Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Use Your Emotions as Information

Chances are, one of the ways you know you're on the right or the wrong path is how you feel. Are you jittery, anxious? Or calm and serene? Do you snap when irritated, or are you able to brush off a bad day? Our behaviors say so much about our interior emotional landscape, and yet we ignore them so much of the time.

For example, when I was at my last job, I was clenching my teeth at night. I didn't really pay attention to it, however, and just dismissed the dull ache in my jaw each morning. Finally, when I could hardly open my mouth to chew, I realized something was off. And then I started paying attention. I was cranky. I snapped a lot. I cried more than was normal. I felt generally awful, in other words. And yet how long did it take me to do something about it? Longer than I would have liked, that's for sure.

A woman I know who works with horses tells me that they are experts at using emotion as information. They can pick up on the subtle gradations of feeling and energy that people and other animals give off, as well as their own emotions. They are prey animals, and, she says, this means that if they are afraid, they must act upon it.

For horses, it's self-preservation to use emotions as information. For humans, it could work that way too, though we often try to ignore our feelings. Let yourself become aware of what's happening on the feeling rather than the thinking level, and then use that as information upon which to build your next action. Chances are, if you're paying attention, you'll know exactly what you need to do.

1 comment:

erzsebet said...

Also: try not to be cowed by people who insist upon logical explanations for your actions. Feelings don't require logic and intuition isn't composed of predictable circuitry. If something doesn't feel right, it isn't right- even if it can't be encapsulated by neat logic.