Think less, feel more

Women meditating overlooking the forest of her emotions

From an early age we’re taught to be analytical. In school, college and beyond, we’re constantly taught ‘critical’ thinking skills and how to think through problems by asking ‘Why?’ over and over again until we get to a root cause. We’re taught to weigh our options with pros and cons until we find the solution that works best. This approach serves us quite well during school, college and even early years of work. But after a few years of work, especially as you begin to climb the corporate ranks, you begin to notice it’s shortcomings. For one, you realize that beyond your analytical skills, relationship building skills are equally as important. Smarts alone don’t solve pressing issues faced by an organization. You need to be able to corral groups of people, each with their own speciality, to work towards a common goal. Your ability to clearly communicate and persuade people becomes a hugely critical skill. Your ability to connect with people at an emotional level resurfaces and you realize its value. Many people do this and do it really well but after many years of ‘success’, they realize something is still missing. They’re successful i.e. they have all the amenities in the World — a nice house, nice car, all the gadgets in the World but still life seems a bit bland. Why is that?

What you’re feeling is an emotion and the answer lies within. You’ve learned to form emotional connections with others to accomplish bold things but you haven’t taken the time to do the same with yourself. While we were told to lean in on critical thinking and analytical skills in our schooling and work years, it was also implied that our personal feelings were noise that had to be ignored and/or conquered.

You were told:

If you don’t feel like doing work, too bad, you need to work hard to make it!

If you don’t feel great today, too bad, don’t be lazy.

If what you’re studying bores you to hell, too bad, tough it out.

This ability to ‘tough it out’ has it’s value but it also has its downfall in that we begin to feel lost at sea because no one told you to honor your feelings. If you were one of the people who did honor your feelings, you were considered weak and someone who ‘gave in’. Then you wondered…how come some of the ‘care free’ friends of yours, those that often did things according to their whim and fancy, sometimes with severe consequences, still did so well in the real world post schooling. In fact, some of them are more ‘successful’ than you. How did that happen? So you reason…”oh, it’s because they’re street smart. They know how to read people, they can anticipate situations and they work hard.” Did you notice that they’re also incredibly in touch with their feelings? Once they realize their mission in life, they follow it with passion and grit, no matter how unknown the road ahead.

So you justify your lack of ‘life satisfaction’ by reflecting that you haven’t found your mission in life yet so you just have to deal with the cards that life dealt you. You say, “When I find out my mission in life, I’ll think about it at that time.” What we weren’t taught in school, is that your mission in life isn’t suddenly going to appear in front of you. You have to work for it. You have to seek it. You have to WANT to live the life of your dreams. You have to want it badly enough to do something about it.

Most of us don’t know what we want out of life. We’ve never paid it enough attention. So first we need to learn to dream! We need to find what our dream life is all about.

When was the last time you spent some quality time with yourself and asked questions like — What are my dreams? What is my purpose in life? If I had all the money in the World, what would I be doing? These are hard questions and it takes time to get to quality answers — sometimes years — but if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. If you really want to live the life of your dreams, the life you see ‘others’ living who’ve ‘made it’, then you need to reverse the equation of how you spend your time. Take some time by yourself and write out the answers to the questions above. Find a quiet place, close your eyes and think about your dream life. What does it look like? What does it include and not include? What does it feel like?

How you spend your time has a major impact on discovering your dreams and turning them into reality. While we imagine and dream, only our actions in this moment, the present moment, will determine the outcome. So take account of how you spend your time. Do you spend time adding energy in your body i.e. exercise, healthy eating, cultivating healthy emotions, pursuing your passions and pondering unanswered questions? OR Do you spend time with frivolous activities, eating junk and constantly diving into negative emotions that suck the life out of you? Be honest with yourself and evaluate how you really spend your time.

If you want to discover your dreams and make them a reality, start by spending more time with yourself. Sit quietly, go on solo hikes, walk, run or meditate. The truth is that your dreams are already known to you. Chances are you’ve come across your true life desires many times but often ignored them as impractical or too out of line with what you’re doing today. Or perhaps they’ve flashed through your ‘imagination’ but struggled to register in your consciousness. Start spending some time with yourself asking the questions above and less time throwing away your precious time on people and things that don’t matter. Eliminate time sucking activities — obsession with news, spam messages and notifications, people that are energy suckers, activities and work that doesn’t bring you energy. Instead, little by little, become an owner of your time once again by directing your energy and time towards people, places and activities that make you happy and bring you even more energy. Therein lies the doorway to success.

As you spend more time with yourself, pay attention to your emotions. Yes, even those emotions you were told to ignore and conquer. Your emotions are the real gateway to your deeper self. Your emotions represent the call of your soul which is often overrun by the demands of the body and the overpowering mind. Pay attention to how you feel around certain people, in specific places and while doing specific activities like your work. When you notice something, take some time to spend with yourself in solitude and ask yourself — why am I feeling what I’m feeling? What is behind this emotion? What is my soul trying to tell me? If I don’t like what I’m feeling then what lesson am I being asked to learn? Therein lies the secret to your greatness.

By paying attention to your emotions, you will give your soul a fighting chance against your mind which has kept you confused and lost. Slowly you’ll begin to ‘feel’ more and ‘think’ less. Thinking i.e. your mind is important in helping you figure out how to bring about the change you desire in your life. But the change you desire, isn’t your thoughts. The change you desire is connected to how you feel and therefore you must dive deep within to discover yourself. Most of us operate the other way around and then wonder why we feel lost. You can’t think your way to your personal greatness. Discover your real self. The deeper you that has been waiting for it’s fuller expression in this life. Only by honoring your deepest self, can you be truly fulfilled in life. Question is — will you honor your feelings? Or will you keep ignoring and ‘conquering’ them like you have so far? Seek to understand your feelings and the higher powers of the universe will reveal your dream life, the life you’ve always wished for. Infinite joy and happiness await you, if only, you will take charge of your destiny and begin to show up as your true self.

Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

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