We’ve all been there, we’ve all been so caught up in our emotions that our actions aren’t slow to follow. Sometimes we’ve gotten so upset that we throw things, yell at the top of our lungs, or worse… hurt someone we love. And sometimes when the dust has settled, we believe that we were in the right to act in such a way, using our feelings to justify our actions. But if you’re tired of that ceaseless cycle, there IS something YOU can do. Get yourself “out” of your feelings.
It may be easier said than done, but everything comes easier with a little bit of practice! First, we need to learn the difference between feelings and thoughts. Feelings and thoughts are closely related, but they are not one in the same. If you are confused about the difference, think about it this way: a thought is the rambling sentence that runs through your head while you try to sort out what you’re feeling. The actual feeling is only ONE word. I feel hurt. I feel sad. I feel disappointed. Those are your feelings, but people seem to confuse the two a lot. So when you think you’re “in your feelings”, you’re actually “in your thoughts”. Once you’re able to know the difference, figure out what you’re feeling and say it. Say it in your head, say it out loud. But when you say it, own it. This is where you will get your power.
When you say what you’re feeling, it’s not only a revelation to the other person, but it’s also a revelation to you. Amidst anger, you may have not realized you were hurt. Amidst annoyance, you may not have realized you were disappointed. Once you have this revelation, there’s so much more that you can do. So while you’re in the hole that we now know are our thoughts and not our feelings, we can start the climb out. Start this climb by engaging the other person in dialogue. Share how you feel, but also take the time to learn how they feel. But make sure you both slow down. Slowing the conversation down helps you really think about what’s going on with you and how you got to the position you’re in right now.
While we’re climbing out, it’s important to remember just how distorted feelings can be. Our thoughts will combine with what we’re feeling and we’re given a jolt to act immediately. When you slow down the conversation, you’re not only giving yourself time to govern yourself, but the other person is also given the opportunity to make decisions in a timely manner. Also remember that your feelings do not reflect the reality of the situation, but that they are personal only to you. In other words, your reality of what happened may be very different than the reality of the other person. Be able to sift through your thoughts and feelings and extract what is valuable in this situation. Maybe it’s a lesson learned, maybe you’ve learned something new about your self or your partner.
Any time you’re caught “in your feelings”, it’s important to remember that emotions are always fleeting… happiness, sadness, anger, fear… they all come and go. What will always remain is love.
Watch #Advice4Life sessions here.
Last week, Al Laws and Gregg Harris continued the conversation about the Awareness Wheel. The Awareness Wheel enables us to see our process to track and realize what we really meant to do when we find ourselves in a tense situation with a loved one. There is a certain comfort and certainty in being able to track where you are in your thoughts, feelings and actions. The Awareness Wheel takes on the biblical principle that God divides our spirit into pieces so that we may be more open to him. The Awareness Wheel divides aspects of who we are so that we may better understand ourselves.
We must get in the habit of being in touch with our own feelings; be aware of what you feel and TELL the other person what and how you’re feeling. So many times, we charge someone else with “You don’t know how I feel!” We must be the ones to take that into our own account and let them know exactly what is going on. It takes practice, but soon enough we will be able to zero in on our emotions and communicate it with the other person.
Listen to the podcast “Awareness Wheel Pt. 2” here!
One way that the Family Strengthening practice model helps us understand human behavior is through the Awareness Wheel. Though we could fill books of information to teach this concept, the summary of it is this: All intentions are good because people are just looking for something good for themselves.
This is an extremely difficult concept to accept because we see a lot of behaviors from people that make us uncomfortable; however, if we understand that every individual’s Awareness Wheel affects the decisions that they make for themselves, we are able to remove judgment when we interact with him or her.
One popular example that we use in training the Family Strengthening Practice Model is a single mother who can’t afford to buy pampers for her baby. Her thoughts are full of concern for her child, wondering if she should steal or try to beg to get her needs met. She goes through the gambit of feelings like fear, sadness, guilt, etc. Her intentions are to get the pampers. That’s when it gets interesting. She may or may not act on her thoughts and feelings. Whatever her decision is, there will be a consequence. If she steals, she may get away with it or she may get caught and arrested. The outcome is not predictable, but you can count on the fact that her past experiences will help her make the decision that ultimately affects her life.
We have all made decisions that we felt were best based on our life experiences, so when others do the same, we should recognize that their Awareness Wheel is different from ours. This is what allows us the freedom to approach everyone with understanding and compassion.