Sunday night we had a fireside where the topic was feelings. In announcing this to members of our ward, each time we said the word “feelings”, people shut down – you could see it happening. We weren’t sure how the turnout would be, but we had a full room…almost every chair full. The guest speaker was a therapist who works with people who deal with addictions. She said that when people have feelings they don’t understand or don’t know how to handle, they turn to addictions of one variety or another to mask those feelings.
She taught us how all feelings can be traced to either fear-based or love-based feelings. So, if we ask ourselves what we’re feeling (pride, anxiety, happiness, etc.) we can determine what motivates us. She shared an example of this from her life. She said she was going on a business trip and they have two cars; one that is really fun to drive, the other not so fun to drive. Her husband told her that it would be better for her to take the not so fun to drive car. She insisted that she would be fine in the “fun” car and took off. She made it to her meetings and was ready to return home. On the way, a state patrolman let her know that she had exceeded the speed limit of the area she was driving in. She said that her very first thought was that she wanted to hide it from her husband. She explained that she is a very honest person and doesn’t keep anything from her husband, and how in this situation, it was her first reaction. She said that as she was driving, she was thinking about this and was trying to determine why this was her first reaction. She thought about embarrassment, but realized that she had embarrassed herself enough in life that she knew it wasn’t it. As she kept going through reasons, she thought about pride and she instantly knew that it was the one (she said that the feeling you usually fight in yourself are those you dislike in others). Once she was able to identify what it was, she was able to deal with it head on…and she even called her husband and told him what had happened.
Another point she brought up is that life happens so quickly that we rarely have time to process what we are feeling before the next emotion hits us. She encouraged us to take time to discover the root emotions we face; either love or fear. If it is fear based, we can determine exactly what it is, and then transition it to a love based feeling. We really are in control of our emotions. Growing up, one of my parents’ favorite sayings was that no one can make you mad; you let yourself get mad (which in turn would only make me angrier). After this discussion, I realize just how in control we are and I’m grateful I learned that now and can implement it in my life.