Feelings: Understanding your internal navigation system
By Anthony Gitch, CH, RHt
What are your feelings for? What do they tell you? Do you know the difference between feeling inadequate, sad, board or fearful? More importantly do you have a healthy way to satisfy those feelings once you have identified them?
We spend on average 13 years being taught reading, writing, math and science, but in all that schooling our feelings are never mentioned -- that is until we act out inappropriately on them. Once that happens, then it is about punishment for the bad behavior rather than a search to understand the need, want or desire the person is attempting to fulfill.
This can create an unhealthy sense of self worth and value. It sends a message that our feelings are not important, and we learn quickly which feelings are socially acceptable to share and which are not. The constant social pressure to keep what we are feeling suppressed encourages unhealthy distractive behaviors like overeating, smoking and drinking.
I am here to tell you unequivocally that all feelings are good. They are our internal navigation system. The old saying, “If it doesn't feel good, don't do it” hits the nail on the head. If something in your life is causing you to suffer or feel badly, then that something is not good for you.
The "bad" feelings we experience are there to motivate us to take action to satisfy a need, want or desire. We can liken our feelings to the lights on our vehicles dashboard -- each one identifying a need, want or desire.
Unfortunately, because we have come so conditioned to suppressing and ignoring our feelings, we don't know what to do with them. Say, for example, that you are on a summer road trip, and the car’s temperature light comes on. You pull into the first service station you come across knowing that there is a problem and then promptly fill the car with gas. The engine has cooled in the process of filling the tank and so the light stays off for a few miles, but it eventually comes back on. You stop again -- only this time when you try to put gas in the tank it overflows. You go in and buy a gas can, fill it up, put it in the trunk and take off. Again the engine has cooled and the light is off, but, just a mile down the road, the light comes back on. Now you’re becoming frustrated, because what you're doing isn't working. You are not satisfying the needs of the car's engine, and it eventually overheats and breaks down.
I call this the "feel bad, distract" cycle. The process goes like this -- someone feels something like anger or loneliness, the temperature light, so they go get an ice cream cone, the gas, and it makes them feel good for a moment. But then that feeling comes back.
Because the ice cream did not do the trick, filling the tank , this time they have a handful of cookies, the can of gas in the trunk , and they still feel bad so frustration sets in since there has been no satisfying response to the initial feeling, the temperature gauge , eventually the body, mind and spirit breaks down just like the car. The problem here is that no amount of gas will fix a temperature problem and no amount of food, alcohol, drugs or cigarettes will ever fix feeling anxious, sad, lonely, angry or depressed.
So how do we break this "feel bad, distract" cycle? That's the simple part. We start to recognize and honor our feelings, while allowing them to guide us towards what we really need, want and desire.
I’ll be writing more soon about the primary feelings -- boredom, anger, guilt, sadness, loneliness, inadequacy, stress and fear, as well as the secondary feeling of frustration and the tertiary feeling of depression. I will cover a self-coaching process that will show you how to name the feeling, identify the cause and create a satisfying response.
For more information, visit https://excel-hypnosis.com.