Our Personal Guidance System
Paying attention to our emotions can keep us on track… and they can keep us accountable for aligning what we say we want or believe with what we REALLY want or believe.
We humans have simple, yet complicated relationships with our emotions. On one hand, we have a tendency to want to purge, or resist, the feelings we label as bad, and yet we also want to cling to those feelings we label as good. Regardless of whether we find ourselves resisting or clinging, the result is the same; we inhibit the natural flow of our emotions.
Whether we look at our emotions through the lens of quantum mechanics or metaphysics, there is an increasing recognition that emotions, like thoughts, are a form of energy. What many of us tend to forget is that energy—regardless of the form it takes—always flows. This fact is reflected in our language; we talk of air currents, ocean currents, electrical currents, and so on.
However, most of us don’t think of emotion as a form of energy. Instead, we see emotions as being either good or bad. The “good” or “bad” labels we give our emotions are what trigger us to go through those cycles of resistance or clinging.
It’s fairly common, even normal, for people to go through a period of emotional hyper-awareness when they first commit to improving their lives. This hyper-awareness can be useful, but if we’re not careful, we can easily get stuck in a loop of self-destructive internal dialogue.
One way to get unstuck is to let go of the labels we assign to our emotions and instead treat them as a guidance system. Some people like to use the analogy of a GPS. As long as we pay attention to our feelings without assigning any meaning to them, they will always guide us to what we want.
In other words, emotions are neither good nor bad. They’re merely “helpful.”
When allowed to flow naturally, without judgment, our emotions can tell us exactly what adjustments we need to make to get us where we want to be. This means adjusting our thoughts, the stories we tell ourselves and others, and ultimately, the things we do.
That’s not to say that labels don’t serve a purpose. They do. Labels like happy, frustrated, content, or afraid tell us exactly what we’re feeling in the moment, and they guide us in the same way that commands like “turn left” or “turn right” guide us. The labels we can discard are the ones that don’t serve us, the ones that hint at judgment; good or bad.
Let go of the need to categorize an emotion and instead allow it to simply run its course. Be aware of it, observe it, and let it guide you. All emotions, regardless of which ones we feel in the moment, come, go, and then come again. It’s true that we’ll never experience the same emotion in the exact same way as we have before, but that’s the beauty of letting our emotions flow. There are infinite ways to experience the same emotion, and as we “let ‘em go and let ‘em flow,” we will discover that every experience is unique and better than the last one.
Our feelings and emotions act as a perfect guidance system because they serve as an indicator that we are misaligned. Just as a fever is a sign of a possible bacterial or viral infection, or sneezing and a runny nose are signs of an allergy, feelings of anger, resentment, anxiety, fear, or sadness are signs that the things we SAY we want or believe aren’t aligned with what we truly want or believe.
When you pay attention to how you feel, you will discover the stories you tell yourself. In that discovery, you have the power to tell a new story or start a new dialogue. Of course, you always have the choice to continue with your current story.
Adjustments to the ways we think and act can be disruptive, but we can make adjustments in ways that maintain the sense of safety and security your brains crave so much. The simple act of observing our emotions and allowing them to come and go empowers us to make incremental adjustments, which, over time, allows us to experience clarity, purpose, and alignment.
This journey we call life will always be filled with challenges and course corrections. Thoughts and actions that may have once served us may no longer serve us. That is why a constant awareness of how we feel is so important. When listen to our emotions and let our feelings guide us, we will always find ourselves on the “right” path.
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and a guy dedicated to raising our collective EQ. He uses his seminars and workshops to facilitate conversations about authenticity, alignment, awareness, and the experience of community, connection, and joy. Appio is also a weekly columnist with The Good Men Project and co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.