If anybody cares about feelings, it’s me. As a mental health counselor, part of my job is to understand my client’s feelings and help people unravel and process difficult emotions. But, there’s a difference between being aware of your feelings and allowing them to run your life. All too often, I see clients get stuck in an emotion…for years. It kills me to see people trying to desperately shake off uncomfortable feelings like anger, sadness, hurt, and shame. What do you do when your feelings won’t let you sleep at night?
Deep emotional wounds require a lot of attention and time to heal, but in the meantime, life cannot come to a standstill.
We have to stop treating feelings as if they had a brain of their own. Your feelings cannot think or act for you. Since when did sadness have a body, two arms and two legs? Never! Then why do we allow our feelings to take over our lives? It’s because we think that our feelings are an extension of us, of who we are. But that’s not the truth. Our feelings are just messages about what we believe to be true, but they are not our identity.
Do not build your life from an emotional state! Feelings cannot make you do anything. You have the ultimate choice to decide how you wish to live your life. Sorrow cannot keep you in bed all day long, just like fear can’t make you skip out on riding a roller coaster.
It basically comes down to this one question: Do you constantly make decisions based off of your emotions? In one sense, it’s important to be connected to your feelings because they can help you stay safe. For example, feeling nervous about entering a random person’s car at 3am is probably an important sensation to pay attention to! But in another sense, feelings can hold you back from growing into a stronger individual and experiencing the best that life has to offer.
Do you decide to avoid a potentially great relationship because you’re feeling vulnerable? Do you decide to skip exercising for a week because you’re feeling lazy? Does disappointment keep you from achieving your life dream? Because pushing through painful feelings can actually produce resilience and character. Most of our greatest achievements came out of complete discomfort!
Recognize which one of your emotions has been leading life on your behalf and make a choice. Will you allow your feelings to take control or will you be the boss?