Working with emotions that arise in you really is easy, even though there are a number of things to complete.
As discussed in this series, first we must take the time to find and feel the emotions that register, primarily in our body. That’s how our brain realizes emotions in our body are attempting to communicate with us.
Next, we need to explore the emotions to better understand what they want us to become aware of. For all of us, emotions say things like “you’re feeling manipulated,” “you’re feeling angry,” or “you’re quite jealous.” Knowing the places in our body where each of these “common-to-us-all emotional messages” registers, we can speed our understanding and our reaction times.
By understanding that emotions are not “ours,” yet are akin to “lifelong friends and helpers,” we can separate enough to utilize them for their true purpose. Navigational tools, emotions help us know what to do, or not do, at every turn in the road of our life’s journey.
Instead of meditating or tapping emotions away, we’re better served to take time to hear the message of those emotions, because they’ve arisen to help us.
While it’s fine to dismiss emotions in this way, we rob ourselves of deep learning opportunities if we don’t seek out, and hear, the message of those emotions first. Doing that allows us to better understand and hear the primary message a particular emotion is conveying, such as “come closer,” “be careful,” “time to make changes,” “take in more energy,” or “get creative.” Not including this step is like having a world-class teacher available to tutor us on a vital topic but dismissing them without listening to what they have to say!
Now that you’ve noticed the feeling in your body, allowed yourself to hear its message, recognized your separation from that emotion, and have ferreted out its more specific message, what’s next?
Follow the message.
Most people live by thoughts, by what they can figure out in their brains. Emotions are brought in later, held at arms’ length until the “figuring out” is done. This is the opposite of the way things work best.
Thirty years ago, I made a decision to do only those things I wanted to do. Noticing that most people operate on thoughts, I was choosing to live by emotions. Believing if I did only what I felt like and wanted to do, I would be a balance to those who lived totally in their heads! I refused to take action unless I clearly wanted to do something.
This was not really easy to do! My brain kept telling me “you must send out Christmas cards this year,” “you have to do this so the others won’t be critical of you.” I held out, and for nearly two years I took no action unless I clearly knew I wanted to take it.
One day, I became aware of something I really wanted to do, so I did it.
Slowly, the wants increased. I started being more decisive and active. Today, I am unable to find anything I do in my life that I really don’t want to do. It’s a totally different way than most people live. By the way, there are some things that don’t appeal to me, but if I can’t find a way to want to include them in my life, I don’t do them.
“When we follow the message of emotions, we are essentially doing what we want to do, based on our own best self-interest.”
Visit my website to get up-to-date information about my book, Emotions in Motion, as it becomes available in May 2019.
To identify what we want to do, we must listen to, and trust, our heart.
Begin doing this more by using your imagination to explore “what would I feel if….” When you have a decision to make and are not sure which to choose, ask “What would I feel if I refused this promotion?” Then ask, “What would I feel if I accepted this promotion?” Use imagination to fully explore both choices. Identify the one that allows you to feel best. We feel best when we follow our wants.
Esther Hicks and Abraham, in Ask and It Is Given, discuss the power of identifying what we want (most easily by identifying what we don’t want), and following that in life. A young woman I once worked with was manifesting all kinds of negatives; conflicts and physical confrontations with roommates, overwhelming depression, etc. For example, until she started identifying what she really wanted in her own life and went for her wants. Living by what we truly want puts us in alignment with what is right and positive for us!
Begin slowly, when emotions arise in you. Ask “what do I really want here?” To the best of your ability, follow that.
As I write, I can hear people protesting I’m suggesting they be “selfish.” It’s true. I call it “enlightened selfishness.” Enlightened selfishness is akin to self-love, which is vital for a successful life. Most of us arrive on earth as an individual, coming to learn and grow during the process of living here. Since all of life is lived from the “inside, out,” maintaining the self-love babies start life with is vital for the best life experience. Throughout life, continuing to practice and develop self-love is vital. Not doing this leaves us empty, encourages us to be manipulative (looking to others to fill our needs), and can lead us through much misery. Loving ourselves leaves us full of love, with love spilling over onto others. And, what we have inside of us, we attract from outside, meaning when we’re full of self-love, we’ll draw love from others (while also spilling our love out over them!).
Looking after yourself and your wants as following your heart is what emotions encourage us to do. Their message says, “live for your own highest and best,” and the rest will follow, easily and sweetly.
See you back here this time next week for Part 6 of this series!
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Ilene Dillon, MSW, has dedicated her life to helping people resolve personal challenges once and for all, then design life to be what they want it to be. A Transformation Specialist, she has worked 50 years as a psychotherapist and 15 years as a coach. She is a global speaker, Amazon International Best-selling author (The Wellness Universe Guide to Complete Self-Care, Volumes 1 and 2), podcast guest, and plans to give her first TEDx speech (on Anger) later this year. Ilene is also the author of Emotions in Motion: Mastering Life’s Built-in Navigation System and End Manipulation: Stop Being Jerked Around by Toxic, Energy-draining People. With her little dog, Pi, Ilene lives and travels full-time throughout North America in her RV, writing, teaching, and speaking along the way.