No Mind Left Behind
Don’t get left behind
Let’s dive into a very important tool for navigating our inner world; our emotional GPS system, and it all starts with feelings. Feelings can be difficult, problematic, painful, miserable and downright inconvenient, but they’re vital and they can also feel good too!
Our feelings are our very own internal GPS system. Knowing how to use this GPS system is a game changer for our lives, our health and our world.
Our feelings are the great leveler for us human beings. We differ greatly in where and how we live, but how we manage what is happening inside ourselves is often the untapped riches that can shift life from surviving to thriving….or at least feeling better on a Tuesday morning. We can live on the streets in “resource poor” areas, yet have more contentment than someone “resource rich” and living a life of great external success. We’ve all heard that before, but let’s dive in a little deeper.
Feelings are our inner GPS. Just like playing the childhood game of “warmer warmer…colder colder…” as someone guides you to find something, your feelings operate the same way. Feelings simply and very effectively let us know if our needs are met or not. They’re not good or bad…though they can be messy and inconvenient.
Trouble is that most of us learned young not to trust our feelings. We learned there are “good” feelings and “bad” ones…and we’ll do anything to stay away from those bad ones! So many of us organize our whole life around trying to stay away from them.
Our emotional GPS works just like hunger. Our body let’s us know when we are hungry so we will eat. Our anger, sadness, irritation, worry, grief etc, call let us know that we need something so we will figure out how to get it. The good feelings help us know we are on the right track. Maybe we need safety, space, peace, ease, connection, which are all important human needs. Our feelings are always working very hard for us, communicating to us exactly what we need. Perhaps when we learned the good /bad feeling idea, they got plugged into the wrong sockets, so we don’t trust them or pay attention to them anymore.
It’s as if we’re out at sea and our destination is north. The compass tells us where north is but maybe we feel bad about going north because we got in trouble before for going that direction. Perhaps no one else is going north. Maybe we’ve been told we should be happy heading south or we just completely ignore the compass altogether because it made things worse in the past. So we head south. No wonder we can get lost. When we are heading in the completely wrong direction it can get really complicated very fast.
But we can learn to listen to our GPS by starting small and noticing the simple yes’s and no’s in our experience through the day. That’s where it all starts….
Our YES’s are things that feels good! It can be as simple as “Yes, I love this cup of tea” or ” these pj’s are so comfy they’re a yes” or “the smile from the cashier was a yes.” It doesn’t have to be the lottery!
Our NO’s are something doesn’t feel good. It’s an important flag for something that we do need. We may not know yet what we need, but let’s start listening in. An example of no’s are: “No to the long hours I work,” or “No to these shoes I wear everyday aren’t that comfortable ” or” no to staying up so late to do the dishes” etc.
Paying attention again to our yes’s and no’s is a lot like tuning into a radio station. Many of us are used to dealing with the constant static interference that deafens us to our feelings or good and bad. No wonder we aren’t enjoying the music! Instead let’s pay close attention to the dial and notice anything that moves us towards or away from that clear signal. ” Yes” moves towards the clear signal and ” no” is towards the static.
Have fun with this! Find a place on your phone, or start a list and notice your life through the yes and the no. Get your lists going….be curious….it will start to hone your GPS again. Then we can look at what to do with our yes’s and no’s and get these feelings working for us.