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August 8, 2016

The Difference between being Aware of our Feelings & Understanding Them.

Yanko Peyankov/Unsplash

Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around and all trying to get our attention.

Being aware of our mind as something that is constantly trying to trick us brings up a lot of questions about our feelings.

Feelings are a result of our conscious and subconscious thought patterns, but at the same time, our physical body also creates feelings on a different level. The sum of those two kinds of basic feelings create our overall-feeling.

We all know the situation when we are hungry—all of a sudden our mind starts raging and everyone around us is about to see us totally lose it.

The question is, do we want to create our own experiences or be a ping pong ball that gets tossed around by life?

Don‘t get me wrong, paths are totally fine, we just have to be aware of the consequences. In my yoga classes, when I introduce breathing exercises, I can be sure that there will be at least one student not liking it. “It‘s not my thing, I am here for the workout,“ is something I hear often. This is a feeling I can absolutely relate to, as becoming aware of your own breath can be challenging and scary at times. So why not stay within my comfort zone and do the postures that I already know?

Similarly, we’ve all been a situation when we are planning a night out with our friends. It is not always easy to find the perfect restaurant or club. Some of us have a tendency to make multiple suggestions while others step back and state that they don‘t care.

It can get frustrating when your friends who “don‘t care“ reject options without sharing why. “I just don‘t feel like going to that place.”

How does that help find an alternative when we don‘t know the reason why they are not feeling it?

When we are facing challenges in our relationships, it is essential to have an authentic and respectful way of communicating our feelings.

Imagine yourself and your partner sitting in front of a counselor telling him that you don‘t feel the connection anymore without giving any examples or reasons for your feelings. Unless you articulate why, it will be hard for any other person, even professionals, to figure out what is going on.

I used to be a snowboard instructor for kids and adults. Unfortunately, people get hurt doing this sport and for that reason, instructors need to have basic first-aid skills. The best first-aid education doesn‘t help you if you can‘t communicate with the person who was injured. What I have learned from this is that some people are able to share their sensations and feelings and some are not (yet). I was often surprised by how detailed children were in describing their sensations after falling, while adults were not even able to locate their pain.

Friendships, relationships and business communications are all based on human interaction. There will always be different ideas, values and priorities as long as there is more than one person involved. Only if we are aware of our own feelings and their roots, can we be heard. Otherwise, we might get frustrated and end up with the feeling that nobody understands us.

Feelings come and go, but we can choose what we focus on. We can go with a feeling or we can deny it, there is no right or wrong way to do it. Overthinking and analyzing can harm our intuition, but sometimes intuition is not our best friend.

Our mind has a tendency to care more about the short-term effects of our actions. That‘s why we end up choosing Netflix over yoga class burgers over salads or giving up over trying.

Our analytical mind knows that the long-term results are not worth the short-term benefits, but our feeling tells us to stay on the couch.

Who is the better advisor now?

 

Relephant:

Self-Awareness during Conflict: The Devil is in the Detail.

 

Author: Robert Busch

Image: Yanko Peyankov/Unsplash 

Editor: Emily Bartran; Apprentice Editor: Sarah Gilbert

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Robert Busch