I have been doing a lot of studying, reading and thinking lately about feelings. You know, those emotions that we all have. Where do they come from? What do we do to get them? How do they rule our lives? Should we let them take over? Are they healthy for us? What are good ones and what are bad ones? Should we have a balance in feelings?
Most of all, should we be in control of our feelings? Is it good to keep a lid on our feelings and not let them control us or should we allow them to be our guiding light for the days activities?
This is what I have discovered and what I really believe after doing a lot of reading. Feelings can lead us down a misleading pathway. Many times we do not exert control over them. We seem to allow them to take the lead. We validate feelings as if these emotions are the way our lives need to go.
Honestly, our feelings can be sponsored from reflecting on others. Or conjured up from some irrational thoughts that we may have. They may be a dishonest display of what is really happening in our lives. They may come from many things around us.
A bad nights sleep or the grumpy greeting from a housemate in the morning, or indigestion or hunger, or not having clean clothes to wear or looking out of the window and seeing rain instead of sunshine can all evoke negative feelings. Even viewing positive things can conjure up negative feelings if we let them.
And we know that our feelings can push us to act in certain ways. If we feel depressed, we will lack in motivation. If we feel sad, we will mope around crying or looking for relief from our sadness by wallowing in self pity. The ultimate action can result in suicide that is directly related to our feelings. The rate of suicide in this country is soaring and that is a scary statistic.
So what do we do about our feelings? How do we control our emotions? Is this even possible? What about those people that always seem to be happy? What is their secret?
I think I know. We can will ourselves to be happy. We can reverse the emotions and the action sequence in our lives. The will is the power of conscious deliberate action. It is the decision to go in a particular direction. It is the choice to do a particular thing.
When we will ourselves to do something, our emotions follow our action. It is just reversing the process. Instead of responding to emotions, we make emotions respond to our actions. We push in a particular direction and the emotions will follow.
I know this sounds simple. It is more complex than this simple recipe. But we can learn the practice of action followed by emotion rather than emotion followed by action.
Practice, practice, practice. Getting up in the morning, giving God praise for allowing you another day to be vertical and breathing. Next, plan your positive actions for the day. Moving through the motions of positive actions will keep the negative emotions at bay and the positive feelings of accomplishments and happiness will come.
When my husband died I had to make a decision. I knew he was not coming back. I knew he was in God’s hands. I knew that God had a plan for me. I had to will myself to accept that and get up each morning with thanksgiving in my heart and a plan to serve God. For the most part, I have kept that going. I slip every so often. But mostly I can say my emotions have followed along and I am happy, comforted, and at peace.
Keep the positive actions going and the positive emotions will follow. It is a plan.