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Experience Your Emotions; Don’t Be Led by Them

Jackie M Johnston once asked her audience. “Have you learned to tell the difference between “experiencing your feelings and being led by them”? The answer to this question is very individual and one each of us must ask ourselves. We cannot become holistically whole people if we don’t answer this question with an instant “yes”!

We cannot begin to act and think positively until we have learned to experience and deal with our feelings, without being pulled down by them. Most people are led by their “gut instincts” when making decisions. How people feel about something often dictates whether they do it or not, or enjoy doing it or not. They may even choose not to do something because of how they feel about it.

The issue with this type of reaction is that it is deeply rooted in the emotions and not in logic, although logic and our feelings may lead us to the same conclusion. This is what is meant by “experiencing your feelings” Have you learned to tell the difference between “experiencing your feelings and being led by them? .Experiencing your feelings, enables you to rise above consider your feelings about something, but then logically decide what action to take.

This is particularly important if have an argument with a spouse or teenage child. It is very easy to be led by feelings as the argument becomes more heated. A wise spouse or parent, on recognizing and understanding the increased feelings of frustration and anger welling up inside them, will suggest time out to give each person time and space to think and respond logically rather than emotionally.

Learning to differentiate between our acting on our feelings and understanding how they can help or hinder our actions and our reactions is essential to achieving positive thinking. Negative feelings can hold us hostage to ourselves and to never achieving anything in our life. We don’t feel happy or contented with what we have, so we strive for more. We feel depressed so we isolate ourselves from others or we over eat. We feel angry so we take it out on in our attitudes with our children or our spouse.

As we learn to channel our negative thoughts and feelings into more positive decision-making, we are able to use them to help us choose behaviors but we don’t let them dictate our actions without first challenging them by thinking through alternative options that can affect positively on our lives and the choice we make.

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  1. This is something very useful people need to learn how to understand. It sounds weird… experiencing vs being led by. If I am angry and I recognize I am angry, I might be able to prevent the bad behaviour anger “makes me have” (it’s not anger, it’s myself letting anger control me). I will link people to this article, I need my parents and friends to read them. Lust is another bad one to let ourselves to be led by.

    Letting feelings drive our lives is a very big mistake we all make at some point and we need to let go of them in a few ways so the wrong behaviour stops being such.

  2. I believe women are generally more likely to be led by their feelings than men. I’m female, and quite often, the way I feel about something has a big influence over how I behave or react. Yet when I discuss issues with male friends or my brothers, they seem to be able to approach things in a much more logical way.

    I can relate to your point about being led by emotion when it comes to dealing with my teenage children especially. Even when I make a conscious effort to remain calm in certain discussions, my anger and frustration often surfaces. This is something I definitely need to work on.

  3. I agree with Ruby women seem to be lead more by our emotions than men. Also some men grew up being taught to not show emotions, it would make them look weak. Which makes it even harder for women to communicate with their husband, or boyfriend.

  4. One technique I use especially when I’m feeling stressed is to take a deep breath, at the same time paying full attention to the emotions, embracing and welcoming them and then breath out while imagining letting go… of the breath through the exhale and of all the feelings and thoughts that come with the emotion. This is similar to the Sedona method.

  5. My fiance and I have always stood by the saying “Never go to bed angry”. Whenever we get into a heated disagreement we take at least five minutes of a break from each other to cool down before we come back together to discuss it. We’ll stay up all night if that’s what it takes and believe me it makes all the difference. We can get through anything together because we “experience our feelings” together.

  6. I let my emotions control me way too much, especially the negative ones. I’m still trying to get past that in my life, and I’m getting places, but it’s still a struggle sometimes.

  7. I have never even thought in these terms. Thanks for bringing it to light. I definitely feel like a hostage to my negative emotions at times. I often try to ignore them, as if that is a solution but I know it’s not. I think this way of thinking will help me to allow myself to get over that hostage feeling and really move past them.

  8. Not being led by your emotions can be such a positive thing when you’re in the middle of a conflict. Being able to take that step back and analyse why you are feeling what you’re feeling rather than just rushing headlong into the emotion and going where-ever it takes you can really help you come to the main issue in the conflict. It’s easy to find yourself drawn down into the place where your emotions take hold especially when in a quarrel with a loved one. But that logical introspection can really help calm the waters so you both get yourselves heading in the same direction and resolving the conflict. Though this is of course different from being emotionally detached, which is another problem altogether.

  9. It’s difficult to balance reason with emotion. So often I swing back and forth between giving into them or paying them absolutely no attention at all. I think it’s different for everyone. But finding my personal emotional balance sometimes seems impossible. Sometimes, I think it’s an issue of mind over matter; if I make decisions about my emotions, tell them what they can and can not do, then I should be fine. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. But sometimes I have doubts. I doubt that I am capable of such a thing. When a person’s emotions are in flux, it is difficult to know exactly how to respond and their sense of identity feels forced and corrupted. It is never fun to live in a house divided.

  10. I really like the concept for this blog entry because emotions are something powerful and having the capacity to enjoy them is something different from be led by them. Ultimately we can enjoy life in the most ordinary day to day situations.

  11. I truly feel this is one of the greatest lessons a human being can learn. Being able to experience your emotion, acknowledge it and analyse it, and then step back into the situation with your rational mind in the driving seat would allow us to avoid an enormous amount of miscommunication.

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