Raise your hand if you haven’t gone to work, completed an assignment, finished a job, seen a friend, tidied up, all because you didn’t feel like it. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t raise both of my hands! Or the opposite, have you ever impulsively spent money you didn’t have or made a quick decision that needed more thought just because you felt like it? Well if you answered yes to either of those questions, you are definitely not alone.
Statistics tells us that a massive 90% of the decisions we make are based off emotions! This isn’t hard for me to believe, especially with some of the decisions I have made in the past.
I would describe myself as an emotional being; I am empathetic and naturally connect to others in this way. I can also be quite led by my emotions which I have learnt change fast and frequently. I don’t know about you but there have been times where I have felt a feeling so strongly that I allowed it to dictate what I did or didn’t do. The key to this is learning that just because we feel something it doesn’t always mean we have to act on it. It’s about being able to separate the emotion from the action and detach the meaning we place on that emotion we feel.
For example, you wake up feeling super lazy and tired and the very thought of doing that particular job feels draining. Instead of not doing it based off how you feel in the moment, you take some time to recognise and acknowledge how you feel, open your laptop and do it anyway. It’s about pushing through that feeling, because once you start, the laziness will probably fade, and what an achievement it’ll be when you finally submit it!
Below is a list of reminders and challenges I’ve set myself in the past when I’ve struggled with giving in to my emotions:
· I ask myself; how could I help my future self? Yes, right now I don’t like it but in the long term I know that it will cause problems that could have been avoided.
· If I get the feeling to do something extremely impulsive, I’ll make myself wait until the end of the week and see how I feel. Every time I have made myself wait, by the end of the week I feel differently and sometimes I’ve even forgotten about it.
· Try and look at it through a logical perspective. Write a pros and cons list and base it off logic rather than emotion. Being logical enables us to zoom out and be objective which can help us make the right decision.
· When you are feeling more rational, write reminders and stick them up or put them in your phone such as, ‘My emotions do not need to dictate me’ ‘future me will thank me if I make the right decision’ etc.
· Be accountable to someone. Often when I want to make an emotional or impulsive decision, I’ll tell a friend who I know will validate my emotions but push me in the right direction.
· Write down the consequences of your actions, as this can be a reality check of why acting on your emotions may not always be helpful.
Emotions are valuable, important and an integral part of being human. They help us connect, experience and may play a big part in how we see the world and our place in it. Bask in them and cherish them but also give yourself permission to not have to always act or be dictated by them as they are not concrete and change rapidly. I have had to learn the hard way, as in the past I have made bad decisions based on how I have felt which in the long run have turned out to be unhelpful however I am learning, and I understand that this is a process. I hope this post also helps you with your process & remember that it is all a learning curve!
Written by Alice