Emotions are the centerpiece of my work – or in other words my passion. As technology and anonymity grow, emotions will play an increasingly important role. In the future, the quality of human encounters will heavily depend on our ability to classify and handle our emotions in a benefical and positive manner.
Feelings and emotions can support social cohesion, they foster empathy and create connections. But if we misinterpret them or use their energy in the wrong way, we might get stuck, stubborn and past-oriented.
Feelings contain important clues. In order to use these hints in a beneficial way, we must be aware of their origin and direct their energy appropriately.
Imagine your feelings would be like people who simply appear in your life in different situations and would like to give you an advice. How much would you trust someone you don’t know and who just “came along”? Who didn’t even introduce him- or herself to you? And of whom you question the purpose of the advice?
Sometimes we do the same with our feelings. They appear, “grab” us and even before we know what is happening, we believe the stories they tell us and jump on that emotional train – which doesn’t always take us to a pleasant destination.
What can you do to make your feelings a supporting energy and to recognize the clues they bring along?
- What is your name and what do you want? Greet them and take your time to get to know them. Do you know your feelings? Can you recognize, accept and name them? Just try to become aware of your feelings in the course of one day. What do you feel? Make sure that you name your feeling in the moment – and not your behaviour! “I also want to state my case” becomes “I feel ignored” or “I want to get out of here” becomes “I am afraid”. You can also try to recognize where the feeling manifests in your body. What happens e.g. in your body when you feel ignored? Recognizing and accepting your feelings is the first step in using them wisely. How diverse is your emotional vocabulary? Do you have the right name for every feeling?
- Why are you here? Show deeper interst in your feelings. Every feeling has an intention. A very common one is to create or maintain your well-being. This insight will perhaps help you to take a more interested look at feelings that seem to be unpleasant in the first place.
- Where do you come from? Stay curious and open. Where does the feeling originate? Can you recognize patterns? Do you see similarities in the siutations that trigger the same feelings? What can you learn about yourself, for example, if you feel anger when being interrupted? You may have learned as a child that it is rude to interrupt others. This can easily lead to the conviction that anyone who interrupts is rude (at least there is a good chance that you will interpret the other person’s behaviour that way). In fact, your feeling only tells something about you, what you think about interrupting. But nothing about why the other person behaved like that. (Did you know that in some cultures interrupting your conversation partner shows you are interested in the topic?)
“The behaviour of another person towards me always tells his or her story, not mine. And the way I react to it, the feeling that this behaviour triggers in me, always telly my story and never his or hers”. Safi Nidiaye
So feelings contain important hints – they tell us about our paradigms, beliefs or learned patterns. This can help us to recognize and slowly dissolve destructive and not conducive patterns of thought and behaviour (be patient and nice to yourself – this usually takes a while ;-)).
And here is the difference to intuition:
While most feelings are caused by our inner reaction to external stimuli (situations, behaviour etc.), i.e. are created and stirred up by our conditioned mind, intuition appears without any recognizable trigger. It is this “I-do-not-know-where-it-comes-from-phenomenon” and it feels like peaceful certainty. It does not stress you up nor does it have an “against-nature”. It calms you down. So if you feel in any way triggered or emotionally activated, it’s not intuition, it’s a feeling.
To be able to use both energies positively, think of your feelings as valuable hints to grow personally and of your intuition, if you are gifted by it, as a valuable indicator.