Your feelings matter! But do you know why?
You could say because you have a right to be happy, but does that really cover it? You have done many things in life that required hard work and did not make you happy at the time. Why did you make that choice? Was it about future happiness, getting good grades in school, getting a good job, getting well paid? How did you make those choices?
Choices we make
When you start to think about this, you start to see that you learned to make choices you think will serve your life. But how do you know what will serve you? Early on in life your parents and teachers probably told you what would serve your life. As a child, you might have just wanted to play. That was fun and made you happy. Maybe slowly you learned that life was not all about fun. You learned that you had to THINK about your choices instead of following your feelings.
So, that is how you may have become confused about the role of feelings in your life. I know I did. I pushed my feelings away as they were often cumbersome and seemed irrational. It was the start of an ever-widening gap between what I thought was best and what would make me happy. It is a story that does not end well. There is a break-down at the end of that path when I could no longer reconcile what I was doing with how I felt about it.
Making sense of your feelings
Up to that point, nobody ever told me about why my feelings were important other than that it was obviously better to be happy than sad. When I finally hit the wall, it forced me to reconsider and figure out what feelings mean in my life. What I then learned was that my feelings tell me if I am actually doing what serves my life. Feeling good or bad is not very specific when it comes to informing you how you are doing. I found out that I needed to expand my vocabulary if I wanted to express my feelings better.
Identifying your needs
What I then learned was that being able to be more precise in expressing my feelings also helps me to identify what my needs are. My feelings started to make sense to me. They were talking to me about how I was doing for myself. That changed a lot in how I make decisions in my life. Instead of only thinking about what I ‘should’ do I question how my decision will serve my needs in life. Instead of buying what I think I want I buy what I really need. I have found that my inner process can give me clear guidance in my life when I stop to listen and understand what is being said.
How about you?
Have you wondered about your feelings and how to deal with life? Would you like to know more? Participating in a FREE introduction of an hour or an interactive online training may be an easy way for you to get started. This is what I am offering. Please pass it on to others whom you think may benefit from this or bring them along to an online event.
Govert van Ginkel
This article is written by Govert van Ginkel. Govert specializes in Nonviolent and Effective Communication and is active in this field as a trainer, speaker, coach, and mediator. More information about Govert can be found here. The current training offer can be found here
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