If you’re a do-er, like me, you’re probably thinking: Okay feelings are great. Now give me practical tips so I can get work done. Am I right?
Yes, I get it. Some of us were not raised to understand and express our emotions in a proper way (growing up in an Asian household, we do NOT talk about feelings… so I can totally understand)
Yet, it’s crucial to understand our emotions and learn how to manage them properly. In fact, learning about feelings are actually quite practical and useful.
Because your feelings drive your actions, and your actions create the results you want in your life.
Before we continue, I want to note that I’m using emotion & feeling interchangeably here.
Your Feelings Drive Your Actions
Action, inaction, what kind of action. They are the result of you feeling a certain way. If you feel scared, you will not hide or avoid. If you feel sad, you will cry. If you feel motivated, you will do the work. Your feelings dive your actions. It is how we function.
Even when you think you’re taking actions while ignoring your feelings, you’re actually feeling resistant. That’s why it’s so hard for you to move forward.
This is why it’s important to learn about your feelings, and it’s crucial to intentionally choose what you want to feel so you can take the right actions.
Embracing Useful Negative Feelings
Positive feelings are great. Feelings such as feeling excited, motivated, happy, relaxed. We have no problem feeling them.
But what holds us back is we don’t want to feel the negative feelings. Specifically, negative feelings that are useful and helpful for our growth.
We don’t want to feel frustrated, or stressed, or uncertain, or scared. But often, these are the very feelings we need to have as we’re learning and growing. Some people call this growing pain.
3 Useful Emotions That Will Help You Grow
Feeling committed means having the willingness to give your time and energy into something you believe in. It is a desire to stick with a goal, a plan, an idea, until it becomes reality.
Feeling committed does not always feel good. It can feel rigid, harsh, and disciplined. But this feeling drives action. Feeling committed can help you achieve what you want.
How to practice feeling committed:
Intentionally choose to accomplish a goal. Whether it is big or small. Make it a non-negotiable to accomplish it. Have no excuses. Maybe it’s saving $1000 each month, or it’s working out every Saturday morning. Whenever you think about this goal, notice how it feels in your body. Practice feeling this way regularly.
A lot of people think feeling vulnerable means you’re weak. What they mean is feeling vulnerable means you’re exposed.
Dr. Brene Brown describes vulnerability as an “emotional risk, exposure, uncertainty.”
Being vulnerable is putting yourself, your ideas, and your gifts out for others to see, at the risk of not receiving the feedback you desire.
It’s true that there is the risk. But what I’ve found in my business and personal life, is that whenever I put myself in a situation where I felt vulnerable, often what I get back in return is connection and understanding.
Vulnerability means sharing who you actually are, and there’s so much strength in that. As Dr. Brene Brown puts it: “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.”
How to practice feeling vulnerable:
Let yourself be seen. Tell someone how you actually feel. Speak up and address a problem if you need to. Notice how vulnerability feels in your body. Do your fingers go cold? Do you feel a knot in your stomach? Describe the physical sensations in your body, and get more familiar with it.
We can’t talk about vulnerability without also talking about courage.
Everyone wants to feel courageous. Yet, the feeling of courageous doesn’t feel good at all.
Courage is very closely related to fear. Courage means that you are afraid, yet despite that you do it anyways. I have my fair share of experiencing fear and taking the actions to get me to where I am.
Feeling courageous means taking the leap to switch your career path despite the fact that you have to start from ground zero and that people would think weirdly of you.
Feeling courageous means deciding to let your friend know how you actually feel at the risk of losing your friendship.
How to practice feeling courageous:
Do something small that scares you every day. Maybe it’s starting a conversation with the person in front of you at the lineup. Or speaking up in your meeting at work. Practice the courage muscle so you can be more familiar with it, and do more of it in the future.
Feeling committed, vulnerable, and courageous. These are uncomfortable feelings that are useful for us to be familiar with. We need to create more of these feelings to drive the right actions.
These feelings are not easy.
But we can do hard things.
We humans are so much more resilient than we think we are.