"Understanding about feelings and behaviors will lead to a mastery of your life that transforms it into greatness and richness and fullness like few can imagine."
INCOMPLETE AWARENESS, PERPETUATING THE PROBLEM
You think you know "I shouldn't let feelings run me, but.... No, you don't know, not really. You do know the "should" but not all the aspects that would create the understanding. When people stop at the trite level, they think they "know" but they don't know any more than one little tiny thing - they need to know the whole picture that is needed for sufficient understanding to get the result desired (assuming it is possible). The sign that someone has insufficient knowing/awareness lies in the proof: the result.
(not everything below is linked to relevant helpful pages, so if you want to follow something further or to see what to do use the search engine.
AFRAID OF OUR FEELINGS?
Many (most?) people are afraid of their feelings as if they were some kind of threat or something, rather than a set of sensations that are fleeting. Except if I am afraid of my feelings, I will generate more feelings and keep on restimulating the cycle. Not good!
This is all based on beliefs. If I feel this discomfort, then I …. and then the consequences and endpoint will be that I'll fall into oblivion.
Psychologically, a child has a feeling that he/she doesn't understand but it seems confusing. The only survival reaction that is feasible would be to go into a complete fear situation and try to quell the fear. If we don't grow up to understand our feelings and what they mean, then we may continue to overreact to discomfort and feel a sense of overwhelm or helplessness, like it will destroy us (like the closet monster would). We can quell the discomfort by distraction or numbing or using substances that create the desired quelling - but poor strategies that produce bad results later should be stopped if we are in the adult persona. As an adult we can learn that feelings are just sensations and that they will soon pass. We must stop being "afraid" of discomfort and run by it!
THE TWO ALTERNATIVES
There are two alternatives here to choose to rely on. Let's look at these and make a decision, now!
Alternative I. Mostly, let our feelings control our lives and behaviors..
Alternative II. Choose behaviors that add to our lives and enrich them and/or limit downsides from the inevitable undesired outcomes, regardless of feelings.
FIRST, SOME PRINCIPLES AND LAWS
However, we must first consider and accept a law of realty
Feelings are uncontrollable by our will alone.
So, it would be a good idea to stop living from the opposite hope.
Our physical wiring is strictly (obviously) mechanical.
If a “stimulating pattern” happens, then resultant wired-in feeling occurs. It just occurs, period!
We have no moral responsibility for our feelings, as they are strictly mechanical functions.
Another law, the truth of which comes from scientific observation:
We can, by choice of behaviors, influence our feelings.
Note that at any point we can choose a behavior, and that behaviors are controllable - that is a law, a reality. ., however, are controllable, by choice.
Since feelings are largely uncontrollable, it would seem that it would be an absurd, preposterous, ridiculous, idiotic (once we have that knowledge) to choose to have our lives run by feelings. That would, therefore, mean that we cannot control or run our lives.
Not a good choice!
Mechanically, however, feelings have a life of no more than a minute and a half - so they will pass - unless we restimulate them by choosing a thought that does so.
CHOOSE. THEN ELIMINATE THE NON-WORKING ALTERNATIVE.
Therefore, the only reasonable choice, if one wants good results is to cut off all bridges to that choice, for it leads to nowhere good, but, always, eventually, leads to misery and failure.
Tracing it backwards from the “effect” to the “cause” (per the Law of Cause and Effect, which you must accept at the level that you accept the law of gravity), if you have the effects of misery and failure in life then you can reliably know that you are doing something dysfunctional to cause them – namely, letting your feelings run your behavior, as if you are a passive victim of those feelings that happen upon you.
But then, you protest, "don't you see that my feelings are so strong I have no other choice!".
That is an utterly preposterous belief, as in reality we always have the ability to choose. [If you argue the opposite, you are belying something scientifically provable and relying on a set of beliefs which are part of being a victim in life.]
We absolutely need to remove the belief that feelings determine behavior (as opposed to their just creating something to respond to), so that you won't go back to the strategies based on the belief about feelings being in control. Keeping this feelings-control-me belief always gives us strategies which do not work, period! (Anything based on a scientifically proven to be untrue piece is, logically, untrue and unworkable.)
