Emotions Archives

You may have set goals that sounded great when you wrote them down but didn’t realize that you’d actually feel guilty accomplishing them. An example is money. If you were to earn significantly more money than your family and friends, how would you respond when they commiserated about not having enough money to buy the things they wanted, things you could easily afford? Would you keep your mouth shut so no one would be jealous? Would you feel guilty that you have it and they don’t?

Woman Wear Hat On Beach

Or if your goal is to have a leisurely lifestyle on the beach, how would you respond when the people around you talked about how difficult their work life is. Would you feel a bit spoiled? Would you feel you should use your energy to make the world a better place? Would you feel you did’t have the right to lay around on the beach while others suffer? Would you fear being judged for being lazy?

One of my goals is to have 8 weeks of vacation a year. That sounds so luxurious and wonderful. This summer, during a 2-month period, we took 3 week-long vacations. I shared our fun on facebook and someone commented, “What’s up with all the vacations?”

I replied explaining that we had to take all our vacation time during those 2 months and that it was actually a hardship to be gone so much in such a short period of time, trying to balance all our responsibilities. Blah de blah, blah, blah. I felt guilty about taking that much vacation and had no idea I felt that way until I was questioned. There’s little chance I’ll accomplish my goal of having 8 weeks if I felt guilty taking three.

When you first set these goals, they sound so exciting. You may have no clue you’d feel guilty until you’re close to achieving them and start getting that sense. Or you may never know and not understand why you’re not accomplishing them.

One way to become aware of the potential of guilt is to look at people who have already achieved your goal. Do you judge wealthy people enjoying the spa as spoiled and self-centered? That’s a clue you wouldn’t feel comfortable achieving that goal.

If there are certain goals you’ve been trying to attain for a long time and feel like you’re hitting a glass ceiling, look inside and see if the potential for guilty is there. As long as it is, you’ll probably never achieve it. But if you identify the guilt and start working through those feelings, you’ll increase your chance of achieving it.

 

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No More Half-Brained Decisions

How many of us make half-brained decisions?

If you’re someone who makes decisions purely from your head and ignores your emotions or how your body feels as you’re considering your options, you’re making a decision with the left side of your brain and ignoring the right.

If you’re someone who doesn’t take time to gather information or think through your options and instead makes decisions based on how you feel, you’re using the right side of your brain and ignoring left.

Right brain left brainPeople who only use the left side of their brain to make decisions tend to go round and round in their heads trying to figure out which is the best choice. It can be exhausting. And if they ignore how they’re feeling about their options, chances are they’ll end up making a decision that doesn’t really work well for them.

Those who only use the right side of their brain and skip collecting the information they need and skip spending time thinking logically through their options can end up making decisions they later regret after getting more information.

In both these cases, people are making half-brained decisions.

We’ve been give 2 sides to our brain for a reason, and each side has an important role in our decision-making process.

The left brain’s role is to collect the information you need to make a good decision. Then it can logically think about your options.

Your right brain synthesizes the information your left brain collected and communicates it to you through your emotions and feelings in your body.

Both sides are important.

An excellent way to make decisions is to:

  1. Collect the information you need to be informed on what you’re deciding.
  2. Think through the information you’ve collected logically and see what you’re left brain has to say about it.
  3. Then connect with how your body feels and what emotions you’re experiencing as you think through each option.
  4. The option that feels the best in your body and emotions after doing the steps above will be the best choice you can make with the information you currently have.
  5. If none of the options feel right in your body and emotions, you may need more information or more options. Talking through what doesn’t seem right with someone can help clarify things too.

Now, the emotional part can be tricky. And this is why many people are afraid to wade into the emotional territory when making decisions. When we’re in extreme emotions, we don’t make good decisions. Think about the last decision you made when you were really angry at someone you love. I bet you regretted it.

Ideally, when we need to make a decision, we work toward a more neutral place with our emotions before seriously considering our options. And if strong emotions come up, we examine what’s behind those emotions. They’re trying to tell us something. Taking the time to process them before actually making the decision is important so that those strong emotions don’t hijack our decision-making process.

A word about fear. A good decision can still be a scary one. Don’t let fear stop you. It’s normal to feel some fear when we’re trying something new.

Even if you tend to be more left-brained or right-brained, using your whole brain you will make better decisions.

