If You Want To Master Your Life, Learn To Organize Your Feelings

An emotional crisis is the result of disorganized feeling.

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People who are controlled by their emotions typically have something in common: they tend to only do what feels most comfortable. In other words, their emotions are organized into “feels good” and “feels bad,” not “feels good” or “does good.”

Processing trauma doesn’t feel good but it does good. Procrastinating feels good but it doesn’t do good. The same logic applies to so many things: eating a healthy lunch, heading into the gym for a work out, calling your mother. If you let feelings control your actions, you will never progress in life. You will wonder why you keep circling the same patterns, habits and unhealthy relationships.

This is because you haven’t learned how to organize, or process, how you feel in relation to what you should do and how you need to think.

By organizing your emotions, you are placing them in a context. You are figuring out where they come from, whether or not they serve you, and what they are trying to tell you. You can be conscious of your feelings, but just noticing them isn’t going to help you navigate your life. To do that, you have to be able to recognize them, and then place them, and then oftentimes, use them to your advantage.

Here is how you can begin:

  1. Make a bullet point list of your feelings. If you need to, wake up in the morning and write a list of notes to yourself that describe the various feelings and thoughts that you’re having. It’s okay if some are contradictory. Your list can look like this: “I feel really exhausted and drained today, and I don’t feel like going to work.” Then: “I feel excited about completing that big project, and for my weekend trip coming up. I want to have my work done before then.”

By writing down your feelings and identifying where they come from, whether they serve you, and what you can do about them, you are effectively teaching yourself what’s often referred to as “the wisdom to know the difference” between what you can control and what you cannot. However, all of this can only be so effective unless you also get clear on what your long-term goals are.

Identifying long-term goals is an essential part of organizing your emotions, because without understanding what it is you want in the long-term, you aren’t going to know what’s worth suffering for. You aren’t going to be able to identify what’s an uncomfortable feeling that does good versus an uncomfortable feeling that just doesn’t feel good. When people wonder whether or not they are succeeding in life, they tend to reach for other people’s measurements to grade themselves. By comparison, they deduce whether or not they are doing well, which essentially leaves your success being determined by other people’s. Needless to say, this doesn’t bring fulfillment. Instead, really get clear on what you want for your life. The goals should be social, financial, professional and personal.

If you are acting in accordance with your immediate desires, you will be happy until you realize you’re unfulfilled. If you are acting in accordance with your long-term goals, you may be less comfortable, but it will be worth it. Life is a game of identifying what is worth suffering for.

After your feelings are organized, a lot of the real change in your life will happen because you are integrating feeling with action. You are using your feelings to create change in your life, or on the other hand, you are using important, worthy goals to help you persevere through things that are uncomfortable. In that process, you learn that discomfort is not the enemy.

Organizing your feelings is similar to what patients learn in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), though most people don’t actually seek out that kind of treatment until their symptoms are at the point of being unmanageable or extreme enough to warrant help. That’s a shame, because a lot of the principles can help people before they get to that point. Here’s the basis of it:

  • Identify the problems in your life. The first step is to recognize what’s wrong, and what’s bothering you so deeply. Without this, no progress can be made.

This is, of course, a very simplified version of what happens in CBT, but the point is that it ultimately assists you in organizing your feelings, identifying their sources, and either correcting or using those impulses to your advantage. People who thrive in life are not controlled by their feelings, but nor do they suppress or ignore them. Our emotions are a signaling system designed to communicate to us what we really need and want. We are no better for not being able to listen to them, but at the same time, we’ll be just as stuck if we let them control everything without analysis or intervention.

Written by

Writer. For my books and mentoring sessions, visit www.briannawiest.com, or reach me here: info@briannawiest.com.

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