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Taught By Our Emotions

Written by: | Monday, February 4th, 2013

“Emotions give our lives meaning and reason, and the unpleasant ones serve us by hinting at how we can get back on track with life’s truths.” – Mike Dooley

Think about a time you were so happy the only reaction was to scream for joy.

Think about a time when you were so upset you couldn’t see straight.

Both were lessons: do more of what makes you happy; learn from what makes you feel miserable so you can have less of it in life. Seems reasonable. So why don’t we learn this so we don’t repeat the tough times and miss the great times?

Because life comes at us fast – there always seems to be so much to do, pay attention to, focus on or be part of. At this speed, we experience these emotions but don’t ever really learn from them. Here are three ideas to change this:

1. Work to be more present. Slow down and catch yourself in this exact moment. Notice things – how you feel, what you think about, what your senses share with you – just notice. In this noticing comes information that can help you assess this moment, so you can be wiser in how you decide to respond to the next moment.

2. Stay in control. Having a bad day or having some unhappy emotions does not need to set the rest of the day up to be loss. An unhappy, angry or negative emotion can be a meaningful response in the moment (to protect yourself, defend yourself or see something about the world that is important). It doesn’t have to establish your responses for the balance of the day – negatively affecting everyone and everything around you. Think how many times we get angry or upset about something and allow it to destroy the good things in our day. Choose how your respond – it is always your choice.

3. Let others have their emotions. How many times have we said to others, “don’t feel bad,” “don’t feel sad,” “you shouldn’t get angry,” etc.? Emotions are teaching us things – and it is important to experience them to learn. Instead of discouraging a family member or friend from having and (ultimately) learning from the emotion, simply ask, “What is this emotion telling you?” or, “Why do you think you feel this way?” Bringing some light to the reasons behind the emotions empowers emotions to be true life teachers.

Few of us are ever at a positive energy level throughout the entire day; we change emotional responses with events. The events give us information about who we are, what matters to us, what we are passionate about and how we fit into our world.

The events of life are lessons. All emotions can help us appreciate, learn and grow. All can make us wiser so we choose better in the very next moment.

So, in the middle of your next emotional event, try to remind yourself to stop and notice what the emotions are teaching you. Then, regardless of whatever emotions show up, you’ll come away from it wiser, happier and more skilled at living life the way you choose. Remember, life’s too big to play small.

Good news should always be shared – and knowing that your emotions are just life’s teachers is very good news. Please share this with someone who can benefit from it. And contact me to learn how Greatness and Life Coaching, and the new Greatness Zone programs SuperYou! and The Greatness Factor can help you learn how to read your emotions to become wiser about your decisions in life.

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