Managing Your Attention, pt. 2

This is a series of posts comprising useful stuff Kat learned to manage life like a grown-up. It’s stuff I learned over a period of years which has since proven reliably helpful at avoiding drama and getting on with life in a constructive, positive way.

I don’t know how many parts it’s going to have. Don’t ask.*

So, the last post was item #1: Feelings can’t be controlled directly by the will.

Today we’re going to get really ambitious and cover another thing. Item #2.

2. All feelings, whether pleasant or unpleasant, have their uses.

People tend to think there are good feelings and bad feelings. Right feelings and wrong feelings. But there aren’t “wrong feelings.”

(Except this, naturally.)

Feelings are just effects. They’re information. Anger can tell you that someone has done something wrong. Fear can tell you to exercise caution. Sometimes the feelings are inaccurate, like a radar that reacts to a seagull like it’s an enemy ship coming into range. But they all exist for a reason.

So when you’re experiencing unpleasant emotions, sometimes the best thing is to figure out what purpose that feeling is serving, or trying to serve. Is it just information to file away, duly noted? Or is it suggesting that you should do something?

The really brain-stretching part of this for me was the realization that while I could act on my feelings, I didn’t have to do so.

After going through most of my life not knowing that not acting on every feeling I had was an option, this little bit of intel was a revelation.

Once I understood that feelings just provided information, and that then I had to decide whether I needed to do something or not based on that information, life got a lot less unpredictable. Before, I’d been sort of skipping the “decide what to do” part.

Doing something is what we’re going to talk about next.

Be there, or be an equilateral quadrangle with four right angles.

* But we’re probably going to cover constructive living, the enneagram, Myers Briggs, a bit of transactional analysis and possibly some spiritual direction and depth psychology. So this may take a while. 

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