“Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.”
This is why we can “feel fear and do it anyway.” This is why it’s powerful to move yourself in a new direction (any direction!) when you’re feeling stuck. All too often feeling stuck is accompanied and held firmly in place by other feelings like despair, depression, agitation, irritation, confusion, hopelessness.
I wish I was hypothesizing here, but since I’ve become a scientist of my own life, I’ve noticed this again and again.
Lots of the self-help lit begins with feelings. Freud popularized investigating our feelings and understanding their origin and folks have been building on this idea ever since.
Lay down on this couch and let’s talk about your childhood…
Though sometimes it certainly is helpful to launch an investigation on the origin our feelings (especially those that loop & especially when we have help), we should also remain vigilant in our awareness about the usefulness of this and the outcome.
Experiment with giving primacy to action even when you don’t (but desire to) understand where your stuck-ness and the feelings accompanying it come from.
Remember your super-hero mind powers? They come into play here yet again.
Just as we can use the powers of our minds to dig deeper and deeper ruts when we get stuck in our feelings and our inability to change them at will and allow this (often unconsciously) to lead to habitual action which feels and looks a lot like inaction.
We can also harness the power of our minds (with a bit of conscious effort) to move into actionable spaces, acknowledging our feelings and even our stuck-ness, without giving them the power to keep us in place.
Nudge, nudge, nudge. Insist. De-gum. Close your eyes tight and just start walking. Sure, you might bump into something or fall down. But I find often even that feels better than unrest, boredom, agitation, irritation, depression and confusion.
Bonus: Very often an unintended consequence of many of my just-move-me-forward actions is a better understanding of my feelings. Otherwise known as perspective.
Photo credit: ARMLE