As I was growing up, I learned that it was possible to experience a variety of feelings on a daily basis. Sometimes I would feel happiness and excitement, while at other times I would feel sadness or frustration. I did not know how to understand my feelings; I only knew that I felt something inside. For the most part, my outward circumstances determined my inward feelings. When my circumstances were great, I felt great on the inside. However, if things were lousy on the outside, there was usually sadness on the inside.
I did not understand that my feelings and emotions played an important role in my daily life. I only knew that I tried to keep all of my feelings good. If I had bad feelings or bad emotions, I attempted to get rid of them as quickly as possible in an effort to help the good feelings and good emotions to return.
Several years ago I met a man who became my personal life-coach. He helped me see the need to “get in touch with my feelings.” It was really a difficult experience because I had learned to stuff all of my sad or bad feelings deep inside of me and only allow the happy ones to surface. At that time in my life, it seemed as though the three strongest feelings I had were sorrow, sadness and loneliness. I did not like them at all! In fact, I tried everything I knew to get rid of them so that fun, excitement and enthusiasm would return. But, no matter what I did, sorrow, sadness and loneliness stuck to me like paint to a wall and I did not know how to scrape them off.
After a period of time and some hard work, something incredible happened. I began to realize that those “negative” feelings were not really my enemies at all. They had come into my life to teach me some things that I could not learn any other way. I will never forget the night I actually spoke to sorrow, sadness and loneliness out loud. “I am not going to resist you or fight you any longer. If you want to do something in my heart, then go ahead. Rather than resist you, I am going to receive you.” I don’t know who was more surprised…me or them!
I can honestly say that at that moment something inside of me was released. In my mind I heard sorrow, sadness and loneliness say to me, “We are not your enemies. We have come to help you. We want to scrape away some of the old behaviors, thoughts and heartaches from your past that you have failed to recognize. We can do things inside of you that fun, excitement and enthusiasm will never be able to do. We are different tools to help shape and mold your life. We are your friends.”
In the following weeks, my mind drifted back to things that had happened in my life that had never been resolved and one by one they began to clear up. Over the next months and years, I came to see the value of sorrow, sadness and loneliness. And to think, I had been intentionally keeping them out of my life for years when they really were good friends after all!
You may be wondering what in the world I am trying to say in this Tip. This is my feeble attempt to help you recognize that your emotions and feelings are part of your life for an important purpose. Rather than trying to get rid of them, start receiving them. Ask what it is that they want to do in your heart. I often hear people say that we should not be led by our emotions or our feelings. While I totally agree with that concept, I do not think that we should ignore them either.
We need to understand the purpose that feelings serve in our hearts and minds. To ignore your feelings would be as foolish as ignoring the indicator lights on the dashboard of your car. Those warning lights are there for a purpose. You can be sure they are your friends. They are not there to harm you. They are there to help you!
The next time you have a feeling that you do not necessarily like, let me encourage you to receive it rather than resist it. That specific feeling has come to serve a purpose inside of you to help you, not hurt you. Talk out loud to the feeling. Ask it what it wants to do inside of your heart. As you begin to understand what that purpose is all about, your life will take on new meaning and new direction. It will be so much better. I promise!
Tip: Feelings and emotions are your friends.
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm