Stop paying attention to how you feel

So here’s the thing – in many ways, I am an average, normal, regular ol’ human. I have good days and bad days. Sometimes I feel on top of the world, and sometimes I feel under it. It always has been and always will be this way.

Part of the work I do as a coach is reminding people that this is true for everyone. Which may sound obvious – but you’d be surprise how many of your problems are caused simply because you don’t accept or understand that it is a fact of life that sometimes you will feel good, and sometimes you won’t. Sometimes it will feel like life is going your way, and sometimes it won’t.

The problems come from us making up all kinds of reasons why life is ‘wrong’ because it doesn’t feel good. If we understand that the lows of life are completely normal and natural (and not at all personal) – we’re fine during the lows. If we misunderstand and think the lows mean something is wrong, we will go off and try to fix or adjust things that aren’t broken, thinking that will fix how we feel.

But none of us gets through life without feeling a wide range of things. All of them perfectly fine to feel, so long as you understand they do not mean anything other than you are a human that feels life.

If you don’t know that though, you’ll start trying to “solve” your feelings – and that is the birthplace of addiction and obsession, of violence toward others, of every argument, of rash decisions or indecisiveness, of isolation, ... and, well, basically all human problems.

Take a moment to consider just how much of your life is based on you either trying to stop or chase certain feelings. Most of us can’t even see how much we let our feelings dictate our lives. But most of the time where we go, what we do, who we interact with, the job we take or career we pursue, what we eat, how much we exercise, the clothes we wear, how much money we spend, how many hours we meditate, or self medicate… almost all of it is so that we can feel or avoid feeling something. We keep ourselves in a box where the walls are the edges of what we want or will allow ourselves to feel. All because we think our feelings mean something important.

If there is one thing I wish I could give every human it would be to help them understand that feelings only, ever mean that you’re having a human experience. Period. Full stop. That’s it. Anything else that gets added on top of that is your mind arbitrarily adding in its own spin.

When you can see that, you are living life in a completely new, freer way. You begin to see that you do not have to bulldoze through life, nor tip toe around it. You are no longer delicate, nor do you need to put up a fight.

It is difficult to overstate how much time, energy and effort you will save yourself in life when you stop trying to manage your feelings. When you let life guide you, not your own thoughts or feelings, you begin to see that underneath the comings and goings of feelings, there is something deeper on offer in life – something that we often miss because we are so obsessed with the ‘superficial’ feelings.

What it will look like on the other side of this understanding will vary for every individual and is ultimately unpredictable, but just a few of the infinite possibilities include:

  • Allowing yourself to do things that you previously thought were scary, because you’re no longer concerned by feeling fear.
  • Clearer focus on the task at hand, rather than being distracted by thoughts about your own well being.
  • The ability to make decisions faster and easier – since you no longer debate with yourself about how you’ll feel on the other side of your choices.
  • Improved results and performance (for anything), because you are free to merely do what needs to be done with a clear mind that is no longer filled up with worry about things like self worth or insecurity.
  • Deeper, richer connections and relationships – because you’re not worried about getting hurt or disappointed.
  •  Dramatic increases of time, because you no longer have to spend so much of it managing your own emotions or questioning your feelings.
  • A profound sense of freedom, as you realize you can just feel your feelings, rather than be run by them or try to control them.

It’s an interesting gig, helping people see this for themselves. We’ve all been lead to believe that our feelings mean something specific, that they contain information about us or life, and so we should pay attention to them. But they don’t, and you shouldn’t. If you’re up for seeing that, I promise it can completely transform the world you walk in.