Feelings don’t exactly have a good reputation in terms of being accurate, so I know they might be hard to trust.
How can you trust your feelings?
The best place to start (bear with me for 2 seconds) is by understanding a basic tenet of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The idea is that thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all interconnected. These are the three channels your human emotional system uses to communicate with you.
That means: you can’t change one side of that triangle without the others shifting as well.
Ok, now that you know about this basic principle, consider that your thoughts are pretty powerful.
Why are thoughts so powerful?
First, they do carry a lot of weight in our society. What you think is almost unilaterally valued over what you feel. In response to asking a client how they feel, clients regularly tell me what they think. It is automatic.
Not sure you know the difference between thoughts and feelings? Check here.
Second, your thoughts reflect your beliefs and assumptions. They reflect the lens through which you see the world and how you interpret the way people behave toward you.
Remember, beliefs and assumptions are silent. They are like glasses you don’t know you are wearing until something shows up that is contrary to them.
Third, they are pretty much running all the time. If you sit in silence for a minute by yourself, you will start to hear that voice in your head. It is always talking. Those are your thoughts.
To trust your feelings, you need to make sure your thoughts are on point.
Since thoughts are running most of the time, your thoughts are likely influencing your feelings.
Of course, feelings arise beyond your thoughts as well. Plenty.
However, if you are having big feelings coming through, make sure you are checking those thoughts.
Are you perceiving things accurately?
Are you being reasonable in your interpretation of what is happening?
Is this a big response to an outdated program you have running? Not sure what I mean by an outdated program? Look here.
If you are not sure about these questions, ask a trusted friend who is not experiencing big feelings so you can borrow their perspective. Or, a therapist can be really helpful.
Once you have your thoughts on track and you are pretty sure this is not an outdated program, you can trust your feelings.
Just to bring this full circle: why is it important to trust your feelings?
Because feelings are messengers. They are part of your internal GPS, letting you know where to go and what to do or not do.
Download your guide to 5 Basic Emotions and the messages to you, go here.
Once you see how your feelings really are telling you important information, your trust in them will also grow.