Rule #3 – Feel, Then Decide

Rule #3 – Feel, Then Decide

One of the benefits I’ve discovered when I take time to listen to my heart is a better way of reacting under stress. When I give my head some quiet space, it becomes easier to truly feel and act on purpose rather than just react.

Often much of my “emotions” were really just knee-jerk reactions, reflections of how I’d been trained to feel. Someone criticizes me; I am programmed to feel anger or shame. Someone ignores me; I am programmed to feel attacked or diminished.

Let’s say someone cuts me off in traffic. The prevailing rule book says I have every right to get angry, let loose with a few choice words, and spend the next hour fuming. My new rule? Feel the initial feeling, and then give it a minute. Take a few deep breaths. Realize that you don’t know the whole story. Maybe that driver cut me off because she is driving a sick child to the emergency room and just didn’t see me there. Or, maybe she’s just a selfish jerk. I’ll probably never know.  Either way, is it worth ruining my own day over something that really doesn’t matter?

My new rule lets me decide how I truly feel. Even with the big stuff, like when someone you love says something truly hurtful, you do not have to lash out, or freak out, or crawl into a cave and want to die. You have a choice in how you handle things. Take a moment, take a breath, and then decide the best way to move forward.

This is not about avoiding your feelings. It’s about pausing to see what’s underneath those initial feelings and deciding if it serves you or not. The bonus of this approach can be fun, too. Watching other people react to your non-reaction can be priceless. Let them have the drama, mama. It has no place in my bliss.

With a clearer head, and a focus on the heart, it becomes easier to truly feel and act on purpose rather than just react. Imagine the change this could make in your own circle of family and friends. The same old arguments and dramas are sure to take on an entirely new life when viewed through the lens of true feelings rather than surface emotions. We all have triggers; dealing with them from a place of awareness and understanding leads to fewer crises and more bliss.

Excerpted from “10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life” by Carol Pearson.

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