Feelings Alert

“Oh bother, I’m feeling upset. I feel unworthy, unloved, unappreciated. It feels like I’m missing out on so many things. I feel as if nothing goes right in my life. It feels like everything is horrible.”

“Oh no! He’s upset! Sound the alarm! We better figure out what’s causing this issue so it can be fixed!”

“First, let’s do an overall scan of his current life-situation, maybe there’s a lack of fulfillment there – a hole that needs filling. Let’s also scan his childhood for early signs and symptoms that might trace back to his current problem. Also, scan his thoughts, what’s he been thinking about lately!? All hands on deck!! This is NOT a drill!!”

Or, I could choose not to have those feelings and bypass the rigmarole.

“I notice I’m feeling bad. Hm. Perhaps I’ll daydream about a scene that I’d enjoy. There I am, feeling triumphant! I’m a winner, praised by those that appreciate me – I feel their love. I did it, I AM worthy, I feel worthy. This worked out great, everything’s great, I feel great!”

My earlier complaints are gone. I feel better. Who cares what my current situation is. Who cares what my childhood was like. Who cares what I was thinking about. I choose to feel something pleasant. Turns out, it doesn’t matter why I felt bad before – logic won’t help. I just need to write-over the unpleasant feelings with better ones.

Any cheap, low-quality plot can manipulate feelings. The reason why I feel a certain way isn’t special. I could’ve been watching a soap-opera and applied its plot to my own life. Feelings are dumb and they’re evoked with dumb story-lines. This is fine, but it means feelings aren’t valuable – they’re a dime a dozen. This also means that whatever inspires a feeling isn’t special either. I can choose to make it special, but that’s a decision I make – it has no control over me.

Well that’s the theory anyway. We’ll see how the previously mentioned experiment goes. The initial results are promising though – so far so good.

Automatic Aggravation

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Daily Beacon.

Dear Rich, if I’m constantly struck by annoyances, how can I deal with this? Sometimes I smell nasty things or I get injured or I find myself surrounded by idiots — how do I get away from this conveyor-belt of aggravation?

If you’re emotionally activated whenever a certain condition arises — energized, hyper-focused, moved to action — then it will keep happening — you’ll be caught in a loop. For instance, if you’re activated by disgust, you’re sure to find something objectionable.

You must face these initially annoying circumstances with dispassion. No anger or frustration, no sadness or despair, just do whatever the situation calls for and move on. And if afterwards, related images or ideas dance through your mind, kick them out, finding something else to focus on.

We should ever be directing our thoughts to entertain items that evoke enthusiasm and amusement rather than exhaustion and dissatisfaction. It is much more preferable to be in a positive loop than a negative one. And so we must practice molding our mind to receive the things we enjoy.

As we watch ourselves, signs of annoyance often appear, and with repetition we can quickly recognize their presence by heightened emotion. Catch it, call it out and shine the light, but be forgiving, gentle, and send it on its way. Then look to fill the void with something lighthearted. In this way dear reader, your habit of annoyance will fade.

Emotional Propellant

We’re urged by impulses into action. Oftentimes, the instigator is anxiety or annoyance. It seems unpleasant to be propelled by negativity, but that’s how it is.

What powers a rocket, but fiery fuel. An undirected blast is merely a destructive explosion, but if focused, a detonation sends a rocket into the desired direction.

When harnessed, unpleasant emotions become a source of propulsion. Why am I angry? Why am I scared? Because that is the fuel for pushing forward.

The problem is not fear or anger, but their proper application. Within a disciplined mind, these forces can be focused into power.

Feelings Juicer

Life seems to be an emotion extractor. By whatever means, life will attempt to get you to feel something. It’ll physically hurt you, it’ll give you things, take them away, abuse you, introduce struggles and triumphs, scare you, delight you, anger and appease you — life will do all sorts of things to incite your emotions.

So whatever actually triggers these emotions, be it another person or thing or some circumstance, is not the true instigator — life is. Life is doing this to you. To get angry at someone or something or some circumstance in particular, is misguided anger — it’s shooting the messenger.

That’s not to say we should direct our emotions towards life itself. Just realizing what’s happening and what’s causing it, will tend to defuse emotions that are too intense to deal with. It may help to think of life as the mischievous host trying to get a rise out of his guests.

Where I Am

Some people enjoy feeling the full range of emotions: joy, sadness, fear, anger, envy, pride, triumph. From my experiences watching TV and movies, I can understand why people enjoy feeling the negative emotions, it’s a fun ride to go through that roller coaster of ups and downs.

But I don’t enjoy feeling the negative emotions outside of TV and movies. I’ve felt them too many times and at too high of an intensity in my own life, I’ve had my fill. So I avoid them, but not in a “bury my head and hope they go away” way. More like a “I can feel however I want” way.

I’ve dedicated a lot of my time and energy towards finding “happiness”. I’ve read some things, meditated, practiced self-awareness and self-control, studied naturally upbeat people, thought about stuff, discussed ideas, and written some things down. So now I think I have a clearer picture of what happiness is.

I’m not saying I’m “happy”, I’m still on that journey. I’m saying that I no longer accept sadness, fear, anger, worry, or any other negative feeling/thought as valid. When they appear, I am fine with ignoring them. And the more they’re ignored, the less they show up. And for cultivating joyful feelings, I do things I enjoy, like writing.

On the scale of despondent-to-delighted, I was brought into life pointed towards the gloomy end of the scale, and after realizing that I can go in the other direction, I’ve reached “neutral”. To speculate what it’ll take to go beyond neutral, probably cultivating a positive and reciprocating relationship with the world.

I tend to feel as if I’m sitting on the sidelines watching, waiting for my abilities to be recognized, and finally called into the game. “Come on son, we need you, get in there and do what you do best!” Okay coach, I’ll try.