By Skye Thomas
Our feelings and attitudes have a huge impact on our ability to achieve ‘happily ever after.’ Are feelings and attitudes the same thing or different? Does one cause the other to happen? Which one has more power over how we respond? Does the person experiencing them have any choice in the matter? What if they are in conflict?
Feelings are what they are. We can’t force them. You fall madly head over heels in love with someone or you don’t. ‘You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink’ comes to mind as I try to explain feelings. There is no magical way to change how we feel. Our feelings aren’t right or wrong, they just exist. Feelings are very powerful and definitely have a control over how we make choices and how we move through life. Think about the money, time, and focus we put into trying to feel good and avoiding feeling bad. It goes against human nature to want to feel bad.
Feelings are based in emotions. Emotions come from the heart. Therefore, I don’t think we can change them from within our logical minds. If your girlfriend leaves you, then you feel hurt. You cannot be expected to simply stop feeling hurt. You will feel some level of sadness until you have finished feeling sad. It is possible to distract yourself for awhile, but the feelings will just lay dormant until you allow them time to fully run their course. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to distract yourself from the bad feelings of missing your girlfriend, but it will slow down the process. There are constructive things you can do to aid the processing of your feelings. Regardless of how you handle your feelings, you’re going to feel what you feel until it works it’s way through your heart. You might always miss her and feel a slight tug at your heart when you think back, but the overwhelming sadness will eventually pass. It always does. That’s why they say ‘time heals all wounds.’ You can’t maintain any one feeling indefinitely. Emotions by nature are shifting and uncontrollable. They simply are what they are.
What about our attitudes? An entire multi-million dollar industry has been built around the power of a positive attitude. The industry wouldn’t have survived and thrived as it has if it wasn’t a valid and real concept. Our attitudes are rooted in our belief systems. Our belief systems are chosen by our logical minds. Therefore, it is possible to make a conscious decision to change it. Our minds have complete and total control over what we believe. I don’t think I need to bore you with another longwinded speech about the powers of a positive attitude. If you’ve ever tried it, then you have proven for yourself that it is possible to make an internal adjustment regarding your attitude.
So, which is stronger? Which has more influence over our choices and behaviors? Does one overpower the other? Let’s say that you find yourself falling madly head over heals in love with someone. That’s a feeling, an emotion. It comes from your heart. However, at the same time, you are entertaining a very pessimistic attitude towards love and relationships in general. The attitude comes from your mind. Which will win out, the feelings of falling in love or the dark attitude? It’s hard to say. If you change your attitude, then the feelings of being in love can grow and perhaps become a wonderful source of joy for you. If you hold on tightly to your attitude, then eventually it will wear on the loving feelings and you will eventually stop loving that other person. What if the feelings of love were so amazingly powerful, that they caused the attitude to change and your core belief system about love and relationships changed too? Your feelings can definitely have an effect on your attitude, but more often than not, your attitude wins.
Your attitude is not more powerful because it’s more important than your feelings. It’s more powerful because it’s more stubborn than your feelings. Let’s look again at our example where the feelings are positive and the attitude is negative. We’ve seen people fall madly in love with someone who loved them in return. These same people had bad attitudes about love and relationships in general. Their feelings were not able to overpower their attitude. They believe ‘it’s never going to work out anyway’ and create a self-fulfilling prophecy. By not believing in love, they destroy their good relationship and then feel hurt by the failed relationship. Their minds take that as evidence to further continue with the negative attitude regarding love. The reason the attitude wins the battle more often then our feelings is because feelings are ever-changing and flexible while attitudes are often locked into place and become an unmovable force.
What if the feelings were bad and the attitude was good? If you felt afraid that you might be rejected by the opposite sex, but you had a positive attitude towards love in general because you’d had ‘happily ever after’ role modeled to you as a child, then you could choose to keep moving forward despite your feelings of fear. Your attitude would win out over your feelings once again.
If your feelings and attitudes match, then you have an inner balance and harmony within yourself. Isn’t this the age-old battle between heart and head? Attitude comes from your head and feelings come from your heart. When the two agree you are able to focus and move forward with confidence. When the two are at war you have to decide which is right… the heart’s feelings or the head’s attitude? Perhaps in sitting quietly and looking inward at our feelings and attitudes from a detached perspective, we can evaluate and chose for ourselves on a case-by-case basis which one should lead us.
Skye Thomas began writing books and articles with an everyday practical approach to life in 1999 after twenty years of studying spirituality, metaphysics, astrology, personal growth, motivation, and parenting. After years of high heels and business clothes, she is currently enjoying working from home in her pajamas. Go to www.TomorrowsEdge.net to read more of her articles and to get a free preview of one of her books.