(37) Question Your Feelings, But Don’t Dismiss Them

question your feelings

Question your feelings. This is how we start the exploration of the 2nd Untruth, “always trust your feelings.” We will define affect, the wholeness of our emotional experience, labels as a short-hand for communicating a physiological experience to others, and the important difference between homeostasis and allostasis. Pulling from the works of Jonathan Haidt, Greg Lukianoff, and Lisa Feldman-Barrett we uncover the importance and limitations of our emotional experiences and their labels.

Untruths:

  1. What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker – leads to self-identifying through victimhood
  2. Always trust your feelings
  3. Life is a battle between good people and evil people

Truths:

  1. Consequences are inevitable and often outside of our direct control, so learn from them
  2. Question your feelings, but don’t dismiss them
  3. Life is a lived experience through many perspectives

Allostasis

“In modern psychological usage, “affect” refers to the mental counterpart of internal bodily representations associated with emotions, actions that involve some degree of motivation, intensity, and force, or even personality dispositions. In the science of emotion, “affect” is a general term that has come to mean anything emotional. A cautious term, it allows reference to something’s effect or someone’s internal state without specifying exactly what kind of an effect or state it is. It allows researchers to talk about emotion in a theory-neutral way.”

“Allostasis: A Model of Predictive Regulation” by Peter Sterling

We need to identify what we are feeling before we can change it and sometimes knowing what we are feeling is a challenge. Our feelings can be complicated as we feel more than one thing at a time. The following image is a “feeling wheel” that shows nuanced feeling descriptions and how they relate to seven primary emotional experiences. Use this tool when working through the steps used to question your feelings.

What are You Feeling?

Question Your Feelings: The 5 Steps

question your feelings

Step 1: Accept emotional responses as natural and inevitable reactions to things that are important to you

Step 2: Accept that the emotional response itself is outside your control (this is different than the behavioral way you then decide to express and support that reaction)

Step 3: Identify the Value that the emotion is pointing you towards that has been either violated or supported

Step 4: Mindfully bring attention to the Value that matters to you, while continuing to accept the emotional response

Step 5: Explore different ways to express/support that Value which is healthy, goal-oriented, and in line with the best version of yourself you know to be

Resources:

Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain – Lisa Feldman Barrett

How Emotions are Made – Lisa Feldman Barrett

Affect as a Psychological Primitive (PDF)

The Coddling of the American Mind – Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt


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