Behaviors & Habits Pt. III: Feelings
Dissecting our identity and how consistent it is, we’ve worked through various forms of expression concerning who we say we are, as well as certain behaviors and habits we exhibit showing who we are. Behaviors and habits are the frequency, intention, and intensity of our feelings, thoughts, and actions.
More specifically, we began to deconstruct actions and thoughts. Actions being what we do and say, while thought, acknowledging what and how we think. The task was to become aware of a particular thought or action. Then, reflect on the why of our action or how of our thought. The final step was to make an adjustment to either of these.
Thought and action interact are a two-way street. Thought can influence action just as well as action can influence thought. Understanding the cross link of these two, the third piece is emotion, or feelings. It completes our full connection of behaviors (action, thought, emotion). Like the action and thought, emotion also can influence, or be influenced by action. Emotion may create thought leading us into an action, or action can create thought leading us to an emotion. emotion can jump thought leading us directly into action. Knowing this bidirectional flow for better understanding and adjustments of your own mood (like the hangry example) and better performance (for sport or work, managing arousal levels).
I have to plug in a disclaimer here. I am a master, though still gaining more knowledge on, thought and action, but I am not one of emotion. This entry took multiple drafts and revisions for me to uncover exactly how I wanted to go about discussing emotion. As I was writing the first versions, I felt inauthentic. I was unclear on what I wanted to say and not articulating efficiently or effectively. And what I have come up with now is not for faking. It is me, accepting where I am in this moment in my journey and where I see myself heading emotionally. This is an ongoing journey, so I can only share, be a guide, and offer support for as far as I have come. This is specific to expressing and acting from emotion, not the logical decisions we make about emotion. There is a slight difference between the two.
I know me, I like to think through something before sharing what is on my mind. It ensures I have structured a statement that makes sense and I have anticipated which ways the conversation could go. More from understanding perspectives of who I am speaking with, than trying to manipulate conversation. But my point here is talking through live with you and sharing at this point in my journey is new for me. Specifically with feelings, like I said I do not have them down. My point is trying to share what I have not conquered and am less confident in is a major hurdle in itself. We talked about it some with how getting me to open is like the pack of pens. So…yeah
Feelings: what and why you feel?
It is easy to know when we feel something. For most of us the emotion overtakes the moment. Emotions carrying a more negative connotation are the ones we are likely to address and the positive ones we let flow. Regardless, we have to identify what the emotion is. Anger? Sadness? Joy? Hope? Until recently I was focused solely on logic, I would identify an emotion and I thought that was enough. After I would identify it, I’d make my best effort to discard it and as time went on I was able to get rid of it faster.
Some of us are bottled up and feel nothing, not even attempting to identify the emotion. There are different things to address there, but we’re bound to implode when we force ourselves to stay contained. And being bottled up, isn’t an all or nothing state. We can be expressive, or open, about some things and shut down on other topics. It happens when we feel the pressure of the moment, because our emotions are compounded by others like frustration, anxiety, or arousal in chronic or acute circumstances. These emotions bury us. We also are not sure how to deal with or express them appropriately. So instead, we ignore them inside until it feels like they are gone.
Maybe you believe you’re comfortable withholding and it is working for you, but as someone attempting to move away from operating like that, it is freeing to feel as if another layer of your authentic self is strong enough to be revealed. Expression of thought and emotion, in raw form, is having belief in our strength and diminishing power we grant to others for judgement. Also, it can be so refreshing to do something that challenges you.
Emotions are triggered by events, we don’t live in a vacuum. Everything occurs with respect to our environment. The people, places, timing, and scenario are areas to begin investigating the emotion we are feeling at a given time. Previously we discussed these ideas as they pertain to action and thought, know it applies to emotion too. Everything around us has an impact. We don’t have to understand all of it, but the major movers are important. Knowing how an event affects us is insightful because we come to know what we are affected by.
I am not recommending you layout all your baggage, or nitpick at every occurrence trying to find your meaning in life, I mean that’s not even me. But I do think leaning into the way we feel can be telling, and at times necessary. It is easy to shy away from areas where you have not focused growth and areas where you can improve, but if growth is the goal, we have to be willing in all aspects. At least testing the waters enough to be sure it isn’t for you.
