Yes, it may sound crazy, but we humans are blessed or cursed with feeling feelings. However as time passed and society has evolved, we want to experience the right feelings at the right time! We are under the illusion we can control our feelings.
Sometimes the terms ‘emotions and feeling are used interchangeably but they are distinct. It’s worth knowing the difference as it assists with developing emotional intelligence.
Emotions and feelings are two distinct yet related phenomena, despite the words used interchangeably. Sensations in the body are the source of emotions, and thoughts are the source of feelings.
Emotions are triggered by stimuli in our environment—such as other people’s behavior, certain sounds, sights or smells. As a result of an internal or external stimulus, our bodies respond biologically and chemically, causing emotions. These reactions take place at a very fundamental level and may be totally unconscious.
Through the accompanying physical sensations, such as sweating, muscle tension, or a pounding heartbeat, we become aware of our emotions.
Feelings on the other hand are not triggered by external stimuli but rather by our own thoughts about what has happened to us or others. These feelings are how we make sense of the emotion.
However, it seems as if feelings have become something for us to fear.
Automatically one can think of the fear of experiencing negative feelings; pain, distress, anger and these are feelings most people would not want to experience. However there is also the fear of happiness,cherophobia.
Whether it is fear of being upset, angry, judgemental, or at times, fear of being too happy to be joyful, we have learned to label these emotions as good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable. So feelings have become something we need to avoid or control. We have learned to suppress our feelings. When we are upset, we may try to distract ourselves or numb out with food, alcohol or drugs.
I remember a movie called Equilibrium; citizens took daily injections to suppress their feelings because it was believed emotions were the reason for war and conflict. So to reduce the incidence of conflict, all feelings and emotions were suppressed: anger, worry, rage, joy, love, and compassion. I’ll not spoil the end of the movie for you but let’s say things are not the same in the end as they were in the beginning!
Although not as extreme, we have been conditioned in some ways to see an expression of emotion as a weakness, and so many try to suppress their feelings. However, suppression of emotions may result in the following:
So how do you overcome this fear of feeling?
These are the three steps I share with my clients when working with them to overcome their fears.
We live in an inside-out world, and your feelings result from your thoughts about a situation. Understanding can begin by making a list of what may have triggered your feeling, leading to your knowledge of your thinking about the situation. Understanding how your feelings are generated will assist you in managing every problem you face in life. When you feel angry, sad or frustrated, it’s easy to let your feelings run away with you. But if you can step back and take an objective look at what’s going on in your mind, you can see how your feelings are related to your thoughts about a situation.
In accepting the feeling you are experiencing in the moment, rather than fighting it and trying to control the experience of your emotion, you begin to understand yourself more and why you think the way you do about a situation. When you accept your feelings, you make a conscious decision to follow the path of understanding rather than fighting. This gives you the opportunity to move through your feelings, rather than being stuck in them. When you accept your feelings, they become less intense and easier to work with. You realize that feelings are just feelings, not facts about how things really are.
When you begin to sit with the emotion, you start to understand that there is nothing to fear; it’s not the emotion you are frightened of, and you begin to understand what it is that you are fearing. You start to see that the emotion has no power over you, and it slowly loses its power over your life. You will find that when you stop running from your feelings they begin to fade away. By accepting how things are right now, rather than fighting against them, you open yourself up to possibilities of change.
If you want greater clarity and understanding of your emotions and their impact on your life, join me on the WDF Antidote 5-day programme. Here we begin to look beyond your fears and understand the origins of your worry worried and how you can overcome it to lead a life more in alignment because you genuinely are.
Change is inevitable, but so is your ability to adapt. You are a human being with a mind capable of infinite creative thought. Use it!
We live in a world where change is inevitable. There will always be things to adjust to, people to meet, and new situations to navigate. But you’re not just a human being—you are a human being with a mind capable of infinite creative thought. Use it! You can cope with change by recognizing that there is no such thing as failure. Failure is simply an opportunity for growth, and growth leads to success. So go forth and conquer! You can do it!
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