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.