Today’s post was written by Brook Hills member and Small Group Leader, Kristi Kirkland.
I feel tired. I feel hungry. I feel irritated. I feel hurt. I feel frustrated. I feel happy. I feel fine. I feel loved.
Feel, feel, feel. We all feel something. In fact, we probably feel multiple things at the same time. And who among us hasn’t given into our feelings at times and allowed them to overtake every area of life?
If we are going to get anywhere with our feelings, we have to accept what feelings are: a gauge for where we are at with people or situations. Right or wrong. I am mad at my coworker, spouse, parent, friend. I am frustrated at myself for not following through on a commitment. I am happy that I finally completed a big project at work. Feelings reveal our emotional state in regards to life’s circumstances.
Accept that feelings are what they are…a little acknowledgement in this area can go a long way.
And remember that feelings can change in an instant. They are not reliable because life is constantly changing, and as it changes, our feelings about situations and circumstances will naturally change. Feelings are fickle.
But we have to examine our feelings and understand why we are feeling what we are feeling. We cannot move forward until we acknowledge where we are emotionally. We need to process it and accept that we are hurt, frustrated, angry, etc.
But then we have to realize that feelings are not a compass or a road map for life. They certainly let us know where we are, but they cannot guide us to where we want to be. What emotional messes we would be if we allowed feelings to dictate our choices in life.
Society will tell us the opposite. Every romantic movie and love song on the radio revolves around people listening to and following the impulse of their feelings, and of course, it always turns out perfectly. Our self-centered culture constantly screams at us: “Go with your gut!” or “Listen to your heart!” or “Let love be your guide!” Hmmm…what if my heart is in pain, and really wants to hurt someone who has inflicted deep emotional pain in my life? Should I listen to my heart then? And what if my gut tells me to take what is not mine because, in that moment, I really want it and need it and, after all, I deserve it? What if “love” tells me to compromise because after all “we are in love”?
Guts, hearts, and feelings – they are real, they are powerful, and they have an opinion. But they are not trustworthy.
The reality is that every day we do things we don’t feel like doing. And this is a really good thing. Every morning I feel like staying in bed. But every morning I get up because I know that though I may feel like staying in bed, I have a job to do and people who are depending on me to follow through. So I ignore those feelings, and I get out of bed. I don’t “listen to my heart” or “go with my gut.”
This is certainly one of those “easier-said-than-done” things. We are barraged with feelings all the time, and they can easily influence our thoughts and our choices. The point is not to will away our feelings-we will never succeed at that. Feelings are unpredictable. But their effect on us doesn’t have to be unpredictable. Regardless of how we feel about something, we have the ability to do what’s right and counteract those feelings.
We have to accept that we feel what we feel. If we pretend like we don’t feel anything, that will only make us disillusioned and miserable people. Instead we can take the high road, acknowledge what we feel and why, and then press on to do what we know is right, even if we don’t feel like it. Feelings will fail us every time we depend on them to provide guidance they cannot give.