Keyword: Feelings Management
Take what you are doing right now. As you read, you are making sense of what I am saying. You depend on memories and feelings, sometimes called your knowledge and experience. Your feelings about this post are already formed by now. If what you read appears as a threat to your personal “well-being,” your interest in what I am writing may well head South; Or you might find yourself curious for more
But abandoning this exploration at this point might be an instance of holding on to the past and keeping things nice and familiar. Welcome to the prison of self-imposed limitations.
In this prison of the brain, voices respond to these words as you peer into them and appear to have your best interest at heart. They might actually stoke feelings and thoughts from the past that distract you from what you are reading. We most commonly think of this habit as an inability to concentrate, but it is more than that.
In the rest of our lives the process is often the same. We hear voices inside us from the memories of past feelings. As we respond to the voices, the memories are re-experienced as we simultaneously respond to what is going on around us. The conflux of these inner and outer realities can be stressful and exhausting.
The voices of memories and feelings speak in an authoritarian way and brook little or no feedback. But in this self-imposed prison of limitations, you may one day hear yourself talking to a jail keeper which is the voice inside you. You might say something like, “There you go again; I noticed you want me to fear something I know will never happen to me.” When you say to that voice: “I notice you want…” your life changes. You have just taken one small step away from your habitual thought and feeling sequences and one step for your own humanity. You have gained the ability to look at your life objectively. Congratulations! You have moved out of your past and into your future.
It may seem like the tiniest and most irrelevant observation. But it is the most liberating one you can make.
Takeaway: Manage thoughts and feelings so they don’t manage you.
When you call out that voice, you can identify its intentions. In this case the voice of the inner jail keeper wanted to keep you fearful of the unknown. Now, in the deepest meaning of freedom, you unharness yourself from your habits. You open the opportunity to experience real your best intentions, your infinite and unknown possibilities.
To notice and call out the routines of both the activities of daily living and the routines of thoughts and feelings is the key to breaking free from the past. Do this: Say to those voices in your head things like, “Oh, I remember we were having this conversation yesterday. You are the voice of the feelings from my past. Thank you, I choose the voice of my future.” The more you objectively notice your thoughts and feelings, the more you revel in freedom.
Today’s Blessing: May you notice what you are feeling so you can do what you want with your feelings instead of letting them do what they want with you.
Today’s Action: Hear and acknowledge the voice of your familiar as just a voice in your head.
Conversation Kick-Around: How do you think you can improve at this new skill of catching yourself living in the past?