Think or Feel?

“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls” ~ Carl Jung

“Perhaps. The problem is. You overthink too much. And you don’t allow yourself to feel what your heart wants to feel.” ~r.m. drake

These two quotes showed up this week, one right after the other. Talk about the universe smacking you in the head with an idea, with a way to help you put your thoughts into words. Talk about the universe knowing what you need and giving it to you, if you pay attention.

How often do we as humans think about things and ignore how we feel about them? Overthinking something keeps us in our mind, our intellect and our ego and does not allow us to move into our soul; collective or personal. When we stay in our ego and our intellect, we limit our possibilities, we limit ideas and creativity and we stay stuck. We keep rehashing the same thing, it may be a different circumstance, but our reaction to it, our pattern of behavior is the same. We tend not to understand why we aren’t really moving forward and that is because our pattern of thinking, our attitude, our belief system is the same. We think , “these thoughts (attitudes, beliefs) have worked for us to this point.” Have they really? Perhaps they have allowed us to work hard, to attain a level of success we enjoy, attain a status. Perhaps these thoughts, attitudes and beliefs have kept us safe, not take a lot of risks.

But what is life without risk? What is living without trying new things and learning from them? And what is life without understanding our feelings, our soul and learning to grow and adapt, creating new patterns and new beliefs? It, for me, would be predictable and boring and I lived it for a long time.

I was always emotional, allowing my feelings to dictate my response to situations. I didn’t know how to harness that, and learn from it to make change. I overthought everything, I rehashed things over and over trying to create the outcome I wanted. I was always stuck on the outcome I wanted and worked to control everything to get to that outcome. I did that at work, I did that personally. I thought my patterns of behavior and my attitudes, beliefs supported the outcome I wanted. I never thought about it from the perspective that there could be better outcomes than what I thought, therefore my beliefs and all could be holding me back.

And I thought all of the time. I didn’t allow myself to list to my feelings, I allowed my feelings to dictate my mood, my reaction, but didn’t let them guide me to change. They were a reaction to my thinking, versus my guidance to think differently. Being guided my our feelings and allowing ourselves to understand what we truly feel not what we think we should feel, changing our thoughts to create the feelings we truly want, and thus breaking patterns of behavior is something I have learned through my healing journey.

My oldest brother passed away almost 18 years ago. It was a shock to all of us, and some of the darkest days ever. I jumped to action when it happened. I spent time with my sister-in-law and their children, I spent time with my parents. I created a scholarship fund, I handled my brother’s benefits, and sent out thank you notes to the 100’s of people who helped us along the way. I spent zero time dealing with my feelings. Being busy and worrying about everyone else allowed me to ignore my feelings, ignore the void I felt, the guilt I felt, ignore all feelings. I spent almost a full year in my head focused on helping everyone else and not looking at what I was feeling or processing.

That grief stayed stuck, it stayed right where it was. Around the first anniversary of his death, I hit a wall. I couldn’t ignore my feelings anymore. I broke down often, I hid my tears from most, but I was physically falling apart. I was so afraid to feel because I thought I would never stop. I was afraid to let those flood gates open and let out all of the grief, pain, shame, guilt.

When I finally started to let these feelings come to the surface, I could finally begin to heal them. What was the guilt about? What was the shame about? Why was I feeling these things in the wake of my big brother’s death. As I began to understand them, I could let them go. I felt guilt because perhaps it should have been me who died. Me, without children or a spouse who would have to mourn me, it would be easier. Me, not my parents firstborn so it would be easier. Me who didn’t seem to be all that important in the world, it would be easier. Shame, because of all I felt. Shame, because perhaps me not being good enough caused this to happen to me (it didn’t happen to me, but of course I was so in my ego, that’s a thought I had).

Once I began to process my feelings, I began to heal them. Once I began to understand what I was feeling, I could change it, change the thoughts that created the feelings. Not only did that help me heal this great wound, but it also allowed me to better understand myself and what thought patterns I wanted to change.

You must feel things to heal things. You must feel things to understand yourself better and thus change what may be getting in your way. You must feel things and live more in your heart to show compassion and empathy to others and to yourself. Allowing those feelings, no matter what they are, allows us to find deeper meanings, create deeper relationships and bonds, and ultimately live a life that is not rote. Live a life with more purpose and meaning and not a life of work and things to help us runaway from work and ultimately runaway from life.

Getting out of our heads and into our hearts can be a game changer for many of us. Understanding our souls, allowing us to feel and see our attitudes, beliefs and thoughts for what they are and what they can be can create a whole new way of living.

Of course we need to use our mind and our intellect to reason and discern. We need to not use it exclusively and allow our feelings to come to the surface, letting our heart feel what it needs. Letting our heart guide us more. Searching our soul for what truly brings joy, not what we have been told brings joy.

I have been overthinking something lately and not allowing myself to detach from the outcome. Focusing more on my thoughts than my feelings have kept me stuck in the same pattern of behavior. I am choosing to change that and begin to allow my feelings to guide me. I am choosing to detach from what I am trying to control and allow the outcome to just be.

Think or feel? I am choosing to allow my feelings to guide me more.

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