One of the most empowering skills I’ve ever learned is the ability to choose the way I want to feel. For most of my life, I didn’t even know this was an option. I assumed that my emotions dictated my feelings and that I simply had no control over that.
I imagine myself being dragged around on a leash by my emotions, being pulled this way and that way, having no say in the direction I was going or what would come next. I remember putting so much stock in my emotions, believing them at every turn, and making some pretty big life decisions simply because I was feeling a certain way.
When you really think about it, our emotions are really all over the place. One moment we can feel one way and then with the blink of an eye, that emotion disappears and another one takes its place. A good deal of the time, we don’t even know why. Emotions are constantly coming and going, and if we follow them around blindly, eventually we may find ourselves standing in a place we aren’t sure how we managed to arrive at.
The truth is that it’s up to me to choose the way I desire to feel. Like most things in life, I have a choice and I get to decide what meaning I want to give the emotions that I may be experiencing at any given moment. Brendon Burchard gives a very clear explanation of this in his book High Performance Habits. He provides a distinction between emotions and feelings by explaining that emotions are organic, unconscious. They arise without us thinking about them, sometimes out of nowhere. Feelings on the other hand are actually determined by the meaning we assign to the emotions we are experiencing at the time.
I absolutely love this distinction and the context it provides for what I know to be true…that our greatest power is our ability to make choices every step of the way.
Here’s the deal, we all get flooded with emotions. Sometimes we know why, sometimes they come out of nowhere. It’s in that moment when we feel those emotions course through our bodies that we have the power to choose. We can choose to allow those emotions to simply be, giving ourselves permission to let them flow and process in our physical bodies. We have the power to choose to wait until that happens, before we decide what those emotions mean and before we decide to act. And, we have the power to choose what we ultimately want those emotions to actually mean for us.
Let yourself experience the emotions, for however long that takes, and then decide what you want to feel. Decide what you want those emotions to mean for you in your life, in a way that supports your growth and your future vision. Make the choice to empower yourself on your journey forward.
With love and joy,