Is there anything about that that is vague? You MUST “get” that clarity and no longer go back to believing that.
WHAT ARE FEELINGS, REALLY?
Feelings are merely signals in the form of physical sensations.
Some are uncomfortable.
None are lasting – they all disappear.
However, we believe in the illusion, as with a film running frame after frame, that feelings are continuous and lasting – which is preposterous and shortsighted. Physical sensations all pass. That is a physical law.
However, they can seem continuous IF we keep restimulating them, creating frame after frame, so it looks like something continuing for a long period of time.
In fact, people, absurdly, attribute permanence to many of their feelings. (In Buddhism, this is a truth emphasized as essential to know, or one will create unnecessary suffering, with no benefit.)
REINFORCING THE IDEA OF FEAR OF FEELINGS
If we let feelings determine our behaviors, then we must fear those feelings, which means they have a threat. Let's look and see. Is there a threat to a feeling? Will a feeling smash into us and crush as like a car? Or will they just cause a physical sensation that soon passes? (Fears cannot push you or attack you or eat you - except it may seem so if you believe what is created in your head - a harmless mental construct!)
If the feeling soon passes, then can't we pause and just let it pass, choosing not to restimulate it, so it is “disappeared” forever? (Sure we can restimulate a particular type of feeling, but the original feeling is no longer in existence and we need not fear that feeling coming back up - ironically, we, in our choosing, are the only cause of the re-stimulating of the emotion which we fear....)
WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT FEELINGS?
So, what should we do about feelings, since they are uncontrollable by our will and [physically locked into our wiring]?
We could resist them, say they are awful and try to change them or feel bad about having them.
But that would produce no positive result and would, in fact, stimulate more bad feelings! So, that is not a valid choice, and one we must commit to giving up for the rest of our lives, forever, as it is useless, plus being harmful!
Not a good choice!
OK, so that leaves us with the only other possible choice, which seems implausible to the beliefs we have learned in our culture:
To recognize and accept our feelings as they are.
[Notice that “recognize” is a behavior, something we choose to “do”, an action of the mind.]
Ok, so if we accept them, what then?
Since feelings arise out of thoughts related to situations, we can note (cognate) that we can
1. Change the situation and/or
2. Change the thought (about the situation) that caused the feeling.
The solutions are only achieved through choosing a behavior, either out in the physical world and/or in choosing a thought.
And we can choose to “read” the feeling, since it is only a physical sensation emitted for a reason, to see what value can be derived from it. (The choice to do nothing is not a good choice, though it is a frequent default. The choice to add an "ain't it awful" and "I'm stupid" to it creates no benefit, only harm. All that is left as a choice is to see if something can be learned from it. If something produces a bad result, then obviously we don't know what it takes to produce the right result; so it behooves us to look for how we can learn the necessary knowledge to get the desired result. [Duh!])
Ask, aloud, or inside: Is there something to learn, since obviously I did not know enough to not have the situation happen or to invoke the thought that caused the feeling? [There are some situations that are not caused by us, so I am not referring to those that are not changeable, though the thoughts about them are, in fact, changeable. We control virtually all the causes of the feelings, therefore we can control virtually all of our feeling.]
It is not the feelings we can fix, but we can choose to change the causes.
Largely underwater, unless we bring them to consciousness, iceberg beliefs can sink us.
Never reinforce the idea/belief that your feelings are running your life. Never say that and don't allow it into your space. You are bigger than your feelings and you have the power to create different ones and/or to let the feeling just pass.
THE FEELINGS ARE OUR FUNCTIONAL FRIENDS
Indeed, the feelings are our functional friends. We just need to not exacerbate the situation through false beliefs and bad practices.
They let us know when to focus on physical pain, in order to see if we should remedy it.
Guilt causes us to reexamine our values and the functionality of our behaviors, so that damage is not repeated – so we can examine and determine what to do that will work better.
Grief, too, prompts reevaluation and has us answer the question of what to do to fill ourselves back up.
