While helping a friend today a thought came through my mind and inspired this post about what motivates you to live your life. You see I was already working on another post this morning when this conversation started and between the two, the words I was sharing with them took on a whole new meaning when I looked at the bigger picture. So without any further ado, let me share my perspective…
Those Pesky Emotions!
First off it is very normal that our emotional state is a major driving force in our daily behaviors, it is kind of how we work. The problem though is when we become out of balance and our emotions can grab the steering wheel and take us down roads that we don’t really want to go down!
Many years ago at a work conference, they had brought in LL Cool J to talk to us. One of the things he said that really impacted itself on me was to not let your past hold you hostage. I am not a note taker while I am listening to people talk, but I did write that down. I would go onto ponder that particular line a lot over the next couple days.
In the story he told along with those words was about not letting something that he had feared from the past to control what he was doing in the present. As I delved deeper and deeper into this thought process I began to realize how many fears in my life were holding me back.
Growing up I was an insanely picky eater and must have driven my parents crazy with that. However, it was always fear of the unknown with foods that held me back from tasting them, or perhaps I had tasted it in the past and wasn’t about to touch it again. After thinking about what I just learned though, I realized how my emotions were keeping me from a whole new world of flavor.
Let’s take a look at a couple different scenarios to see how emotions can affect the way that we live in our now moment:
Sara and the Dog Incident – When Sara was younger she had a bad incident with a dog in which she was really frightened by. Her parents were visiting friends and their dog barked a lot and really just scared Sara a lot. From that point on Sara avoided dogs at all costs and there was no way she would ever have one as a pet.
In this case Sara’s fear from that one moment in time, is now in full control of a part of her life. Anytime dogs come into play in the picture, her response is already programmed by this fear that she is holding onto. From crossing the street to avoid a dog walking down one side to the nerves that she feels the closer she gets to them, it is always an impact.
Think about all of the positives that a dog can bring into someone’s life, yet Sara is denying herself that opportunity due to this past situation. You can also easily replace dogs here with many other things. What is something that happened in your past that is holding you back from enjoying your now?
Gary and his love for cats – Gary has always had a soft spot in his heart for cats, there is just something about them that he loves. This feeling has changed many of the behaviors he has had in his life. He always has at least one cat as a family pet if not more.
When Gary started working for a dairy farm, he was happy to see that the farmer had a lot of barn cats around. However, this would also cause Gary to rescue many cats and kittens over the years. Whether it was rescuing one that was sick and needed a Vet’s attention or to bring a late season kitten into his home before winter set in.
Now Gary has a bunch of pet cats and this certainly has an effect on his life. Financially there is food, litter, and vet bills. There is the companionship that he gets from being with them. There are also chores such as cleaning the litter box. All of these things and more, factor into his life now as he allows his love for cats to continually bring them into his life.
In both examples here you can see how our emotions play a role in what we experience life on a daily basis. From moments that we avoid to daily interactions that we bring into our lives, they always play a role in how we act.
So What am I to Do?
First off, don’t worry! This is a natural part of our lives and how we live and evolve as humans. For example, fear can be one of the strongest motivating emotions and rightfully so. You see our brains have evolved over time and the fear response has played an integral role in allowing our species to grow and populate the world. Without fear we would more than likely have become extinct by now as we would have never feared the dangers in the world around.
That being said however, the best thing that you can do is to start being mindful in your life and pay attention to just how your emotions are affecting you in particular. Are you letting negative emotions hold you back? Are you taking positive emotions too far and causing other problems in your life? You need to find the right balance for yourself and that will allow for optimum growth for yourself.
One of the best ways I have found to learn how to be mindful is through meditation. This practice helps you to first calm your mind and that in itself is a huge factor. Secondly, meditation allows you to structure your thoughts in a way that is more aligned with the path in life that you want to walk.
Another great resource that I have come across is a book called The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self Doubt by Russ Harris. There are a lot of great techniques discussed in the book that help you to learn how to acknowledge our thoughts and emotions and yet to not allow them to control us.
Share Your Story with Us
I would like to invite you to share with us a story from your journey through life where your emotions took control and how you were able to take the wheel back into your own hands. Or maybe you are struggling to get the wheel back and sharing here might help you to find the wisdom you need to do so.
I will get the ball rolling with my story first. As I mentioned above I was a picky eater and after I had heard LL Cool J’s comment I realized that I was being controlled by my fear of trying new foods. Since that point in time I have made an effort to try all kinds of new foods and many that I had even tasted before.
I no longer allowed my fear to control me, but I still acknowledged that it was there. To this day I am eager to try new things and more often than not I will still try things I have had before. I know that it’s not going to kill me and the worst case scenario is that I spit something back out and I can live with that.
I am truly thankful that I came to this realization as now there is much more of the menu available to me and my taste buds in this life. Eating had been getting rather boring up to that point in my life as my selection was so narrow, but now that was no longer the case.
If you enjoyed this article or are looking to delve deeper into the subject, here are several other articles that I have written that tie in nicely with the subject at hand:
- Managing Emotions in the Decision Making Process
- Positive and Negative Thinking – How to Live a Better Life
- Mindfulness – Why it is Important
- How Can Simple Things You Say Affect Your Life
- It is Okay, You are Not Broken
Thank you for stopping by today and don’t forget to share this article with your friends on your favorite social media network!
James W D