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What Are Your Feelings Telling You?

By Dr. Margaret Paul
December 31, 2006



Discover the source of your feelings and what your painful feelings are telling you. Learn how attending to your feelings can keep you on track in your life.



emotionsOur feelings are an incredible instant feedback system regarding what is good and right for us and what is bad and wrong for us.

For example, our physically painful feelings let us know that something needs attending to regarding our physical body. If you put your hand on a hot stove, the burning feeling immediately tells you to remove your hand. If you didn't get the pain, you could badly your hand. So the instant pain is vitally important information for your wellbeing.

The same is true of our emotional feelings. Our emotional feelings are triggered by both external and internal experiences.

 

External - Feelings That Result From Life

There are many life situations that can cause both painful and happy feelings. For example, the following are some of the painful or happy feelings we have in response to life.

  • Sorrow - over seeing people suffer
  • Outrage - over seeing injustice
  • Helplessness - over other peoples' choices and the outcome of things
  • Loneliness - when we want to share love and no one is around or those who are around are closed
  • Heartbreak and heartache - when people we care about do not care about themselves or about us
  • Grief - when we lose a loved one or loved ones are harmed
  • Fear - of real and present danger
     
  • Happy - when things are going well financially or in a relationship, or something is funny
  • Relaxed - when on vacation or with close friends or doing something you love
  • Proud - when we do well or someone we care about does well
  • Excited - about doing something special
  • Pleasure - from something that feels physically or emotionally good, such as food, sex, or approval

These are just a few of the many feelings we may have in a day in response to life. We can just enjoy the positive ones, and we need to learn to acknowledge and give ourselves comfort or reach out for comfort when we are experiencing the painful feelings of life, as well as attend to any loving action we need to take on our own behalf. 

 

Internal - Feelings That Result From Our Own Beliefs, Thoughts and Behavior

While you may believe that feelings such as hurt, anger, anxiety or depression are coming from other peoples' behavior or from events, this is not true. We are causing many of our distressing feelings by our own thoughts, beliefs and behavior.

The following painful feelings are just some of the feelings that we cause:

  • Fear - of what might happen
  • Anxiety
  • Depression, deadness
  • Guilt, shame
  • aloneness
  • emptiness
  • Hurt feelings (as opposed to heartache, which we feel when others are unloving
  • Blaming anger
  • Annoyance and irritation
  • Jealousy

When we have these feelings, it is because we are thinking and behaving in ways that are not good for us. Just as the painful burning feeling from your hand on a hot stove is telling you that you are doing something that is harming you, so these painful emotional feelings are telling you that you are off track - off the mark - in your thinking and behavior.

For example, if someone judges you and you feel hurt, it is easy to believe that it is their behavior that is causing your hurt feelings. Yet most of the time, it's your thoughts about their behavior that is hurting you - beliefs such as "I'm not good enough," or "I must have done something wrong" or "I'm not okay." If you didn't have these beliefs and you were not taking the other person's behavior personally, you wouldn't feel hurt. You might feel lonely in being with that person and helpless over his or her behavior. You might feel sorrow at being treated badly, or heartbroken if it is someone very important to you. But your feelings will not be hurt when you do not take another's behavior personally.

If you are feeling hurt, your hurt feelings are telling you something important. They are telling you that you are thinking in ways that are not good for you. They are telling you to pay attention and stop doing what you are doing or stop thinking what you are thinking, because you are harming yourself.

You are also the cause of the most wonderful feelings, such as:

  • Love
  • Compassion
  • Joy
  • Inner Peace

These feelings are the result of thinking and behaving in ways that are in your highest good - that are in alignment with your soul. They are the feelings that come through us from Spirit when our hearts are open.

 

What are our feelings telling us?

Our painful existential (result-of-life) feelings are telling us that we need to comfort ourselves or reach out for comfort. Our existential positive feelings are just to enjoy for as long as they last. The painful inner feelings - the ones we are causing - are telling us to attend to our thoughts, beliefs and actions that are causing our pain so we can stop harming ourselves. Our wonderful inner feelings are telling us that we are definitely on the right track and to keep doing what we are doing and thinking what we are thinking.

Practice Step One of Inner Bonding and learn to pay attention to your feelings. They have so much to tell you!

Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."

Join IBVillage to connect with others and receive compassionate help and support for learning to love yourself.



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