Feelings Are SO Overrated (Part 1)

In my work with hundreds of clients over 30 years of coaching and consulting I have discovered a startling fact – feelings are overrated! Now, I am not saying that feelings are not important, or desirable or real – I am saying that they are simply overrated in terms of the focus that we give to them.

My clients, for the most part, begin their coaching journey by describing what they ‘feel’ – “I am afraid, I am depressed, I want to feel more happy, I feel like a failure, I feel like nobody will ever desire me, I feel rejected, I would do anything to not feel this way.”

I listen and honor their sincerity and desire to experience something different in their lives.

Yet as I listen, I shift my focus to what they are thinking and are telling themselves about their situation and what they believe to be true about their life or the things that they fear the most.

We as a culture have become preoccupied with how we feel. So much so that we seek out excitement, friendships, approval and various ‘highs’ to help us “feel better.”

The problem is that it is almost always a matter of time until it does not work anymore, that is, we start to feel afraid, down, unfulfilled or ‘bad’ again.

Our feelings may temporarily change, but our thinking has not!

Some examples:

You are asked to speak in front of a group and think that you will be seen as inadequate – feelings of fear and anxiety follow the thought of being found out to be an inferior speaker, so you decline.

You think you have a great idea for your next art project, but believe that no one else will see it the same way – your thoughts lead to a fear of being rejected and you don’t complete the project as you originally envisioned it.

You think that standing up for yourself and saying “No” will lead to friends leaving you, so you say “Yes” to what they want – feeling only temporarily accepted.

You rarely speak up at a business meeting because of what others might think of you, even though you have creative ideas – feelings of self-doubt and anxiety follow that thinking and control your opportunity to shine.

These are examples of exactly what we do when we are trying to please someone. We go for the short term good feeling of being liked.

It is interesting that the part of the human brain that distinguishes us from animals, the prefrontal cortex, is what gives us the unique and special ability to think, yet it becomes ‘hijacked’ by thoughts that lead to a self-imposed prison of fear.

Becoming an outrageous achiever in your life cannot be built on how we are feeling at the time, but rather must rest on a foundation of appropriate, solid and healthy thinking.

“ Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”
~ Philippians 4:8

In Part 2 of this post I will share 4 specific things you can do to turn the way of thinking that leads to mediocre achievement into healthy and appropriate thinking that leads to a life of fulfillment.

Question: What are some of the thoughts that have led to negative feelings, and results, in your life? In what way do they stand in the way of creating outrageous and bold living? I’d love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree with me or not! Click on the comments box above and tell me what you think.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.