This isn’t the advice you’re used to receiving.
The world wants you to believe that you should trust yourself, implicitly, and about everything.
The words you hear most often are to listen to your instincts and know that your feelings are valid.
This comes from a well-meaning place, because your gut really is like your “second brain,” and your emotions do need to be validated because they are sometimes trying to signal you to what’s right and wrong in your life.
But the truth is that it gets confusing and misconstrued because people don’t know how to separate their fear from their impulsive responses. They don’t know when thoughts are warning them about impending doom, and when they’re illogical and irrational and need to be dislodged.
The most dangerous thing the world teaches us is to “trust our feelings,” because our feelings are so often untrue. They are sensations that are responding to so many things: our thoughts, our fears, our experiences, our stimuli, our anxieties, other people’s expectations, what we ate or how we moved that day.
So when your thoughts are running away from you, and you’re trying to get to the bottom of your deepest, darkest emotions to unravel and unpack them and try to find an answer, what you need to know first is that feeling something does not make it true.
You can feel that you are worthless, that doesn’t make it true. You can feel that someone dislikes you, that doesn’t make it true. You can feel that you are a genius, that doesn’t make it true. You can feel that you’re falling behind and you’re the least successful person you know, that doesn’t make it true.
You have to be able to separate your feelings from reality, because if you start losing touch with reality, your emotions become reality, and that’s a dangerous place to be.
Listen, you can feel that you’re unattractive and that you’ll never be loved, and end up being very wrong. You can feel that you’re on the right path and look back one day to realize you were absolutely correct. The difference is that you have to let your mind to the governing, and your heart do the guiding.
Your emotions can tell you what you want, but your mind has to tell you how to get it.
Your emotions are always valid, as in they are certainly something you’re experiencing, but they’re not always real, as in reflective of the objective reality of your life.
Sometimes you’re going to find yourself wrestling heavy, hurting emotions that do not have a cause or reason, and it is your insistence that they are trying to inform you of something that keeps them stuck. Sometimes, you’ll have the same feeling, and it’s because major change needs to occur in your life.
Either way, you’re going to have to learn to think clearly about your life. Is anything really wrong? If yes, what? If so, how can I address it?
But the times in your life in which you need a radical, emergency intervention are probably very few and far between. Most of the time, the biggest shifts that need to happen are with your perspective. It’s getting yourself out of this combative state of mind where you’re always mulling over the worst possible scenarios, and back to a place of neutral processing.
Most of the time, the most miraculous changes are learning to be at peace, to do what you can, to relax into your life and your existence.
If you’re someone who struggles with your emotions, you’ll know that that’s no easy task. It will be the hardest battle of your life. It will require a reckoning. It will require the deepest strength you could ever muster. It will force you out of your comfort zone. It will set flames to everything you knew.
And on the other side, you’ll realize: you’re okay, and you always have been. The war was in your head. The pain was in your body. You’re never stuck forever, you’re never in purgatory for long. You only had to know how to reroute your thoughts, or redirect your actions. And once you could let your mind do what it was meant to do — discern — you could figure out when you needed to gear up to change, and settle down to enjoy.