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The Fault Is Not In Our Feelings, It’s In Understanding If Our Needs Are Being Met Or Not

Our feelings are like the alert system on the dashboard of the car. When the fuel light turns on, you don't switch off the dashboard. You understand that the light points to the fuel tank that's running low and needs to be refilled.

The problem with our feelings is…

Many of us have been told that some feelings are positive, and some negative. The subtext of this is that we believe that it’s not okay to experience the “negative” emotions like sadness, anger, frustration…

This can lead us to believe that the feelings in themselves are the problem.

Let’s reframe that:

The problem isn’t in our feelings. It’s in how we understand and respond to them.

When we see our feelings as complete information in and of themselves, we’re tempted to:
– Resist them
– Distract ourselves
– Intellectualise how we’re feeling

…all in an effort to make them ‘go away’.

Here’s an analogy I’ve found super helpful in reframing how I see them:

Our feelings are like the alert system on the dashboard of the car. When the fuel light turns on, you don’t switch off the dashboard. You understand that the light points somewhere else—towards the fuel tank that’s running low and needs to be refilled.

Our feelings are similar.

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When we feel happy, excited—they’re pointing us towards something that’s working (aka needs being met).

When we feel angry or sad—they are pointing us towards needs that aren’t being met.

Making them go away won’t help—addressing the cause will.

The next time you experience an emotion—pleasant or unpleasant—ask yourself:
1. What could this feeling be pointing me towards?
2. What do I want to do next, now that I know this?

Published here first.

Image source: YouTube/ Pocket Filsm Anamika

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About the Author

ranjithajeurkar

Ranjitha Jeurkar is a facilitator who works with groups and individuals, supporting them with emotional awareness, empathy, conflict resolution and collaborative communication skills. She is a Certified Trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication. You read more...

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