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Monday Mornings with Madison

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#13

Know your own feelings. (Part 1)

You cannot change your feelings unless you know what they are. Sometimes we are so overwhelmed by our negative feelings that we cannot even identify them. Try to step back and ask yourself, “What am I really feeling right now?”  “Am I just feeling anger or is there a feeling of fear underlying the anger?”

This is very important because if you only recognize the feeling of anger, you will ask “why am I angry?” Since what you may really be feeling is fear, you will not get the right answer unless you ask, “What am I afraid of?”

Let’s take a look at the emotions that we deal with on an everyday basis and examine the underlying feelings or messages that cause them.

Fear
There are different levels of fear which include: concern, worry, anxiety etc.
The underlying cause of fear is usually the unknown — i.e., when you face a situation that you are not prepared for and / or you don’t know what to expect.

Fear is a natural emotion that we all have.  Most people try to ignore their fears, but this only makes them stronger and deeper. Fear helps us avoid situations which could get us into trouble or danger. The message of fear is that we should either prepare for a situation or do something to change it.

So if you are feeling fearful you need to look at the situation to understand exactly what you are afraid of and then figure out what you can do to either prepare for or change it. Once you have done that, you should have faith that everything will be just fine since you have done all you can. And if things go differently than you planned, you can handle it.

Nervousness
When you feel nervous or impatient it usually means that something is not going the way you think it should or you are looking at things in a negative way. The message you should take from feeling nervous is that you should sit down and create goals and a plan for your life. Why? Because nervousness usually means that you lack clarity in where you are going or confidence that you can get there. Either way you need to sit down and write a vision and a detailed plan of how to get there.

Anger
I don’t need to explain what anger feels like, I’m sure. The feeling of anger usually comes when an important rule or standard that you have has been broken—either by yourself or by someone else. For example, if people you love disappoint you or treat you with disrespect, they have broken your internal rule of how people you love should behave. Sometimes the people who treated you badly will get angry, too, because they have broken their own standards of behavior.

Anger does not help us solve anything. It just stirs up negative emotions and creates feelings of loneliness and loss. When you find yourself getting angry or just stuck in a thought pattern that you know will bring you to anger, you need to change your emotional state immediately.

The best way to do that is to realize that there is a good chance you misinterpreted the situation. The other person may not have meant their words or their actions in the way you interpreted them. Even though your brain says that this time you are 100% certain that they are wrong, ask yourself the following question, “Was there a time in the past that you thought for certain that you knew what the other person meant only to find out later that you had misread the situation?”

Or maybe the reason that you got angry is because you haven’t lived up to your own values and standards, and it is just too painful to see that others see the truth.

EXERCISE OF THE WEEK.
Pay attention to your emotions as you go through your daily activities. At the end of the day write down the three main emotions that you found yourself experiencing during the day. Then try to examine them to see what’s really underlying your feelings. And, what are the messages those underlying feelings are sending you.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK.
“Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.” Audre Lorde

“When progress is looking for a partner, it doesn't turn to those who believe they are only average. It turns instead to those who are forever searching and striving to become the best they possibly can. If we seek the average level we cannot hope to achieve a high level of success. Our only hope is to avoid being a failure.”
A. Lou Vickery (American Business Writer)

QUESTION OF THE WEEK.
Do I know someone that might have had the same experience that I did, and felt a totally different emotion about it? Why?

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