“You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.”
~Pearl S. Buck~
Often times, we will not feel like doing certain things. In addition, we cannot always feel positive. For instance, we may prefer to sit around and stew in our negative feelings over a past hurt, a current situation or just the bitterness we have accumulated over a situation because that is what feels validating. However, we can choose to do something more positive with what we feel instead of giving into our negative side.
There are many things we do not want to do like, getting up in the morning—especially when we did not get a restful night sleep. We do not always want to go to work as we may feel frustrated working in a non-fulfilling occupation that seems like just a dead-end job. We do not always want to face people who hurt us because feeling angry seems easier and safer as it falsely justifies our emotional state.
Recognizing that we have these feelings and validating ourselves is the first step. The second step is taking action toward changing something that is not working for our best good.
Looking at the scenarios above in a more positive light brings us reassurance and peace.
- Going to that job everyday makes us feel empowered as it allows us to take care of ourselves and to work toward a better future for ourselves. Saving our money and looking at new ideas that would bring us more fulfilling work in the mean time.
- Facing people who hurt us gives us the freedom to take charge of ourselves and not stay in anger and to release our emotions by communicating our feelings, allowing us to put closure on the situation instead of embracing it for lifetime.
Recently, I had such an opportunity. I had a brief, unfortunate history with a woman who has led to a negative overall experience. She has greatly influenced me in a negative way that has affected my feelings for her in a destructive and damaging way. In other words, I prefer to not even confront this person, let alone, be friends. Instead of throwing my hands up and just walking away, I chose to confront it head on. I decided to stop by for a friendly visit. This triggered a positive reaction in them. In other words, I felt the negativity toward her for the way she has overall affected me which has caused me to feel how I feel. However, in spite of the feelings I have, I chose to face her and my feelings and do what I felt was right for me. Overall, I am glad I did. Visiting may not take away all the prior feelings I had but it certainly empowered me by allowing me to feel in charge of myself as well as releasing the pent-up negativity I held inside. So now, moving forward, I feel in control of the situation and I can also feel like I did the right thing in spite of how I feel.
If you feel paralyzed by your emotions, ask yourself these important questions:
- Do I really want to feel this way?
- Is this feeling holding me down from becoming the best person I can for my own well-being?
- Do the feelings I have serve me and my well-being or are they destructive to my overall well-being?
- What can I do to create a new feeling in place of the old one, instead of waiting for it to change on its own?