Anxiety prompts looking at what needs to be done to prevent a future threat. If caught early, it is simply a signal for concern, a “look here, you better ought to check this out and see if you should do something about this” - but don't keep repeating the concern over and over without doing something to solve it, or you'll suffer full blown anxiety (because of your choice of that action/behavior) – and if you add on top of it some form of multiplier, then you get extreme anxiety and/or possibly panic due to the falsely believed threat and the fear you ginned up by repeating the possible threat over and over plus adding “how awful it is” and how it will have long term catastrophic effects on your life [total bullshit, but you let yourself believe it, rather than reexamining it and developing a full-bore set of arguments and thoughts for installing what is true and functional].
Fear mobilizes our body and defense system for action in the moment to prevent loss or harm of some sort. It is the chief means for assuring our survival. The brain is always on the lookout and it will spot what is needed - we can rely on that. We need to then deal with it effectively rather than exacerbating the situation. Fear is not bad and not unpleasant per se; we only get a bad feeling if we start ginning up fear statements.
Those are all good functions that helped insure our survival.
Essentially, we have an “immune system” working on our behalf to have us be healthy, except that this immune system is more in terms of guiding our life, eliminating life toxins, whereas our other system is mostly internal. Both are necessary.
You can't remove your feelings system (and it would be foolish to do so). You are, forever, going to have the sensations of fear, guilt, anxiety, grief, etc. as they are wired in.
Would you want to eliminate your physical immune system because you experience the physical effects of allergies? If you did, you would soon die. It is not the physical system and feelings you want to remove, it is always about choosing actions/thoughts that will alleviate or eliminate the bad effects, but not the system that protects us!!!!!!
DO SOMETHING! RESPOND!
There is a difference in this immune system, in that it coughs up stuff for our conscious mind to act on (unless it knows how to do it automatically ) at which time we get to choose a strategy to handle what is needed, i.e. choose an effective behavior to implement
If we pay attention to feelings and act appropriately, it will be almost as if we don't have any bad feelings at all, as they will pass.
I repeat: Feelings are a passing thing, unless we re-cause them, which is a choice of behavior. [Let's be clear about this: you act when you choose a thought, so it is a behavioral thing.] And the feeling is not a thing, not a threat, not something to not experience, just a passing sensation. You can just pause, breathe, and let it dissipate automatically on its own....
OPERATE WITH REALITY NOT AGAINST IT
If you choose to operate against these realities, to choose to struggle with your feelings, to resist them, then you are simply choosing to operate in an exhaustingly unproductive way in life- with little chance of having the life you want.
You must make the only feasible choice, the only one where you can produce the effects you want, through the only means possible: your behavior/actions (and learning sufficient knowledge to know what to do).
CUT OFF THE RETREATS; NO VICTIMHOOD ALLOWED!
Notice that what we are doing here is trying to cut off the retreats and excuses that are used to perpetuate victim mentality.
THERE IS NOTHING TO FEAR IN FEELINGS!!!! NOTHING!!!! THEY ARE JUST 'MEANINGFUL' VAPOR WITH NO REAL PHYSICAL DIRECT IMPACT
If you are not yet convinced of these laws/truths, then please discuss them with a knowledgeable person so that you will have beliefs that are functional and will leave you with the clarity that you have no other viable, functional choice but to choose behaviors that are effective - and not let the feelings overwhelm you or run you!
Though you are not responsible for your feelings, you are responsible for all of your behaviors and all results in your life. Not to blame, but responsible.
Our feelings are not responsible for our behaviors; that's a cop-out to responsibility and to living a good life – it just doesn't work, and therefore should be discontinued!
Basically "x" happens and then we have a choice: do something productive or not. But the only reasonable effective choice is to do something productive, no matter how we feel - just letting that feeling be there by your side, but with no real threat from a feeling or the imaginary ghost of the feeling! Feelings are a "so what" and a "thank you for sharing" phenomenon.
Our true “I” is the one that chooses to limit the crazy or uncontrolled dysfunctional impulses of the stupid primitive brain. It doesn't work the other way around, though they occasionally do conflict - but it is always the “adult” that should rule. It is the Only choice, the other choice is to be a victim, where things just “happen” to you, your feelings determine your behavior, and you're just plain out of control with little or no mastery over life. [Read Who I Am and be clear about that - you have feelings, they are not you nor can they run you! You must get this right or you will not be able to be happy! It is imperative for you to know this.]
