Feelings

September 28th, 2007 by Steve Pavlina

Our feelings are a natural response to our thoughts and intentions.  We don’t really choose our feelings directly.  Our feelings are a feedback mechanism.  They indicate whether we’re moving into alignment with our true desires (positive feelings) or out of alignment (negative feelings).

Simply put… we feel good when we’re moving towards what we want, and we feel bad when we’re moving away from what we want.  And that movement is more about thought and intention than it is about action.

Feelings as feedback

The way I deal with negative feelings is to back track them to their source.  That source is found in my thoughts and intentions.  When I ask myself, “What thoughts and intentions are giving rise to these feelings?” I can eventually find the answer.  I can see where I’m out of alignment with what I really want.  Negative feelings reveal that I’m moving away from my true desires instead of towards them, so I do my best to acknowledge and accept my true desires and to align my thoughts with them.

There are a couple different processes I find effective here.  The first is journaling.  I write to clarify my negative feelings and to figure out what thoughts are causing them.  The second process is conversation.  I’ll go to Erin and say, “I’m feeling stressed/angry/disturbed/etc., but I’m not sure why?  Will you help me figure this out?”  Then we sit and talk for a while to get to the bottom of it.

Identifying the source of feelings

Erin and I both have sensitive emotional antennae, so sometimes the feelings we experience aren’t our own.  For example, if a close relative is feeling great anxiety, one or both of us may feel intense negative emotion for no apparent reason.  Once or twice we even made some phone calls to figure out who was worried and to ask them to please stop worrying so loudly. :)

But most of the time my feelings arise from my own thoughts, and either through journaling or conversation, I can track them to the source.  Invariably this reveals I’ve been inadvertently moving away from something I want.  The negative emotions are a way for my true desires to get my attention:  “Hey buddy… remember me?  I’m still here, and I ain’t goin’ anywhere, so you’d better deal with me soon.”

Feelings walkthrough

Suppose I sit down to work one day, and I just can’t seem to get anything going.  I feel no passion for what I’m doing, the work on my plate seems really tedious, and I just don’t feel motivated to do anything.  Maybe I succumb to this pattern for a few days.  Then I feel even worse because I’m not getting anything done.

In such situations I need to call a time-out and track those feelings back to the source.  Eventually I find the unacknowledged desire screaming at me:  “Hey, Steve.  You’re spending way too much time working alone.  You need to get out more.  You need to be around people more, not sitting at your desk all day.”

So I acknowledge that desire and take a stab at coming into better alignment with it.  I think about being around people more, and I notice that just thinking about that feels better.  The next day I grab my laptop and drive down to the Las Vegas Strip to do some blogging there.  Overall I enjoy the day out.  This feels a little better to me, but I can tell I’m still not quite there yet.  There’s still this gnawing feeling of negativity that I’m missing something.

Another round of introspection brings up more revelations:  “Nice try, Steve, but that wasn’t what I meant.  It’s great you got away from your desk, but a single trip to the Strip won’t cut it.  You can do better than that.”

I give it some thought and say to Erin, “Let’s take a trip.  We’ve always talked about going to New York City, and this is a great time of year to do it.  So let’s just go next month.  We’ll find a way to make it work.”  We start planning a trip, and that feels even better.  I’m getting closer, but still no cigar.

Back to the well to hear this:  “Getting warmer, buddy.  It’s great you got away from your desk, but this isn’t just about getting out.  You need to spend more time interacting with people face-to-face.”  So Erin and I begin planning a group meet-up during our New York City trip.  And that feels even better.

Continuing to use feelings as feedback, I keep listening and taking action, noticing what works (positive feelings) and what doesn’t work (negative or neutral feelings).  And the pattern of the true desire begins to emerge:  “Spend more time connecting with people face-to-face and not just online.  Make that a regular part of my life.”

