I feel therefore I am: Recognize your feelings and emotions

I think therefore I am. You probably recognize these words as it is a famous quote by philosopher René Descartes. Being good at thinking is considered an important quality in our current day society. Great thinkers are often icons, even heroes. Thinking is so important nowadays that we think it’s superior to our feelings. We measure our intelligence by the quality of our thoughts. Thinking is first, feelings and emotions are second.

As a Life Coach I know how important thinking is, but I also know the importance of our feelings and emotions. I would say they are even more important than thinking. Why is this? Basically, our feelings are an important feedback system our body is providing us and it’s a pity that most people see them as inferior to thinking. The reason why I think our feelings and emotions are very important is that they come from a deeper level than thinking. Thinking takes place only in the mind, but we feel with our whole body. Our thoughts can sometimes fool us, feelings are often more true.

When I was in my early twenties the company I worked for went bankrupt and I had to find another job. At one point I found a new job and ignored this subtle feeling (my intuition) I had about it. My feeling said no, my mind said yes. I rationalized the feeling as some sort of fear for the unknown and decided to go ahead with the job. This was a bad decision. Within days I felt really miserable, found out this job was no good for me and decided to quit. Had I only listen to my feelings I would not taken the job in the first place. With the next job that came along the feeling was quite different, it felt good. I worked for that company for almost 11 years till I felt I needed to move on to something new and different.

I learned the hard way. I can tell you of numerous other events in my life where I didn’t listen to my feelings or ignored them. In all cases my body didn’t lie and in the end I had to admit, often after a long struggle, the decision was wrong.

Nowadays I listen better to what my body is telling me. I use my feelings, my intuition, as a guiding system. If something doesn’t feel right to me I won’t do it. If the feeling is right, I will. Whenever I encounter a problem in my life, I will look for the feeling or emotion behind it, investigate it and look for the deeper message it is delivering me.

During coaching session feelings and emotions play an important part as well. As a life coach I investigate with my clients what they believe, why they are thinking these thoughts and if there are other possible truths than what they currently believe. Together with a matching coaching tool I will always focus on the feelings behind their thoughts, as they are often more true than what the client is thinking and believing. The feelings and emotions that go with a certain thought can give insight to an underlying belief that may be the real issue. This process can lead to real moments of insight and can be the beginning of the change my clients seek.

I feel therefore I am.

2 comments… add one
  • Lisa Apr 15, 2010 @ 5:08

    I am currently reading Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence, for the first time. Many of your thoughts echo his, as they do some material I have just finished by Steven Hayes. Being emotional was very devalued in the culture in which I was raised. Strong people, it seemed, rose above their flighty emotions and just did right. I am trying to piece together a better balance between cool rationalism and hot-headed emotions. Thanks for adding fuel to the fire.

  • Mike King Apr 17, 2010 @ 15:47

    I too recommend Goleman’s book on the subject. As for your article, it does capture how easy we miss listening to ourselves in whatever ways we can (thoughts, feelings, senses) for what we are taught to do instead, which seems to always be more about logic and decisions and influence. Interesting topic, makes a person think!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *