Doing things when you're not feeling itAug 30, 2023
I’m all about checking in with my feelings. Emotions are like the dashboard of a car. They’re your indicator lights that tell you something needs attention. They are your inner compass that juxtaposes your deep desires and values with what’s happening in your life. In each situation, they tell you to either make change or continue on. They provide fuel or impetus to take action or let the stillness do its magic.
What they are NOT is your identity or even your story. What they ARE are your best navigation guide communicated directly from your Soul
Feelings don’t dictate habits
If I let them, I would have written only a fraction of what I’ve written in my life, if I’d still be writing at all. Because even though I get so much from writing, I don’t often feel like it: I may not be feeling creative. I feel the pressure of my self-imposed deadline. It feels hard because other things feel more pressing or fun. And because I identify as an in-the-moment-can’t-be-scheduled creative, when I use an editorial calendar, my feelings tell me that I’m not feeling my plan at that moment.
In my meditation practice, outside of the thankfully long honeymoon period at the beginning of my meditation journey, I’ll say it, half the time I don’t necessarily feel like meditating (which I’ve grown to see is my self-sabotage talking).
But I do practice both writing and meditation according to the frequency I know works for me to maintain a strong momentum. I meditate daily in the mornings, and I write weekly. I also exercise when I don’t often feel like it. While I look forward to my one day off, I love the six days I do them because I did them.
I know that if I get off rhythm, that’s it; everything that ultimately makes me feel good and moves me forward stays hard.
Celebrating vs looking for a hit
I cook when I feel like ordering in, and I make my own coffee when I feel like I’d rather just spend the $6 on a latte with almond milk. This is not to say that I don’t eat out or visit cafes because I love to do both, more often than you might think. Rather than acting on my feelings, which, unchecked, can be lazy and uninspired, I ask myself if this is the moment to celebrate life and splurge. And if it is, I go. I believe in celebrating and splurging, but I also know when I’m just being lazy or looking for a hit.
Whether or not I’m in the mood, I choose according to my values, and when I do that, I’m inspired and happy: I did what I set out to do. I set out to do them because I know they make my life better and ultimately more joyful.
How feelings inform change
I know that even though I might not feel like meditating or writing, once I’m in it, I’m happy to be in it. I conquered my own resistance, and I did the things that make a difference for me.
When I don’t feel like it and edge closer to blowing them off, it informs me that I’m focused on the wrong thing: the task of it.
So rather than telling myself, it’s just one day, skip it, I’ve got a lot of other things going on today and I’m tired, why make myself crazy? I ask myself instead, how do I want to serve today? What’s going on that I can offer myself and others?
That’s how I use my feelings to powerfully shift.
Your senses vs your mood
There are times when feelings can give you the deep sense that a decision is wrong. Everyone around you might suggest that it’s right, but you sense something that you can’t pinpoint. I follow my sense. Which is completely different from mood or feelings.
Two times a habit
Each time I make a decision, I strengthen the part of me I listen to. If I give myself a pass twice in a row, it makes it easier to give myself a pass the next time, and easier to justify my circumstance. When I act on what I deep down wish and know that I want, the easier it becomes to act on it the next time. As they say what you feed is what grows.
So yes, check in with your feelings. Use them to adjust your lens and your direction to serve your deepest values and desires. Don’t let your feelings hold you back. Think about this: you feel super great when the people around you are both reliable and see what you need. What feels even better than that is when you can be those things for yourself. In doing so, you accelerate your life towards greater Joy.