Who am I, Really?
Understanding your emotions and how they effect you is something every human on this planet needs to function successfully in life, in society, in relationships, in your career, and in conquering your goals and aspirations. Whenever you are struggling with making a decision, fears, or anxiety, it helps to start at the core: the emotions themselves.
WHAT IS EMOTION?
Emotion drives us, some more than others. Even those with a very analytical personality are still driven by core emotions to some degree, especially in circumstances that effect your livelihood. Emotions are simply feelings and reactions whether positve or negative towards an external stimuli. We have a variety of emotional responses such as fear, anger, joy, sadness, and disgust (sound familiar?). As much as we may love that Pixar movie Inside Out, we have many more emotions that our bodies can react and respond with and some are more complex than others. Shame, envy, contempt, anxiety, depression, surprise, happiness, love, pride, and so on. This heat map shows how our bodies feel those different emotions.
The list is endless. We have a word or phrase for over a hundred different feelings and they are all at different points on the spectrum. However every emotion, every feeling can be placed into one of two categories: Desire and Avoidance.
Try this Journal Exercise:
First Question: Which emotion do you think controls you most? Why? What do you think is fueling that emotion: desire or avoidance?
Think about what you desire most in this life. What is it that you desire? What feelings or emotions come up when you think about what you desire? Now take a different direction with desire, look at “Desire” as a whole. What does “Desire” mean to you? What does it do for you in your life? What collective emotions drive your Desire?
Now, look at the other side of the coin, what is the one thing you want to avoid most in life? What emotions or feelings come up when you think about what you want to avoid? Look at “Avoidance” as a whole. What does “Avoidance” mean to you? What does it do for you in life? What collective emotions drive your avoidance?
Last concept to ponder: What is your desire’s relationship with your avoidance? How can they work together for? So I ask you again to think on this one last time: Which one do you think has greater control of your emotions: Desire or Avoidance?
Desire and Avoidance are similar to the concept of yin and yang. A small piece of one can be found in the other and they can work together in helping you accomplish life. Your goals and aspirations are commonly driven by desire but the fear of failure or fear of the unknown can cause us to avoid certain steps to get there. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do because we desire a certain outcome and a strong desire helps us conquer those fears. I think most of us prefer to have desire be in dominant control so if it is not already, think about ways where you can help it be in more control. What emotions need to take over? What do you have control over changing to make that happen?
By gaining a little bit of introspection and a better understanding on how your emotions fuel your desires, your goals, and your aspirations in life, you will be able to be more successful at reaching those goals and dreams. If you find yourself avoiding something, stop and ask yourself, why am I avoiding this? What emotions are fueling this? And will this help me get what I desire most? Avoidance is powerful and can stop you dead in your tracks. But desire can help you push past those fears and anxieties fueling avoidance to help you conquer what you want most.
Just remember practice makes perfect. Perspectives don’t change overnight. This is simply one small step in learning how to Conquer Yourself!