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March 1, 2024

Increasingly in our culture and society we have begun to prioritise the ‘feeling’ of something as being the determinant or the ultimate in truth.

As a result we become unquestioning slaves to our activated nervous systems, our egos and our belief systems, and avoid all the things that make us ‘feel’ uncomfortable. Of course, this isn’t a problem – until it’s a problem. 

If it means you’re not living a life that matters to you, if you’re avoiding social situations despite wanting more connectedness, if you’re avoiding job interviews despite wanting a better career, if you’re avoiding exposing yourself to differing views and opinions (by shutting others down) despite defining yourself as broad minded or if you’re avoiding taking on that new exercise challenge despite wanting to live a healthier life – you may be prone to being hijacked by feelings.

There is no doubt that intuition and acute perception that generates a ‘feeling of knowing’ is an important and valuable sense to have. The feeling of danger lurking, and the consequent feeling or sense that you must remove yourself from a risk of potential harm. Invaluable.

But emotional dysregulation has the potential to hijack your days, your weeks, years and your relationships. If we allow ourselves to be led around by our feelings all day every day, we might be missing opportunities to challenge ourselves, to unhook ourselves from limiting beliefs, to release ourselves from feeling perpetually wounded by others, to increase our capacity for empathy as well as to encounter huge learning and transformation. 

Our feelings are valid because they represent a very real experience for us and that might even reflect a past trauma. But these feelings may not be accurate in our current experiences and they may be keeping us stuck. 

As adults, we have a responsibility to ourselves, as well as to the people around us, to learn how to regulate our own emotions so we can make choices based on what is justified and in line with our values as well as respect, rather than make choices based on persecutory fears and old hurts.