As I keep making changes to bring myself into alignment with my true desires, my baseline emotional state becomes increasingly positive.  I join a second Toastmasters club.  I sign up for a speech contest.  I accept an invitation to do a local workshop.  I invite some friends over.  I start putting together a special mastermind group for a particular goal.  After a week or two of changes, I’m just beaming with positive energy because I’m becoming well aligned with my true desires.

Eventually those negative feelings will return, indicating that yet another desire has surfaced that I must attend to.  Negative feelings are great — they’re an indication that I’m ready to manifest a whole new desire.  As soon as I recognize that, it’s pretty easy to get moving in the right direction, and it feels good to do so.  The universe will literally drop the appropriate opportunities right on my doorstep.  The phone will ring, or a friend will tell me about something at just the right time.  All I have to do is keep saying yes as long as it keeps moving me in the direction of more positive feelings.  Taking these steps is actually very easy because I’m simply following the breadcrumbs to more positive emotional states — it’s resisting the steps that’s hard.

Negative feelings as a call to action

Negative feelings mean you’re going the wrong way.  Your current reality is no longer a match for you, and it’s time to experience something new.  That’s a good thing, so don’t worry when you notice you’re feeling bad.  It just means you want something better or different.  So don’t whine about feeling bad.  Instead go into sleuth mode, and figure out why you’re feeling bad.  It’s because you want something new that you don’t yet have, and at the same time you’re stubbornly resisting what you want by failing to fully align yourself with it.  Don’t ignore your desires, or those negative feelings will only grow stronger and louder until you listen.

Often what traps us in negative emotion is that deep down we know what we want, but we don’t think we can get it.  Sometimes we also don’t feel we deserve it.  So we tell ourselves maybe we shouldn’t want it.  Please don’t do that.  It never works.  You cannot NOT want what you want.  If you want it, you want it.  Trying to deny your desires is only going to piss you off.  You really need to do the exact opposite of that.

Summoning the energy of desire

When you want something, really want it.  Let that delicious feeling of desire permeate your entire being… until you’re almost ready to explode from the energy it creates.  Desire feels good.  This is how you get yourself aligned with what you want.  This is what activates the Law of Attraction to help manifest what you want.  This is also what activates your creativity and summons inspired action to help you get there even faster.

What you want to summon here isn’t exactly a thought, a feeling, or an action.  Some people call it a vibration.  That’s pretty close to what it feels like.  To me it’s a sensation of being charged with positive energy.  Imagine drinking a cocktail made from one part lust, one part ecstasy, and three parts electricity.  That’s roughly what it feels like.

Align yourself with your desires, and get out of the way

The receiving/manifesting part isn’t up to us so much — our part is simply to admit what we really want, to hold that desire, and to move into alignment with it.  You will begin to feel good as soon as you start moving in the right direction, which starts with clarifying exactly what you want and then allowing yourself to want it.

If you’ve been feeling bad lately, recognize that it’s because you want something you don’t currently have.  Want to feel even worse?  Try pretending you don’t really want it, assume you’ll never get it, or imagine you don’t deserve it.  Want to turn it around and feel fantastic?  Step fully and completely into that desire, and bask in the energy it summons.

Feeling bad is a good thing

You’re supposed to feel bad when new desires get activated — at least initially.  That emotional nudge is there to get your attention, so you’ll listen to what you really want and start heading in that direction.

If you’re having trouble getting to the bottom of your negative feelings, even after trying journaling and/or a conversation with a close friend, take advantage of our free discussion forums, and allow other people to help you.  You can always use a made-up handle to disguise your true identity if you’re paranoid that someone might find out you’re human after all.  Tell people what you’re feeling and a little background on your current situation, and ask for help in backtracking it to the source.

This doesn’t have to be an uphill battle.  When you move in the direction of your true desires — not the phony, socially conditioned ones – you will feel good.  It’s also relatively easy.  What makes it difficult is when we resist the notion of wanting what we want.  Instead of resisting our desires, we need to do the exact opposite — embrace them as fully and completely as we can.


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