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Based on Your Feelings, Are You Afraid or Excited?

Feelings Emotions The area of feelings can seem like murky ground. You may be telling yourself you don’t even want to go there. But there is a power and a facility that comes when you can acknowledge what’s going on for you on the inside, and choose your response appropriately.

To start let’s distinguish between “feelings” and “emotions.” The words “feelings” and “emotions” are not interchangeable, although they are being used that way in everyday conversation. Feelings are physical – for example, a pit in your stomach, tightness in your chest, or a sensation of “running cold.”  Emotions are actually just responses to those feelings.

Emotions are interpreted to FEEL good or bad. In reality, they are neither good nor bad, they just are.

“We have thoughts, feelings and emotions, but we are not our thoughts, feelings or emotions.”  

 Frances Vaughn

One of the best ways to grow as a person, and as a leader, is to be aware of and understand your emotional responses and know that emotions are part of a process, they are not automatic.

People usually react to their emotions instead. They judge their emotions as “good” or “bad” rather than listening to the emotion and figuring out what it’s trying to tell them.

Emotions are related to how we interpret events and situations. What’s interesting is studies have shown that the same biological reaction is interpreted to be “fear” or “excitement” depending on the individual and the situation they find themselves in.

If you think about it, you could either label a situation, like speaking in front of a group, as exciting or terrifying – it’s all up to you!

Look at emotions as tools to help you understand what is going on for you in any particular situation, and ask questions such as “Why did I have this response?”, and “What can I learn from this?” These questions allow you to observe what’s going on and to pay attention to what’s happening, instead of just reacting to life’s circumstances.

This month, pay attention to your feelings – and your emotions – and pause to figure out what you can learn in the process.