Doing before feeling

(“Spaz’ dog Kea”, picture by @spasmicallyperfect)

Re-reading my last post (an activity I admittedly indulge in from time to time) I got caught on the following sentence:
Even when I feel as detached from writing as can be, something in me still writes.

That’s just it with feelings, they change. Constantly. Sometimes with conscious reason more often without. There was a time I lived my life based on how I felt. When I felt sad, I was sad. When I felt happy, I was happy. When I felt angry, I was angry.

I remember my husband after two years of marriage telling me, the feeling of love would come back automatically by doing loving things. Like most young couples, two years of living with eachother plus a few circumstantial obstacles, had taken their toll. I thought I had made a mistake, I didn’t recognise the love feeling anymore. “How can I do loving things, if I don’t feel it?”, I had asked.
“It’s not what you feel that matters long term, but what you believe in.”

Until then, nobody had ever suggested that option. Of course I knew this in smaller situations. Any aspiring athlete when loosing a race, may feel bad. But it’s believing that they can do better that keep them going. And getting right back on the track running. But I hadn’t applied that piece of wisdom consistently across the spectrum of my life.

Months later I met another person who challenged me answering his question with “I’m having a shitty day” by saying “the day is not over and the rest of it is your choice.” Since then I seem to bump into people like that all the time. Just the other day a colleague of mine said: “Did you know that it’s impossible to feel unhappy when you jump up and down?” Of course the next time I felt sadness coming on, I started bouncing. He was right.

Who cares whether that is true or whether the awareness of the possibility of it being true jinxed my experience? Bottom line, we all feel all the time. Feelings can’t be fixed nor preserved, but we always have the power to change our focus. And if that holds true for restoring Love, it can hold true for any other thing.

So I may feel that I’m not hungry, but I can choose to try out a new recipe and decorate for a candlelight dinner.
So I may not feel inspired to write, but I can choose to sit down and for 15 minutes really try and write a few lines about something.
So I may not feel like going to work today, but I can choose to help my colleague make it through her challenging project presentation.
So I may not feel in love with my husband, but I can choose to give him my honest attention and surprise him by inviting him to a concert of his favourite band.

I’ve done all of the above and more. None of them started with positive feelings, but none of them ended with negative ones.

~ by spasmicallyperfect on September 23, 2008.

4 Responses to “Doing before feeling”

  1. Life is a constant state of flux. I try to roll with the flow. It’s nice to have a good attitude about it like you do.

    Oh and another thing I love about your comments, how you manage to pack yourself into one or two lines.

  2. did you feel like you loved him when or after you invited him for the concert?

    try to think back at how it all started out, remember the smiles, looks, smells maybe. try to feel what you remember feeling back then. it is very likely to help, especially if he still treats you with love.

    Welcome Mia and thank you for commenting. Thank you also for caring enough to leave me your suggestions. Just to let you know, my husband and I have now been married for over 8 years. We are happy and we love each other.

    Although I do agree that thinking back to ‘how it was when you fell in love’ to distract from giving too much attention to whether or not the toilet seat is up or down, I also feel that it’s important to relate to where you and your partner are now. Living on memories of the past can be dangerous. People change, they grow, their priorities shift. In my experience, at that time, remembering who I fell in love with, wasn’t enough. Because a lot of that was what I had assumed, interpreted him to be. When we meet people, we fill in any gaps ourselves. Time tells whether your assumptions were right or not. But the main mistake I made was to need him to complete me / make me happy. Nowadays I know that there is only one person that can complete me and that’s myself. Thankfully I had a very patient partner to help me understand that.

    And just in case this comes across as unromantic. It isn’t. :-)

    Looking forward to reading more of you.

  3. Hey Spaz,
    That’s a great point of view. I never have tried the jumping up and down one and will have to the next time I feel bad. I’m laughing just thinking about it. And thanks for bringing this up because just reading it made me change my focus and feel better.

    Love
    Annie

    Hey there sunshine, wondered when you’d show up. I’m smiling at your last sentence in your comment. Had an internal conversation about the writing thing not too long ago, searching for reasons of why writing means so much to me. More than just creating it’s one of the ways I hope to give something back to world (since I really can’t cook ;-) ). Even if your comment should be the only one, it means that I have. Thank you. S.

  4. Your pearls of wisdom? I shall apply them today… they make perfect sense… it is so easy to forget that it is we who sabotage,,, our fruitless ego on a warpath… thank you for sharing your reality… for we often live in fantasy … have a nice weekend

    Thanks E. had a great weekend and as always, you are welcome. Thank you. S.

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