Where do feelings come from?

Last week I had a rubbish couple of days. It was nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing specific had happened. I just felt rubbish. I cried a lot. I felt sad. I felt upset. I felt disappointed. There weren’t any huge issues, just some minor niggles that got me feeling a bit unsettled. Living in a global pandemic and finding yourself in unusual living circumstances can do that 🙈

I gave myself some time and space as I knew it would pass. I managed to sleep, eat, drink, exercise, and work. And of course, it passed. After about 24 hours I woke back up and remembered how amazing it is to be alive and how fantastic my life is. 

As I was waking back up to feeling good, something told me to share my experience as a reminder for myself and to support others who might go through similar feelings. So I wrote a post on Facebook. I shared the truth about how I’d been feeling low and that I was glad it was passing like it always does. I reminded anyone reading that if it happens to you it will pass too. I felt calm and peaceful and appreciative and wanted to share that. I shared the post and was feeling so much better. 

And then something interesting happened. 

I started getting phone calls, messages, and comments. All from lovely people concerned about me. Their love and support was very much appreciated and I found myself having numerous conversations where I was reassuring people that I appreciated their concern and I really was OK.

The reactions to my post helped remind me of a really interesting thing and that’s the focus of today’s post.

A number of people read about the negative emotion I had experienced and assumed something really bad must have happened. They wanted to know what was going on and if there was anything they could do to help.

One person who called is a fellow coach and good friend. He had read my post and was concerned something terrible had happened. He was of course relieved that it wasn’t the case and then we chatted about how this was a useful reminder of something we often forget:

How we feel isn’t dependent on our external circumstances

Whilst this doesn’t always work in our favour (such as my example where people assumed something terrible had happened because I felt rubbish), what it does mean is that whatever we have going on in our life, we can choose how we feel. We’re so used to feeling certain emotions because X has happened, and sometimes that feels entirely rational. But in reality we can choose to see things differently.

You might notice this sometimes when two people react very differently to exactly the same situation.

So how can this knowledge help us?

We can choose to notice the positives, even when something doesn’t go quite as we’d hoped.

Maybe something gets cancelled that we were looking forward to. What opportunities does that now give us? Have we got extra time that we can spend doing something we love?

Whilst it may not feel easy in the moment, how we feel comes from inside, not outside. And that’s incredibly powerful.

How would you like to choose to feel today? I’m going to choose to feel excited, loved, appreciated, and valued 🥰