Monday, April 30, 2012

Living Beyond My Feelings

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I joined a bible study a few weeks ago.  We're reading Joyce Meyer's book "Living Beyond Your Feelings. Controlling Emotions So That They Don't Control You."
I can't tell you how much I needed to read this book.  I often feel 100% controlled by my feelings.  They can dictate how I react, how I treat people, how I treat myself.  It's not healthy.  And I want to learn how to have my feelings, not suppress them but be able to express myself better and not let them dictate my actions.

Joyce says, "feelings are fickle."  They can't be trusted.  Have you ever noticed how sometimes you're in a bad mood for no good reason?  When I feel like that, I am no fun! Yet I allow myself to act on my feelings.  That's not who I am.  Deep down inside I'm kind and funny, simple and full of love.  It's just that all of that doesn't always show because I'm too mixed up in my feelings. I'm too tired. I'm hurt. I'm frustrated. Have a head ache.

 As luck would have it, a situation presented itself that has allowed me to really put my new found knowledge into practice. My best friend in the whole world has hurt my feelings.  She hasn't reached out to communicate in months.  I called her last week to see when would be a good time to talk and she said she'd call me Saturday.  Saturday came and went, no phone call.

This isn't the first time she's left me hanging, it happens nearly every week and this makes me feel like:

1. She doesn't want to talk to me.
2.  She doesn't care about our friendship.
3.  I'm not important to her.
4. She doesn't love me.
5. Paranoid. Did I do something to piss her off?

I could go on and on.  Those feelings are obviously over-dramatic.  I totally know that but I still feel them! Thing is, I know she's been going through a lot lately. This is one of the main reasons I want to be there for her. I want to support her during this rough patch.  And since I know it's got to be really hard and I don't want to add more pressure to her, I try to be understanding.

But after a while I'm like, "at what point do I get the message, that she doesn't want to talk to me!"  I know that's not true but I say it to myself anyway.  Then I start having bad thoughts and think of terrible ways to deal with this.  Things like:

1. Well then, I won't call her anymore either.
2.  I'm going to ignore her if she texts me.
3.  I'm going to go look on her facebook page to see who her REAL friends are.
4. I'm going to complain to MY real friends about her.
5. I'm going to allow myself to think bad things about her.

All of those actions; however, are a result of feelings and my feelings sound a lot like a fifteen year old girl! They are not appropriate action based on who I really am.  And as tempting as it may be to do all of those things this is the perfect opportunity for me to practice restraint, to act on my inner self and not let my feelings rule me or tell me how to behave.  When I see the feelings I can say, "Yes, I see you. I know you exist and I'm not going to stuff you down.  I will be honest about them to myself and to others but this is what I'm going to do about it:

1.  Continue to call her and tell her how much I love her.
2.  Pray for her everyday. Talk to God about my feelings.
3.  Try to put myself in her shoes and be compassionate.
4.  Write her a note and tell her how much I love and care for her and tell her that I'd really love to keep the lines of communication open without complaining about my feelings or being angry.
5. Text her, facebook her, email her and send her a singing telegram that says, "Call me."  It may sound persistent and desperate but I have to remember how many times God pursued me out of sheer love and I must be willing to do the same because I love her too.

I think learning to gain control just takes practice.  Sometimes I will fail but at least I'll be trying.  Controlling my feelings is a gift to both others and myself.  How I sometimes feel may be ugly but I'm not and it will feel so good to pull back the curtain and let my true self shine through.

Do you let your feelings control your actions?

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