A New Way of Looking at Balance

One way of looking at ourselves is that we are composed of four different aspects:

  1. Physical/Doing
  2. Emotional
  3. Thinking/Planning
  4. Intuitive/Inspiration/Spiritual

I’ve noticed that one cause of stuckness is repeatedly addressing an issue from one of these aspect at the neglect of the rest. I’ve seen people who were afraid to deal with their emotions try over and over again to address emotional and relational issues from their intellect without making much headway.

I’ve also seen myself do the opposite and get stuck in the emotional aspect. One year my husband was working 80 to 90 hours a week. I passionately oppose that lifestyle. It was tearing me up to see him live like that. I knew staying stuck in those intense emotions every day wasn’t helping me nor the situation. So I hired a Byran Katie counselor. With Byran Katie work, you take something highly emotional and work with it with your intellect. This helps you see it more clearly and have a larger perspective. I went from daily aggravation and despair to being able to detach and focus on my own life.

Sometimes, it’s one aspect that we’re neglecting. I’ve gotten all inspired, which led to great planning and emotionally excitement, but then got distracted by another inspired idea and never got around to actually doing anything about the first idea.

Some people will neglect their physical body because they think they should keep going when what they really need is a rest.

Others will try to stay emotionally positive about a situation, when what they really need is to think about what’s causing their negative emotions and do something it.

Each of these four aspects work beautifully together when balanced. If you’re currently stuck in an area of your life, here’s some question you can ask yourself to begin to return to that working balance:

  • Do I need to take better care of my body?
  • Do I need to take action on something?
  • Do I need to bite the bullet and feel difficult emotions in order to work through my current challenge?
  • Do I need to listen to what my emotions are trying to tell me?
  • Am I habitually doing the same things over and over without thinking through whether it’s still working for me?
  • Do I need inspiration?
  • Do I need to develop spiritual trust in the process of life?

It’s like a puzzle. Keep playing with balancing these aspects until you’ve hit that sweet spot and things begin to flow again.

 

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Is It a Problem or an Opportunity to Upgrade?

Whenever problems crop up in my life, I have two choices on how I look at them. The first is as an irritating problem I resent. When I take this stance, I grumble and spend a lot of energy complaining inside and out. I do the least I can get away with to get that dang irritation out of my life.

The problem with this approach, besides spending a lot of time, energy, and emotion on complaining, is that I’m not motivated to do anything more than fix the issue enough to stop it from irritating me. Which means, there’s a good chance I didn’t really solve the issue, and that I can count on it returning at some point.

The other approach I can take is this problem is really an opportunity to upgrade the area of my life that it’s in. With this view, I’m actually excited about what outcome I can create as I work on resolving it. And I’m focused on creating a real solution, not a temporary fix.

An example of this in my life is a heart-breaking situation with my sister. She has an illness that rears it’s ugly head every couple years. When she gets sick, it’s extreme. Twice she’s almost died. Her illness has become a major crisis in my family’s life.

She’ll get severely ill, be brought to the hospital by ambulance, be taken care of until she’s healthy enough to be released. But when she’s released, she’s not healthy enough to be on her own. She needs constant supervision and support. She can be in this state for months. So far, when she’s gotten this sick, my parents have taken care of her. Her care is so taxing that it has totally worn them out.

Her severe episodes of illness are unpredictable. One year, my parents were out of state, and it looked like she was going to get sick again. My family asked me to drop everything and fly out to help her. Fortunately, she was able to pull through that one without our assistance.

When she gets this sick. It’s devastating emotionally for all of us. We spend quite a bit of time supporting her and each other through these crises.

Recently, my sister had one of these episodes. She’s actually in the hospital now. I decided to address this present crisis as an opportunity to upgrade this area of my life. Unfortunately, I can’t heal her, but what I can do is find another option for her care after she’s released from the hospital. Having a family member do this for weeks or months at a time isn’t working.

Another sibling and I decided to team together to work on this. We’ve found a place my sister can go to where she can stay long enough to recover enough to not need 24-hour care. This will be a major upgrade for her and for us. We’ll know she’s getting the care she needs. We can visit and support her, but we’ll no longer need to go through the extreme stress of trying to take care of someone that ill for months at a time.

If I hadn’t had looked at this situation as an opportunity to upgrade, I would have endured it the same way we have in the past rather than looking for ways to actually improve it.

Hopefully, the problems you’re facing aren’t nearly as devastating, but looking at how you can upgrade the problem area of your life can truly raise the quality of your life.

 

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