Insanity or low sanity is, by definition, “disorder”, which looks like disarray in life. The way out of low sanity is to build order in. It always starts with the simple activities, where you begin to exert some control in little pieces – fix three good meals, exercise, institute regular sleep hours, schedule your days... and then, from that, you “build”, adding more and more directed behavior and skills until you reach sufficient mastery to have a rich, full life, the one you've always wanted but perhaps, irrationally, given up on.... [Read Unsanity To Highsanity - The Levels Of Sanity.]
When one knows they can and are directing their own behaviors they then know that they can take risks, feel feelings (without fearing them), trust others (and still be disappointed at times), experience failure, make mistakes – and still be able to do what will cause something good.
WHY WRITE YOUR FEELINGS DOWN?
Writing things down engages the rational brain, which in turn will cause a rise above the emotions - the "bad" feeling automatically then reduces in intensity, often disappearing! Also, writing things down is intricately necessary for effective problem solving. If one is to make progress in life, at least a lot faster, one must put things down in writing!!! This is a valuable secret to having a more effective life - please do not ignore it or minimize or think you can get around this physical law. See Why Write It Down.
IT IS BEHAVIOR (AND THE BEHAVIOR OF CHOOSING THOUGHTS, AS WELL) THAT DETERMINES OUR SITUATIONS AND/OR FEELINGS. IT IS NOT VICE VERSA.
You know, as you build, that you can generate the sorts of feeling you want in life.
You can hype yourself up, dancing, watching contests, stimulating movies, music, interesting activities and discussions, being around excitement and exciting positive people, etc. and etc.
And if you want to calm down, you can pause, breathe deeply, meditate, listen to soft music, close your eyes, wait for a feeling to simply pass, say a calming thought/mantra, etc.
CHOOSING BEHAVIORS THAT ARE PRODUCTIVE
Assuming you've "got” the understanding of this and are committed therefore to using as a strategy "choosing behaviors that are productive", then you would do items such as these (which are mostly done for you or for your revision in the Reminders Notebook):
Identify behaviors that work and/or derive behaviors that work by observing behaviors that don't work.
Set rules (\guidelines) of how you will behave.
Correct those thoughts/beliefs that proceeded any bad feelings
Follow the practices (from a list that is physical or, less reliably, in your brain) that work to
Direct attention away from destructive thoughts.
Develop the skills that will allow you to produce the effects you want and/or to direct your life more effectively. The skills that give me control over producing the effects I want. Give up trying to do useless things, controlling others, controlling feelings...
Put together a solid set of beliefs and behaviors that will serve you to have greater confidence, positivity, and . (This is is “forced” into form by completing filling in the slots in your Reminders Notebook.)
Establish who you are
Establish a life philosophy, your stands and commitments in life
What you'll do to deal with feelings (let them pass...)
Install order in life in physical homeostasis so have a platform to operate from (vs. destabilizing it and having to spend a lot of life coping with the effects..)
Identify what doesn't work and stop doing it, what I wasteful, counterproductive. Waiting for rescue, seeking rescue, seeking approval...seeking self esteem through only thought and reassurances instead of actions...
THE ONLY WAY OUT IS...
If the only way out is through choosing behaviors then that would seem to be the way to go.
This means I must identify behaviors and commit to doing them. Or I could use a “screener” to help me choose my behaviors such as “what is the right, productive thing to do now?”
I will no longer give up control of my life to the fear of mere chemical signals causing sensations in my body.
HOW SOME PEOPLE MANAGE TO NOT BE CONTROLLED
In some society, various sayings help people live to avoid the control by feelings.
You just gotta do what you can do.
That's the way life is.
Don't be a wuss. Do it!
THE "FEELINGS" SONG
They get it right in the first sentence:
"Feelings, nothing more than feelings."
Then they go belly up to the cultural beliefs, the source of suffering per Buddha, where everything is permanent (which is obviously a gross untruth here!):
"Feelings, for all my life I'll feel it."
Putting into working order.