In the classic movie Platoon, there is a line "feeling good is good enough." I love that line. I often will say it when I am in a good place and it just brings a smile to me. But the question becomes, if feeling good is good enough how to get to feeling good when we don't?
Let's investigate feelings. We often think of feelings as things that just shows up and that we do not have much control over. "I feel tired, I feel sad, I feel happy". There is some truth to that. I mean, let's be honest things happen and feeling just rise up. Through some serious mental and emotional work we can actually design a life that gives a greater chance of positive feelings happening vs. negative feelings but the reality is that feelings often just arise and arrive. That is not really the question. The real question is what do you do about it when feeling arise that do not serve us? What do we do when we have "bad" feeling to get past it quickly?
Step 1: Recognize
The first step is to take a step back and to look at the feelings and label them in the following manner; "I am having feelings of...." This is phrase is really important because normally we say..."I am sad" or "I am angry". It gives the feelings too much power to completely define us. We are not our feelings. We are who we are and we have feelings. So the key is to step back and note that we are "having feelings of..." This gives us some space to contemplate and examine. It gives a slight bit of distance in which we can then begin to adjust our feelings and get to the second step.
Step 2: Ask a critical question
The second step is once we realize the feelings we are having, we can ask the simple question, "Are these feelings helpful right now?" If they are keep stoking that fire, if they are not then we have to take some sort of action to adjust them. Also recognize that we all have a huge variety of feelings right? So if it is not a helpful feeling, avoid the road of beating yourself up for have a feeling that isn't helpful. It is what it is, so now what are you going to do about it?
Step 3: Get into action
The third step is to take decisive action. One thing from working with elite athletes and corporate executives over the past 15 years I have learned is that if they want to adjust feelings they first dive into action in terms of what the task is ahead of them. They turn emotion into logic. Their conversation might be something like, "I am having feelings of fatigue (sadness) (anger) (negative emotion)....Ok is that helping me complete what I need to get done? No. Ok so what do I need to do to get this task done..I need to organize my notes, I need to shoot out a clear email, I need to call XYZ, ok lets go." Now they are doing and often times doing leads to feeling good, and as we know..."Feeling good is good enough."
A good example of this is the Navy SEALs, the special operations unit of the United States Navy. I remember talking to a Navy SEAL who I was consulting with and he mentioned that something that happens to the guys in the BUDs training; which of course is incredibly grueling and punishing. There is literally a week where the trainees only sleep about 4 hours total in 7 days. He said that something happens to the guys that pass and actually become SEALs. He said they get to a point where they legitimately just say "fu@# it" and give up on attempting to feel good. They simple recognize that what they are going to go through is going to suck and they "embrace the suck". As such, they give up trying to avoid bad feelings and they just deal with them. As a result, he mentioned they actually start to feel good. It seems illogical but by releasing the need to control feeling, they focus on what needs to be done and they actually start to feel good.
So the 3 steps to "feeling good"?
1. Notice the feeling you are having with the phrase, "I am having the feelings of..."
2. Note if those feelings are helpful for what you are trying to accomplish, if they are appreciate them if they are not go to step 3
3. Take action to get the job done and turn emotion into logic.
By taking these 3 steps you will notice the unhelpful feelings starting to drift away and then as you accomplish things you will actually notice that you are having some helpful feelings. Then you you might just start feeling good...and as we know "feeling good is good enough."
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