Feelings are not facts!
Feelings Aren’t Facts
One of the ways we become a slave to our stories is by assuming that what we feel is a fact. There is a tendency in all of us to view both what we’re seeing, and as a result feeling, as facts. “That’s just the way it is.” And when we buy that line, we instantly reduce our ability to become aware of how we are coloring our world. When we see what’s going on around us as factual, we become the powerless ones. This develops into complaining about why a particular behavior makes us feel bad, or how we can’t feel good until something outside of our control changes. We see this behavior all the time, especially in others. When our emotions are facts, we are subject to their whims.
In essence, there is little space between what we experience and how we respond because we aren’t recognizing that feelings are simply the result of the story we are telling about the situation at hand. When we recognize that feelings are a function of what we’re thinking, we also realize that we can change our story to change how we feel. When we take things in stride, we move out of a place where we are ruled by our feelings into a place where we are able to use them as indicators of whether our thoughts are serving us. And from there we have a much greater ability to change the stories to serve us, as our feelings will indicate!
This is why we don’t focus on feelings when we ask the second question, "Is this story serving me, in this moment?" When we focus on whether our story is serving us, here and now, we are free to look at our feelings simply as an indicator. We begin to see how the story drives our feelings. Alternatively, we also see how stuck we get when we view feelings as facts. "Well I'm angry and that is that!" This clearly doesn't serve us in this moment!
From this perspective, we recognize that not all stories feel good in the moment. And that is okay. However, they may be serving a greater good and we don't have to be bound to inaction because of them. We can instead use negative feelings as a suggestion to take some authentic action.
In no way does this suggest that all stories should feel good, but they can almost always feel better. We are looking at a process that takes time to internalize and practice. As we become more accomplished at this, we are able to reframe our stories from fear and victimhood to ones that serve us. We may not feel great initially, but we also no longer feel like victims, powerless to change.
When we think of our feelings as indicators, we increase the space between stimulus and response. In realizing that our feelings, especially negative ones, are simply a result of the stories we are telling ourselves, we can begin to understand that changing our stories has the ability to dramatically change how we feel and behave from moment to moment. Recognizing that the story, not the feelings, are the clay, we have the opportunity to mold it and have greater control over our feelings.
As we know, any story can have multiple perspectives. When we realize that we have the ability to tell a story from multiple perspectives, we are immediately on the road to changing our reality. In doing this, we are able to free ourselves from the tyranny of being a powerless victim, living by default and laden with uncomfortable feelings. Instead, we gain agency in our lives to deal with the things that have caused pain and suffering, by reworking our stories into ones that serve us.