How to Stop Giving Your Power Away By Taking Control of Your Feelings and Emotions
“Feelings are not facts!”
This is what one of my favorite business mentors, Myleik Teele, repeats often to the listeners of her podcast MY Taught You. Although I agree with a lot of what she has shared over the years, this particular proclamation I could not. Not ever.
Whenever she would say it, I would suck my teeth (mainly because of my admiration for her, I want to agree with EVERYTHING she says but my intuition always tells me: “not on this”).
The author of Conversations With God, Neale Donald Walsch, agrees with me. In his controversial but wildly popular books, he proclaims that “feeling is the language of the soul.”
I believe him (not because he said it but because it confirmed what I had always believed). He also said that “if you want to know what’s true for you about something, look to how you’re feeling about it.”
So why the two differences in opinion on our feelings, I wondered. It could be that both Myleik and Neale have two totally different meanings of the word “feeling” and that might be where the issue lies. This is not to say that one of them is right and the other is wrong. What it could mean is that depending on how each of them defines “feelings,” the other’s statement could not be true for who they are.
When deciding to write this blog post, what I aimed to go into a little deeper was, whether our feelings are “the language of our soul” or they are “not facts,” how can they impact our ability to tap into our personal power to manifest the life we want to live, if at all?
I think the best way to figure that out is to first get a clear definition on what feelings are and what they are not.
WHAT ARE FEELINGS? WELL, THEY ARE NOT YOUR EMOTIONS.
What we’ve been taught over the years is not to trust our feelings, that they can be misleading. I think the issue is that people confuse feelings for their emotions. So, it’s important to understand the difference between the two.
I like the Best Brain Possible’s definition of feelings. It says that “feelings are mental experiences of body states, which arise as the brain interprets emotions, themselves physical states arising from the body’s responses to external stimuli. (The order of such event is: I am threatened, feel fear and experience horror).”
Plainly put: feelings are a mental experience, emotions are a bodily experience.
Emotions, on the other hand, are “a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.”
What’s important to note here is that emotions are “instinctive” meaning that they are deeply embedded into our DNA – from way back when we had to use them to physically survive (ya know, back when the life span was 20 years).
So, when someone says “oh, she has no control over her emotions.” It could very well be true because not many of us know how to control the deeply instinctive parts of ourselves. When you are threatened, it is very tough to tell yourself not to feel fearful – an emotion related to our bodily experience of feeling threatened.
“Understanding the difference between the two can help you change unhealthy behaviors” and use your feelings to tap into your own personal power. When you realize that “feelings” is what happens AFTER you’ve experienced an emotion AND that it is a mental experience, you can control your mental experience of a circumstance.
For example, let’s say your home was burglarized (which happened to me in my old apartment). The initial bodily emotion I felt was fear (that they might still be there). Then, I panicked (feeling) and grabbed a knife from my kitchen drawer. Although it’s perfectly fine to try and protect yourself with a knife (wtf was I thinking?!), the panic caused me to forget my current address when I called to report the burglary to the police. I also experienced anger and then felt bitterness upon learning that the burglars had also taken the jewelry that I had gotten from grandmother who has since passed on.
Another example could be the fear people feel when they want to leave their jobs to explore entrepreneurship full-time. They let worry set in instead of choosing to feel calm, thrill or confidence in their situation so they talk themselves out of it.
When people experience anger and sadness after a breakup or divorce, they may choose to feel bitterness, depression, or discouragement. By knowing the power they have over their feelings, they can choose, instead, to feel relieved, calm and trusting of their future.
That’s the power in knowing the difference between your emotions and your feelings. You have a CHOICE when it comes to your feelings. You get to choose how you FEEL about an experience that your body has.
Below is a common list of emotions along with some common accompanying feelings:
TAPPING INTO MY OWN PERSONAL POWER BY KNOWING I CONTROL MY FEELINGS
I read all three books of Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch not too long and those books changed the trajectory of my life. They helped me to not only understand that I have power over my life but one of the best tools to tap into that power is understanding that I also have control over my feelings, which we tend to let determine our experiences.
All of life is a collection of experiences. Our emotions are a result of our experiences. Our feelings are a decision we’ve made, consciously or subconsciously, towards our emotions. So, I believe that our feelings technically govern some small part of our life’s experience.
I knew that if I could control my feelings then I could control the illusion of the outcome of my experience. So, I chose to decide how I feel about a thing. I’ve applied this theory to every area of my life: in my relationship, in my career, familial relationships, spiritual journey.
USE YOUR FEELINGS TO TAP INTO YOUR OWN PERSONAL POWER
“Being able to clearly identify how we are feeling has been shown to reduce the intensity of an experience because it re-engages our rational mind.”
Many times, we let our emotions get to us by attaching debilitating feelings to them. When we are tense, we get overwhelmed, stressed out and cranky. When we are fatigued, we get lethargic and weary. When we are annoyed, we get disgruntled and frustrated. When we are angry, we get furious and irate.
The next time you feel any of these emotions, I urge you to stop, observe yourself and make the choice to pivot the feeling. Instead of feeling furious when we get angry, try feeling inquisitive. Ask yourself, “what is the root of this anger? Why did I allow this person to make me react in this way?”
When you experience vulnerability, instead of feeling helpless, try to turn that experience into an empowering one for yourself and others.
By choosing to do this with your feelings when your life’s experiences cause you to encounter certain emotions, you will absolutely change the trajectory of your life.
FEELINGS ARE THE LANGUAGE OF THE SOUL
I’d like to close with a little story I found on the internet on how we can control our feelings towards an experience:
Two shoe salesmen travel to a distant island to open a new market for their shoe line. Once they arrive, they canvass the area to evaluate its potential. Shortly thereafter, the first salesman in a very downtrodden mood calls back to the home office and says, “bad news, no one here wears shoes,” and took the next plane home. The other sales person could hardly contain himself and when he called the home office he said, “great news, no one here wears shoes and we have no competition, we better have a lot of product on hand.”
Moral of the story: Both salesmen experienced the same situation. However, one decided to feel discouraged and disappointed while the other chose to feel excited and optimistic about it.
That leads me back to my original ponderings. Are feelings “the language of the soul” or are they “not facts.” I think my conclusion for what is true for me is that they are, indeed, the language of my soul. Knowing that I have power over my feelings means that I get to speak for my soul.
Debbie Hampton of the Best Brain Possible says, “by understanding the difference between and becoming aware of your emotions and feelings, determining which is which and their root causes, and then inserting conscious thought followed by deliberate action, you can choose how you navigate and experience the world. Being able to do this means responding or reacting which can make the difference in a calm or chaotic life.”
She goes on to say, “that by learning the difference and changing your thinking and behavior, that no matter what is going on around you, you can maintain your balance, your sense of peace, purpose, and hope and move forward toward your goals.”
“In the gaps between emotion, feeling, and acting, we all have the power to change and direct our lives for the better. Understanding your emotions and managing your feelings with conscious thinking so they don’t hijack your brain” leads to not only tapping into your own personal power but being able to manifest the life you want because you are able to do so.
One of the best ways to keep up with your feelings towards your emotions is to observe them by writing them down in a journal. If you’re new to journaling or want to get serious about it, JOIN my 21-day Journal Challenge. You’ll receive powerful journal prompts over the next 21 days that lead to developing a healthy relationship with your mind and thinking powerful thoughts. It’s free but most importantly, it’s effective.