For me, emotions are fleeting and cannot be where I operate and make decisions from, because it makes me feel inconsistent. I cannot act based on emotion, it is going to consistently change. There is a Hindu quote that sums it up for me, “never make a promise when you’re happy, reply when you’re angry, or make a decision when you’re upset”. We may not have the same intention as we did when the emotion was fueling us. On the receiving end, the same things that make you upset may not get under your skin the next time, this what emotion allows for. I know inconsistencies and change are part of being human, but I feel emotions waver a little too much. My principles and logic are what keep me level, consistent, and guarded.
Though I have a somber view on emotion, I know understanding my own emotions would take me to a deeper level of understanding myself. And I encourage you to do the same. So, I am diving in fully to know what emotion I feel, what events bring me to which emotions, and why. And how to effectively communicate and express said emotions in any scenario with pressures of frustration, anxiety, arousal or, any of the like. We have to create space to respond when we do not understand, or cannot express ourselves. So maybe we cannot evaluate the emotion immediately during the chaos, this is okay at least we were aware. We find a better time to reflect and plan to implement adjustments the next go round. To become more efficient at anything we have to get repetitions in, and I think, these mechanisms of emotion are no different. Maintaining kindness and patience with ourselves will ease the process.
And yeah, we could say there is some hypocrisy in choosing to act from emotion, because of the inconsistencies I mentioned can occur. I guess that may be the theme of emotion, coming from a more hedonic place (motivated to go away from pain and towards pleasure). You can imagine how these inconsistencies can come to light, especially in relationships over time. We can only iron out those inconsistencies by facing them. We cannot address what we are not aware of, so as we grow there will be new things to align identities with, or against. But I think there is an appropriate balance of acting from emotion and not, or at least considering emotionality along with logic.
Knowing the links of emotion, thought, and action are bidirectional, it is vital for me to feel like this last level of myself is conquerable. Having this full access to myself, even though I am not giving it freely to everyone. If I keep avoiding this portion of my growth like I have, I’ll continue being a hypocrite and stunt my progress.
I am not bashing feelings and emotion. Some depict the brain as the villain, others pick the heart, for their own reasons. I hope you understand this is an expression of my sentiments. I know people that operate from emotion and it is effective for who they are how they process the world. I think people in more creative lines of work are more likely to function from here, like artists. We have to know ourselves first, before making that distinction. The ability to tap into both, emotion and logic, is a necessary balance. The balance is knowing your strengths and areas for improvement.
More important is identifying the difference between what we think and what we feel. Knowing what is leading you at any given moment and making sure that is what you want
So, what type of person are you? Do you naturally lean towards logic or emotion? For what reasons, have you considered the other? What does that say about your perspective of the world? What is the frequency, intensity, and intention your emotions overall or about one emotion in particul
ar? The next time you feel an emotion, see if you can identify exactly what it is and where it is coming from? What are the major contributing factors? The people, place, timing, or scenario? Ask yourself why you feel that way? Are you okay with the way you feel? Also make note of the attributes of your other behaviors (action and thought) when considering emotion. Maybe anger, because of someone’s rudeness. Envy, for someone else’s success. Maybe happiness, because of a sunset or walk outside. Also these examples look at how something outside of you can affect your mood, but see how your experiences change when events or behaviors fuel the mood you are already in like music, tv, or Instagram when you are happy, or upset. Remember you may not be aware or able to reflect in the moment, if so, create the time later.
All in all, feelings may be the most stubborn of our being and will not be easily coerced. They are there when they do not match how we intend to feel and when we don’t want to feel at all. Understanding our emotion and the necessary expression is something we all have room to work on. At the most basic level it is having that moment of self-acknowledgement and enough self-respect to speak up when dealing with negative emotions. On the positive end,
it is knowing what it is that makes you happy and learning to motivate yourself. I am learning how critical and freeing it is to work through emotion as we move forward in our growth process. And we’ll comeback to it, so dig in and start questioning yourself.