As humans, we all feel emotions.
Happy, sad, angry, stress, resentment, excitement, joy, contentment, confusion…all of them.
These one-word labels describing what’s happening in your body have become so mysterious and something we sort of scoff at as “soft.”
I’m here to set the record straight for you and really debunk emotions in a healthy way.
And there’s a huge upside to this.
Your life will get infinitely better.
You’ll still have problems, but you won’t suffer.
Let me explain…
If you want to listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post — Why Emotions Matter (And How To Feel Better).
How To Process Emotions And Feel Better
Why Feelings Matter
First, let’s talk about why feelings matter in the first place.
And they don’t just matter for some people (the “sensitive” people).
If you’re a human being, you experience feelings. Therefore, they matter.
Feelings matter for 4 specific reasons…
Reason 1: Taking ownership of your feelings gives you the control over your life you want.
You need to take ownership of how you feel in order to design your dream life.
This may sound obvious, but if you really take a step back you’ll see that no one takes responsibility for how they feel. Most people blame their circumstances for how they feel.
Here’s what this looks like…
- I’m stressed because my husband and I are fighting.
- I’m upset because my boss yelled at me.
- I’m angry because my flight got canceled.
- I’m mad that my friends backed out of a trip.
- I’m sad that my son isn’t talking to me.
None of this is true. We’re all humans with human brains, which means we all have thoughts that create our feelings.
If you feel a certain way, it means you are thinking a certain thought.
When you blame your circumstances and things outside of you for how you feel, you create a reality where you can’t solve your own problems. You’re giving that circumstance the power over your feelings, which is basically telling you — I can’t feel better until this circumstance changes. So if you think like this day to day, you will never learn how to solve your own problems.
You make it so you’re trapped and stuck. And it’s all a lie. You always have a choice on how you want to feel. In addition, it’s okay to feel difficult emotions. Anger, sadness, and any other negative feelings are OK to feel, you just need to learn how to feel them and work past them.
This doesn’t mean you want to feel good all the time and never deal with emotions that are difficult. You don’t always have to make yourself feel better. It means you stop blaming other people for your feelings. It means YOU take responsibility for how you feel 100% of the time. You give yourself the time and space to feel emotions and work through them.
Most people are afraid of their emotions. They’re also afraid to feel. In fact, we tend to feel overwhelmed by emotions that we don’t want to feel and try to escape strong emotional states out of fear.
When you take ownership of all your emotions, even the bad ones, you will have so much more control over your life.
When you’re not afraid of feeling and you move past judgment and allow yourself to feel all the ways you feel, you’ll have a tremendous breakthrough because you’ll realize you can create and do anything with your life. You’ll no longer be a product of your environment.
You must learn to love your emotions.
One great example is money. I see this a lot when people say money causes them to feel a certain way, especially in regards to debt. Money is a neutral object. It can’t cause you to feel anything. YOU cause you to feel your emotions. You can feel really good, love your money, and still get out of debt. The added shame and feelings aren’t necessary.
Reason 2: Everything you do or don’t do, is because of how you THINK it’ll make you feel.
Every action you take or don’t take is because of how you feel.
Remember, your thoughts cause your feelings and your feelings cause your actions. This is true for everyone. We all have emotions, we just might express them differently.
Some people just want to ignore the feelings and get to the result, but the truth is the feelings are what matter most because whether you take action or not is based on how you feel and what you tell yourself about those feelings.
The end of every experience is an emotion.
So let’s say you are in a relationship and it ends. If you end a relationship, the end of that experience is your emotion. You will end (or stay in) the relationship based on how you think you’ll feel.
- More on toxic and difficult relationships in this podcast.
You will feel a certain way because of what you will make that ending mean.
This is really hard. Most people don’t understand it or believe it.
The worst thing that can ever happen to you is an emotion. When you really understand this it reminds you that when you process your own emotions you’re always going to be balanced internally.
And this is true of the little things, too. When I was going to tell Steve I love him, I hesitated SO much. I coached myself and realized the reason I was hesitating had nothing to do with me loving him. It had to do with my fear of rejection.
- More on How To Coach Yourself Here.
Once I realized I was leaving so much unsaid because I was afraid to feel a feeling and the idea of him not saying it back was not rejection unless I decided it was, which I could but I didn’t have to. I had the awareness and actually changed what I did because of it.
I want you to realize you’re creating fear, rejection, and humiliation. Creating those is optional.
The result is that you’ll go all-in on your life, without letting your feelings stop you.
