by Todd Creager
Many of our health, interpersonal and other life problems are because of one thing- an unwillingness to experience what one is feeling. We tend to want to control how we feel and we often want to present ourselves to others like we are in control. The paradox I will attempt to convince you of is that the more you try to control your feelings, the more out of control you are. Likewise, the more you allow yourself to experience whatever you are feeling without trying to change or control it, the more in control you are.
A little personal story: I turned 50 this year and decided to not procrastinate and get my colon tested. (A little public service announcement- if you are 50 or over and have not had a colonoscopy, please do it. In my case, they found a precancerous polyp and removed it. This is very common and if it is found in time, you will not get colon cancer). Back to my story- They got me all ready for the procedure, hooked me up to an IV and set up the blood pressure and heart monitor and I had to wait until it was my turn.
Even though intellectually I knew this was going to be a painless procedure, I must have been nervous because I could hear my heart beating through their monitoring system and it was beating fast. I tried doing all my ticks to relax and the best I could do is slow down my heartbeat for a few seconds, but then it would go right back up. After about 40 minutes of waiting and hearing my fast heartbeat, I said to myself- You know, let s face it- I am just scared. For the first time since they hooked me up, I stopped trying to change how I felt and just let me experience my fear.
An interesting thing happened, my heartbeat SIGNIFICANTLY slowed down. By the time they came in to drug me for the procedure, my heart rate was about at the resting rate. From my story, you could see how experiencing your feelings no matter how unpleasant can decrease your stress. As soon as I stopped trying to control how I felt, I was more in control. Allow yourself to have and experience your feelings and sensations.
Relationships: As I write about a lot in my upcoming book, most if not all relationship problems come from being disconnected. When you flip on a light switch, you are completing an electric current which then lights up the room.
Likewise, when you complete an energy current with your partner, you light up the relationship. The problem is, we often break contact with our partner when either one of us feels negative feelings. We usually do some sort of fight or flight reaction and the reason we do that is because we do not like how we are feeling and we try to change how we are feeling.
If you were to practice feeling your feelings more, you would decrease your reactivity. Developing this habit leads to more effective listening and ultimately to both people feeling closer to each other.
Increased Success in Other Areas of Life :When you put your attention on your body and what you are feeling as opposed to your active mind or superficial self-protective reactions, you become more open- more open to people and life in general. People pick up on this non-defensive vibe and you become instantly more attractive.
Who knows what this increased attractiveness can lead to- a promotion, a new opportunity or possibly other doors opening up in some seemingly miraculous way. You may think I’m overstating these benefits, but experiment yourself – For this moment, give up trying to control or change how you feel and instead feel how you feel.
LET YOURSELF JUST BE AND FEEL AS YOU ARE. Notice if you feel better or worse from this conscious action. Experiment with your partner and see how he or she responds to you being more open and vulnerable and less defensive. Notice any other changes that happen in your life. Feel free to e-mail me your feedback on this article or on any life improvements from applying what this article is suggesting.
Take good care.