serve you well? What do you think? You can just guess. You don’t have to
get it perfect. Just guess. What would I need to be thinking to feel that?
Go practice it.
I hope this is helpful. Thank you so much for being here. If you feel so
inclined, I’d love it if you would go leave a review. They’re very, very
helpful in getting word out. Thank you so much. I’ll see you next week. Bye
Thank you for listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast. If you would
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it’s AndreaGiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next time.