(Here’s a related post where I talk about Two Emotions I Use To Help Me Feel Better.)
Reason 3: Your emotions are the second half to creating your future from your future.
The first half is your thoughts. Most people focus solely on thoughts (like with affirmations or prayer) without focusing on feelings. If you don’t FEEL like you have a different result, you won’t create it.
When I manifest my future self, it’s not only from the thoughts I write down about what I want that to look like. That’s just part one.
Part two is becoming that person in my feelings. Once I truly feel like I have that result, then I create the result.
For example, being single versus being in a relationship. I created that relationship after I became someone who was aligned with having it. I was already her. It meant completely giving up my previous identity.
Reason 4: When you understand your emotions, you won’t use them as an excuse not to take action.
People tell me all the time they’re not motivated and have so much self-doubt. I say — why are you letting that be a reason not to take action?
I decide what I want, then I get it. And I expect the fear and don’t make it mean slow down, stop, or take a break.
I find that most people misinterpret self-doubt or negative emotion because they don’t understand it. They make it mean that they’re on the wrong path or that they’re not cut out for it, so they should just stop.
If you’re setting really big goals or you want a result that’s different than what you have now, you’re going to feel like an imposter because the space between where you are now and where you want to go is so big. That just means that you’re dreaming big. In fact, it doesn’t mean anything about your ability to create it.
Notice the emotion and learn how to process it so that you don’t make it mean something.
A lot of this has to do with how your brain has evolved.
It’s wired for survival. It’s always going to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and try to be as efficient as possible. This “avoiding pain” sounds nice. And sometimes (like when you’re being chased), it is. But when you’re talking about quitting a job, starting an online business, or going out on another date…it’s not.
The discomfort is simply emotional discomfort that you can process without making it mean you need to change your course of action. The power in this is that when you TRULY get this, nothing will stop you. You will be willing to feel tremendous discomfort to achieve your dreams.
You will be willing to ask for the raise, apply for the new job, end a relationship and start a new one, start the business, lose the weight… ALL OF IT.
I cannot overemphasize the discomfort I felt quitting my jobs and careers, starting a business, having things fail, dating and having failed relationships, and getting a puppy…. ALL OF IT. It’s been worth it. But I’m doing it because I know how to experience negative emotions.
I find that the people who resist understanding emotions, are the ones who live and think small and they don’t create results.
The people who are willing to go all-in and experience negative emotions are the ones who create massive results.
- Processing Negative Emotions (podcast)
- How To Improve Brain Health (blog post)
- Overcoming Self Doubt (free course)
Remember, your thoughts cause your feelings and a feeling is simply a vibration in your body. It’s a physical sensation.
This is different from a sensation.
A sensation goes from body to mind → nausea, cold, hungry, etc.
A feeling goes from mind to body → anxious, afraid, happy, loving.
With your thoughts and feelings, you’ll create your experience of the world, not the other way around.
- Resource: Conquering Anxiety (free course)
My goal for you is to increase your awareness of how you feel. Everything is built on that.
Once you have awareness of your feelings in your body and how you create them, then you can move through them, and decide on purpose to change them. Only then can you move forward and not backward.
I want to give you the steps to bring awareness to how you feel. Through awareness, you’ll actually feel better.
Step 1: Name the Feeling
I want you to get good at identifying what you’re feeling or how you’re feeling in one word. Learn different feelings. You may even lookup a feelings list. It has more than the basic 10 we are taught as kids. Get really, really good at naming feelings. Example: I feel sad.
If I’m ever experiencing a negative emotion or an intense emotion, and I’m not sure what the feeling is, I start with uncomfortable — Ok, this is an uncomfortable feeling. So I know it’s a negative emotion, and then I try to get more specific — Is it fear? Is it shame? Is it doubt? Is it worry? Is it stress?
Step 2: Describe the feeling in detail
I don’t want you to explain why you’re feeling it in this step. Explain the characteristics of the feeling. Is it hot, cold, where do you feel it in your body?
When you do this, you are becoming the watcher and separating yourself from the feelings. This is a powerful exercise.
Simply be in your body with the emotion.
Step 3: ALLOW the feeling
Relax into it. This is how you observe your feelings. You do not resist, avoid, or react to the feeling. You breathe into it and have it going in the background. This doesn’t stop you from feeling them.
Do not escape the feeling (go eat something, go drink something, go spend money, go seek some external source to feel better)
Feelings need to be felt.
Take stress as an example. (Step 1) I’m feeling stress. (Step 2) I feel it in my shoulders, in my neck. It feels hot, it feels tight. (Step 3) Just breathe into. Ok, this is stress, I’m creating stress because I’m creating this story in my head…now what?
Step 4: Approach the feeling with curiosity and compassion (without negative judgment)
Most of us when we experience negative emotion, we approach it negatively. We say — I can’t believe I’m stressed again! I thought I was over this!
Instead what I want you to do is think — I’m feeling stress. That’s so interesting. My brain is creating the feeling of stress. Let me allow it and not react to it.
Once you’ve done these 4 steps, only then do I want you to move on to the next step.
Step 5: Identify the THOUGHT causing the feeling
This is the reason why you’re feeling the feeling. It’s useful to know why, but most people jump to this step too fast, and I want you to make sure you’ve described it in detail and you’ve allowed it before you ever identify the explanation for what’s causing it.
The reason won’t be because of your job, your husband, or your children.
It will be because of a thought in your head.
Then I want you to remind yourself — I’m feeling this emotion because of a sentence in my mind.
It doesn’t mean you run from it, it doesn’t mean you change it. It means you take responsibility for it.
Finally, Step 6: Give yourself a pep talk
Not a pep talk that says — I don’t need to feel doubt, nothing’s gone wrong.
Tell yourself you can do doubt. Say — I can do doubt.
Until you’re willing to experience these negative emotions that keep popping up, you will keep creating experiences that create that doubt or stress, or that negative emotion.
That’s it. That’s all I want you to do. I also don’t want you to try to create new feelings yet. These are just my recommendations, if you need more mental health help, please seek out a professional such as a clinical psychologist.
Everyone comes to me and they want to feel excited, happy, and motivated all the time. But if you ignore the negative emotion in your life and try to create only positive emotion, you won’t be willing to experience the downs (the failures) that it takes to move through it to achieve your goal.
For example, if you’re starting a business and you’ve scheduled on your calendar to work on your business during the week from 5 pm-9 pm and when the time comes on Friday at 5 pm and you’re tired and filled with self-doubt, you’re better off learning how to feel that self-doubt and be with it and do it anyway. Then you’ll still show up for yourself at 5pm and you’ll process the self-doubt and you won’t make it mean stop, slow-down, or take a break.
You wouldn’t miss meeting at work, so don’t miss meetings with yourself, either.
This is true emotional mastery. You’re getting stronger. If you avoid it, you don’t overcome it. You let it determine your action with no awareness. You’ll go back to blaming your circumstances on how you feel.
- Your Brain And Uncertainty (blog post)
- Disagreeing With Family (podcast)
- Scarcity Vs. Abundance (free course)
A Super Power Skill: Learning How To Feel
Learning how to feel is a superpower skill and it’s a skill most people don’t have because they aren’t clear on how to do it or why it matters. But it’s a skill worth getting good at.
It’s not emoting, reacting, or yelling. It doesn’t mean displaying emotion. It’s your ability to feel what you’re feeling.
If you learn how to feel when the self-doubt comes up, you’re not paralyzed by it. You don’t add to it that something has gone wrong, which creates anxiety on top of it.
You just look within and see that it’s just a negative emotion. Nothing more.
When You Learn How To Process Emotion, You Will Feel Better
Learning how to process emotions is a skill unique to humans. And it’s one that allows you to feel better.
Through the awareness of your emotions, you’ll separate yourself from them.
You can watch your emotions. Describe them. Be with them. Process them. You can decide on purpose whether to keep creating them or not. You can do all this without reacting, resisting, or avoiding.
Then, you’ll realize it’s not so bad. This emotion you’ve been avoiding for so long is just an uncomfortable vibration in your body.
Let’s say you want to lose 50lbs this year. You tell yourself you’ve never done it before. You’ve failed so many times. The thought of this brings up so many negative experiences. I want you to go there and feel the fear and be with the fear. Decide that you’re going to try to lose these 50lbs if it takes you your entire life. And you’re going to for you and you’re going to love yourself along the way.
A Final Note!
Most people are hiding from their emotions that THEY’RE creating that aren’t even that big of a deal.
Remember, your thoughts create your entire world. Your thoughts do this by first creating your feelings and then your feelings will be why you do or don’t do something.
Trust your feelings no matter what they are, and trust yourself.
If your goals are stretching you, you’re going to have some doubt and imposter syndrome. You’re going to have discomfort and if you learn how to create awareness around your feelings you won’t let it stop you!
Up Next, watch the YouTube video…