WITI PERSONAL GROWTH
It's All About the Feelings
Everything you do or say or strive for is done in an attempt to create a feeling.
Read that first sentence again – it is an important one.
Your core drive is an emotional not a logical one and it influences how you communicate, what you strive for, and the nature of your relationships. Once you become aware of this fact it can become a life changer – if you remain unaware or only vaguely aware of it you are in for a rough ride. Here’s why.
What Happens When You Don’t Realize That What You Are Ultimately After Is a Feeling?
Here’s what happens when you aren’t clear about the driving force of feelings and are clueless about the specific feeling you are after:
You Can’t Put Your Finger On What You Really Want
Most people, instead of asking themselves, “What feeling am I after?” simply ask themselves the question, “What do I want?” But if you ask the second question without knowing the answer to the first, you miss the key piece of self-knowledge that could ground and guide your choices. So you are left to seek out external signposts as to what you should want or might want such as:
You Are Never Satisfied
If you don’t know what feeling you are after then it is hard to identify the things that will bring you that feeling in a true and lasting way. So you end up chasing symbols such as money and possessions that somehow feel empty when you achieve them. “I’ve got that, now what?” may become a common phrase in your vocabulary.
Your Relationships Suffer
It’s hard to ask someone to help you satisfy your core inner desire to feel a certain way when you don’t know what that is yourself. So your communications with your intimate partners and friends never seem to bring you the satisfaction you are after. For example, you may ask your spouse to take on certain chores you dislike (paying the bills, taking out the trash, etc.) but even when they do so at your request you are left feeling unsatisfied. You never really understand or communicate that what you are really after is not just getting the objective task done, but that “feeling” that your spouse is as committed as you are to making the family work and willing to accept responsibility to make it happen.
How You Can Turn the Tide
It is possible to turn the tide – to connect with your underlying driving desire for a particular feeling or feelings and to find effective ways to create that feeling. There are three steps to the process.
1. Identify The Feeling You Are After And Why It Is Important To You
The first step is to ask yourself the following key question, “What feeling am I really after?” (i.e., “What is it that I most want to feel?”) Is it:
Then ask yourself, “If I truly felt this way, what would be different in my life?”
2. Learn There Are Many Ways To Get There And Find The Ones That Work For You
Once you understand the feeling (or feelings) you are after you have the opportunity to begin to explore the multitude of ways you can create it. Your options open up tremendously. Thus for example, instead of just believing, “I want lots of money” – you may now understand that what you really are after is a feeling of security, or power, or love, or generosity that the money could provide and then you can explore other approaches to generating these same feelings that can work even in the absence of money. Suddenly your satisfaction is not dependent on one or two external symbols (such as money) but on the enduring understanding of the core feeling you are after and the knowledge that there are many ways to create these feelings. With this knowledge you take back control over your own sense of well being.
3. Learn How To Communicate What You Want To Others
Once you understand the feelings you are after you can communicate much more clearly to others what you need from them in your relationship. But it still requires a bit of finesse. Unfortunately, it is not quite as simple as sharing the feeling you are after. Thus, simply saying, “I need you to make me feel loved and appreciated” is not enough because the other person has no way of knowing what specific things they can do to create that feeling in you. We all differ in what sparks our internal feelings so it is incumbent on you to provide the necessary translation in your communications with others. For example, if you say, “I want to feel at peace when I walk in the door to my home” then you must also provide the translation of what that “means” in more concrete terms. You might continue by saying, “And what makes me feel peaceful in my home is “no clutter”, or fresh flowers on the table, or a particular color scheme, or a freshly vacuumed floor etc. And sometimes, if you really dig to the heart of what makes you feel secure it is something not quite as easy to create – for example, “a feeling of equal partnership – that we both want the same things in our lives” or a “smoothly running household where we are both willing and committed partners.” At this level of depth, the ways to create solutions require some work – a necessity to peal away layer after layer by asking again and again, “And what specifically would make you feel that way?” But the good news is that once you know the feeling or feelings you are seeking you at least understand where you are headed – what you are after – and can enlist others to help you in a way that allows you both to learn and share at a deep level.
The Bottom Line
When you come to understand that we are all driven by the need to feel certain feelings, and then uncover those that are the most important to you and the others in your life, you will possess a tool that can transform not only your own life and actions, but the lives of all of those who have the good fortune to come into contact with you.