As human beings, we believe that the fact that we’re able to feel sadness, pain, anxiety, or in general feel our emotions is actually important. That’s right. I said it. We think that having feelings is all that matters in the world. That expressing our emotions is something that we should always do at all cost because they ultimately reveal who we are and make us feel important.
Well, news flash. Feelings are something that all of us experience. But that doesn’t mean that they make us important.
The truth is, what we do in life is generally because of two reasons. We either feel good about something and do it or we do it because we are convinced that it’s right. Sometimes these two align. And when that happens, there are no actual words to describe the joy and happiness.
But, sometimes means very rare. More often, these two reasons don’t align. So, we often end up living in two extremes. We carry on doing what’s right even though we don’t feel very good about it, or we indulge in doing something that makes us feel fantastic, knowing that it’s the right thing to do.
Relying on your feelings as guidance in life is pretty easy. You just feel whatever flows through you, and you do it. You feel immediately relieved because it feels like you’ve lifted off a big weight off your shoulders. But that feeling fades away in just a blink of an eye. And, it does not really add real meaning to our life.
Doing what’s right, on the other hand, is something that gives us a sense of pride and morality. Having that in mind, doing something right actually adds real value to our lives. It stays with us much longer and serves us as a reminder that we’ve accomplished something important.
The thing is, our brains don’t like to be uncertain of things. As human beings, we like to know where we’re going, what we’re doing and how we are feeling. We don’t enjoy being taken out of our comfort zones. That is why our brain is willing to do whatever it takes to avoid discomfort.
One of his favorite ways is convincing us that everything that feels good doing is probably right.
For example, even though I knew that I had to stick to my well-planned diet and work out in the evening, yesterday I ordered the biggest and greasiest burger and went straight home, where I binge watched Game of Thrones for the rest of the night. My mind made sure to justify my actions by convincing me that deserved this after a whole week of training (3 times, to be exact). It tricked me.
The point is, once this happens, once we start mixing what’s right and what feels good, we basically tell our brain that the whole point is to just feel happy all of the time and well, that eventually leads us to think that our feelings actually matter.
Ouch! At this point, you probably feel a bit hurt, but I am (not) sorry for hurting your feelings because what I am about to say will hurt more.
The reason why everything in life is f*cked up is because of, guess what… our feelings! We feel mad. As a result, we often behave impulsively. We feel too proud of who we are, as a result, we start behaving entitled. The more our feelings do this, the more we feel like the whole universe revolves around us. When in reality, it doesn’t.
Our feelings don’t always reveal who we are. Yes, they are felt and experienced only by us. But they cannot tell us what’s best for your friends or what’s best for our world. They are subjective. And as subjective, the only thing that they can tell you is what’s best for you. In some cases, not even that.
I know that it’s hard to get over them. We’ve all tried doing that, but most of the times failed. Do you know why? Because every attempt we make to control them, they multiply and become very difficult to let go of.
And when they multiply, we not only experience feelings, but we also have feelings about our feelings. So, you have feelings about feeling bad, feelings about feeling good and so and so on. Yes, I know, too complicated. But that’s who we are.
So, I think that if we want to lead a happier life, we have to understand one simple truth. Our feelings don’t mean anything. In fact, they mean whatever we allow them to mean. We are the ones who interpret them and point them in a certain direction. We are the ones who let them consume us and force us to act a certain way. Or not.
The most important thing that we need to understand is that we are the ones who need to decide. I can wake up with many different feelings today. I can be sad, I can be miserable, I can be agitated, I can be pissed off. But, at the end of the day, I decide which feeling is important and which isn’t.
So, don’t ignore your feelings. They are important. Instead, decide whether they are meaningful enough for you to act on.