How do you really feel?
You can hear the words coming from a person’s mouth but something seems off. What they’re saying does not match the impression they’re giving. Human design is pretty cool in the way that we can just sense dishonesty, confusion, or inaccuracy. We can see beyond words and actions into the heart spaces of other people, God is pretty clever at making us in His image.
It’s awesome that we have this ability, yet, it’s troubling when we experience the dissonance of somebody sharing contrasting information. The conflict between their words and their emotions sends invisible yet obvious messages. He said he didn’t want to talk about her but he indulged in the gossip. She said she’d do me a favor but she clearly dreads it.
People who give off different vibes at the same time rub us the wrong way. They actually get under my skin so, naturally, I avoid these people. There was once a person who I couldn’t stand because everything about him was so contradictory–just made me downright uncomfortable. One day, a friend of mine asked why I was so put-off and keenly said the things that bother us in other people are the things we haven’t resolved within ourselves.
Great. So that meant that I dislike fake people because I’m fake? Or something like that?
It took me over a year to understand what my friend meant.
I’ve known my MBTI type for years; one of the categories tells you whether you respond as a Thinker or a Feeler.
I’m undoubtedly a thinker! This doesn’t mean that I don’t feel things, it just means that my responses to situations are heavily based on my thinking (as opposed to my feeling). For this reason, I will rationalize my choices instead of feeling my way through them.
Logically, this is good. That’s because we always respond to drama, like crying outbursts and fights, with the natural, “what were they thinking?” And we all know that they weren’t thinking, they were only feeling. That’s a drastic example, though. Overly logical people are smart, in logic, sure, but not so much in…well, sentiment.
Once upon a time, I believed that rationalization made me superior (I have to be honest). Emotions were irrational and for weak people. I, personally, would or would not do things because of my thoughts about the situation as I believed emotions were unreliable. I was at the point of depending on my cognition so much that overthinking required very little time. I would think a handful of thoughts in seconds and make a decision that completely ignored any emotional response.
Since I never consulted with sentiment during any circumstance, I was obliviously [and surely] reflecting feelings that contradicted my actions. Ahhh, I was uncomfortable with the guy because I was not confronting my own discomfort, I was looking at buddy when I needed to look at my own internal confusions.
Which means that the question I was asking everyone else should have really been directed inward, like my friend suggested. How do I really feel?
Using thought to make decisions can be smart, yes, but it’s not smart to discount your feelings. Numbness made it easy for me to thoughtfully talk myself into doing stupid things, despite the knot in my stomach. Or for me to thoughtfully talk myself out of doing really awesome things, despite the tug on my heart. I was doing things and saying things that were contradictory to my emotional truth because I couldn’t feel. The beat of my heart was too quiet against the loud traffic of my thoughts.
At this time, crying had become so distant from me that it was all I wanted to do. The tension inside of me was becoming unbearable. Seriously, I couldn’t remember the last time I cried and when one bead of water flowed out of my eye and onto my exercise mat, I took a picture of it. As silly as that sounds, it was a breakthrough for me.
It was time to sit with the emotions that were locked up inside of me. A lot of this new understanding comes also from my new experience as a mother. I know that baby is upset because she’s crying but acting on the issue requires me to use empathy. Hungry, tired, lonely? That’s heart knowledge, and it’s not an oxymoron.
Emotions are actually valuable pieces of information to be considered and they matter just as much as reason. Logic is the vehicle of the story but emotion is the fuel that makes the story come alive. Sometimes the car needs a fixin’ but more often than not, it needs gas. You may think of a great plan for a diet/project/etc. but its fruition requires feeling the urge to start. So, there, emotional people can be superior to logical people in how they move in the moment without hesitation.
Integrating thoughts and feelings is critical. Disclaimer here, if you’re only acting out of emotion it would do you justice to think. But if you’re like me and you think before you feel, I encourage you to pray about a softening of the heart and a quieting of the mind. I have to ask God quite frequently for help with my emotions, with believing them and acting on them.
Because lot of times our minds don’t understand God, but our hearts do. When we stop the overdrive of the mind, we can feel Him. There’s no need to explain a Truth that resides in your being, God lives with us and He’s teaching us how to feel the feel.
Feelings aren’t always fun to confront. You may have to avoid temptation when you listen to your gut reaction. When the drought of numbness ends, your eyes may flood as you realize the truth.
Other times, you will smile at the sun and talk to the plants because you realize the truth. Emotions can lead us to great places. They bring us into song and dance. They inspire our hands to create. They lead us towards love.
Those stomach knots and heart tugs are inner pieces of wisdom that may not seem real because they are not logical. God gave us this illogical design for a reason, though.
Ya feel me?
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
P.S. I thought about starting a blog for a long time before I felt the need to. I feel the need to do many things, I’m still working on lowering the volume on my analytic thoughts and increasing the emotions that spur me into action. If you have any experience with or tips about this same phenomenon, I’d love to hear about it!