Thoughts are the background music to the story of our lives. Thoughts reflect who we are, statements about ourselves derived from our experience.
Thoughts begin with "I" and are reflected in what we say and do. It is a statement of how we relate to the world. Thoughts become a feeling. Our most accurate thoughts align with our values.
It is our emotions that we express. That is why understanding emotions is so important. Our expression is what we are being, our emotional self. This expressive energy is the product of the intensity and magnitude of our thoughts, words, and behavior.
Appropriate expressions are being aware of boundaries and limits.
Authentic experiences are the interpretation of emotional expression and events. Events and experiences are not the same. We are more than the sum of events. We are the product of what we do with them. It converts what we define as true and makes it real.
Authentic experiences are moments not displaced by expectations and assumptions.
Values are the why behind what is important to us and what we believe. Values are what we want to become more of. Values are the essence of connection. When we identify a value, we must remember to express our values to others and ourselves. Our values give us self-worth and are what we seek to experience.
A value focused life is the foundation of what we seek to have.
Feelings are our awareness of where we are in the cities of our lives.
How successful have you been at changing other people's feelings? It is difficult to do. In fact, trying to connect to others through feelings becomes very inefficient because of the individual nature of feelings.
Feelings and emotions are functionally different and from different parts of our brains. Where emotions are located deeper (limbic), our feelings and awareness of thought are more superficially located (cognitive). As we learn to feel our thoughts, we have more cognitive responses and less limbic reactions.
Feelings are tied to awareness. We can have feelings without emotional awareness and emotional reactions without being aware of our feelings. To have a feeling is to be aware of it, even when you can not identify it. Thus you can not have a feeling without a thought. Emotional reactions can occur with or without thought.
Feelings are fleeting, require thought but we can linger, and are where we often get lost. Feelings allow us to navigate ourselves and are the clues to the emotional destination we are heading toward. Feelings connect our thoughts with our emotions.
Feelings are an individual experience that guide us, like a river guiding us to the ocean. Feelings are the awareness of our emotions, but they do not always come from our emotions. Getting lost in feelings leads to emotional inefficiency, disconnect, and confusion.
In the emotional cities of our lives, feelings are our streets. Much like the streets of our cities, feelings are bidirectional, coming in from our emotional centers or away from our thoughts. They let us know where we are in our city, but they will never take us to another city. For that, you will need an emotional highway.
I like to separate the feelings into two types:
Afferent feelings come in from our emotions, they are visceral reactions we feel them in our body.
Efferent feelings come out from our thoughts, they are what our thoughts become on our way to an emotional destination.
When we express our emotions and feel our thoughts, our feelings lead to emotions that become the expression of what we experience.
Have you ever watched another person cry or witnessed an emotional moment that moved you to tears, even before you knew why? That was an emotion, different from a feeling, in that emotions cause a reaction, the energy of this reaction powering our connection circuit.
Thoughts, feelings, and emotions are related, but each has specific functions in creating connections. While it is easy to understand how thoughts and emotions are different, many assume feelings and emotions are the same.
Emotions are biological, evolutionary, and connected to the autonomic nervous system (ANS), the brain's area regulating our heartbeat and breathing. Thoughts can influence the ANS, though the ANS is designed to function even without cognitive input. Emotions are designed for us to react before we have a thought (cognitive) response.
Emotions are what we express. As our life is experienced as an expression, emotions become essential to understand. Each emotion has specific characteristics, just like elements of the periodic table.
Emotions are enduring. Emotions have connective and motivational forces. There are no good or bad emotions, only connecting and disconnecting emotions that motivate or demotivate us.
Each emotion has an expression that can become a descriptor of where we are coming from. The cyclical form of emotions, can help us navigate our way back home to who we are.
Emotions are what we have in common. There are eight core emotions (biologic, physiological reaction, based on centers in the brain, that occur without thinking and come and go in a way that guides us), vs feelings (Our awareness and thoughts about our emotions).
Emotions connect us to others. In the emotional cities of our lives, our emotions are the highways that connect us to others. We seek to have appropriate emotional expression, which requires an accurate understanding of what each emotion expresses, what motivational energy each emotion evokes, and what state of having each emotion represents.
Emotions are visceral reactions that influence our motivational energy, often evoked without thinking. Emotions are the elements of our expression, the energy to our connection circuit. Emotions are what we experience, and this experience informs our thoughts.