Emotional Feedback

A couple of months ago I wrote a post entitled Discomfort Is A Call To Action. The post was about those negative feelings we get and what they really mean. I thought this was a really important concept to explore that many people misunderstand. Steve Pavlina has also written a post on this topic, but has developed the idea a bit more.

In his article Life Sucks, Then You Die, Steve talks about some of the same things that I wrote about in my earlier article:

Your human emotions serve as your feedback mechanism on your life’s journey. They’re like the dashboard display on your car. When your dashboard indicates a problem, it means you need to fix something with the car. It doesn’t mean the dashboard is broken.

He takes it a bit further by saying this:

When you’re not enjoying life, that’s a message you need to listen to. Feeling bad about your life doesn’t mean you have emotional problems or that you’re psychologically damaged in some way. Your feedback mechanism is doing its job just fine. You’re supposed to feel bad when your life is out of whack. You just need to interpret the message properly and then take action to correct the situation.

This is a great way to put it. We are built with all these feedback mechanisms that tell us when something isn’t right. We understand what to do when we feel something sharp poking us or something that’s hot enough to burn our skin. We get away from it as quickly as possible. This makes perfect sense. What Steve and I both have been saying is that our emotions offer the same sort of feedback mechanism.

It’s true that when we have these feelings a lot of people say to snap out of it or go see a shrink to get straightened out. Could it be possible that in many cases, we just need to make changes in our lives? Granted, sometimes there will be legitimate emotional or psychological issues that need to be dealt with. In these cases, professional help is probably the best route.

Most of us aren’t sick or unhealthy, though. Our bodies and minds are working correctly and are telling us that we need to take some action. We need to change:

If you feel negatively about your job, change it. If you feel negatively about your relationship, change it. If you feel negatively about your body, change it. If you feel negatively about your financial situation, change it.

This sounds so easy and it is in a lot of ways. It’s usually mostly our minds that are resistant to change. Our situations in life are often just what we make of them. This means that controlling our minds and making decisions and sticking with them is what will cause a change, hopefully a positive one, in our life situations. Steve talks about this a bit in his article:

You’re not powerless to change. In your mind you’re probably making the key actions a lot more complicated than they need to be. It’s pretty amazing how many stuck situations can get unstuck with just a few moments of action.

We have the power to control our lives. It’s easy to get all caught up in circumstances. This leads to paralysis. When you get to this state of habitually negative thinking, it’s very hard to break out of the boredom and depression it causes. But, it’s not impossible. It just takes using your power to make decisions and then taking action based on those decisions.

Steve’s take on what to do when you’re uncertain of what decision to make is interesting:

Getting unstuck is about making simple decisions and taking actions, always moving away from what you don’t want and towards what you want. If you don’t know what you want, then just move away from what you don’t want until you figure it out.

Ever heard people talk about changing for it’s own sake? Changing just to change. It sounds scary, but maybe that’s what necessary in those situations where you can’t seem to find a way out, when you feel trapped. Following Steve’s advice of just moving away from the negative things in order to find something more positive could be the best medicine. You won’t always know what you want, but often it quickly becomes clear what you don’t want. Maybe it’s time to make some fresh new decisions in your life and take some action.

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5 Responses to Emotional Feedback

  1. Jaklang says:

    I understand the feedback mechanisms. But why do we die. Seriously y. I don’t like the idea of staying momentarily. Please don’t put religion into it.

  2. Rainbow says:

    That’s so true. So often we get prescribed pills when all we really need is to take some action in our life. And moving towards something is so much more positive and motivating than moving away from something.

  3. ray says:

    Hi Jaklang. That question is way too deep for me! It’s far too easy to get caught up in worrying about things like that when we can’t possibly know. What people call the “Big Questions” too often are a distraction from all the little things that make our daily lives worth living. Don’t sweat it, man!

  4. ray says:

    Hey Rainbow. I couldn’t agree more. The normal course for any sort of emotional disturbance in our lives is to kill the feeling somehow rather than to find and treat it’s source. Sounds a lot like what we do with physical problems in western society, too, huh? Thanks for commenting!

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