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Emotion - Friend or Foe?

Elation, sadness, frustration, anger, contentment, humor; human emotions. Are they your friends, and welcomed and encouraged, or they your enemies, lurking to bring you trouble?

They can be both! Human emotion is not the problem or the answer. It is what it is, and it is definitely a part of the human experience. In my coaching and counseling experience, emotion is wonderful when it is in its place! Emotion enables us to connect with life and other people.

Emotion is our response to our environment. I think that is a key to harnessing the power of human emotion – it functions well as a follower, not a dictator.

When human emotion reigns over action and thinking, look out! Emotion is designed to be the caboose to the train, not the engine. Emotion is a response to thought. I think, I act, and I feel. I cannot usually choose my emotion, but I absolutely can choose my thoughts and actions. When I become focused on my feelings, then I have opened myself for a ride into the clouds, or into the depths and caverns. Feelings and emotions come and go like the seasons. They are not permanent or always trustworthy. They are indicators – a response to my environment, but often not easy to interpret and understand. They can lead me to places that I really don’t want to go.

Emotions are not bad, they are just limited. If I want to live a stable and disciplined life, I must exercise self-control and not allow my feelings to rule me. Feelings make wonderful servants, and horrible masters. Our emotions can serve us and help us connect with other people. I can cry with those who are suffering. I can laugh with those who are celebrating. I can use my anger to motivate me to deal with issues, and I can express my gratitude and love with tears of joy. Passion, excitement, affection, and joy are all wonderful expressions of life!

With that said, direct your life based on intention and choice, not feelings. Let your feelings come and go. Choose your thoughts and actions based on your principles and intention, not on how you feel. Allow your feelings to follow your thoughts. Don’t allow your thoughts to follow your feelings. Act from resolve and commitment, not just from feeling. Link your action to thought that is driven by intention, and make sure your intention is rooted in your principles and values, not your shallow desires.

Feelings are great servants. They allow us to be fully alive and connected with all that is around us. But they are lousy leaders. Express your feelings and let them serve you but keep them in their place. Enjoy the day!!!

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