If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you want something different. You’ve probably also tried everything to “think positive thoughts,” only to not see much change and inevitably fall back to old patterns. Sound about right? Don’t worry, I’ve been there too. And some days I still am. But I’ve learned something rather profound. Living the life you want has nothing to do with the thoughts you think…it has everything to do with the emotions you feel. So if you want to cultivate a new life, you’re going to have to figure out what you’re feeling. And to do that, you have cultivate self awareness.
We’ve Had It Backwards
You probably think that you think a thought and then experience the emotion. But what if I were to tell you that your emotions are what are causing you to think your usual thoughts? You have emotions that you are used to experiencing based on your life’s experiences, personality, etc, and your brain is used to finding the patterns that match those familiar emotions.
The communication from your heart to your brain is so fast, you probably don’t even notice that you are having all kinds of emotions throughout each day that are driving your experience. Take a moment to begin getting familiar with self awareness and ask yourself how you’re feeling right now. Give yourself a chance to answer. I’ll wait here.
So now that you know the feeling you’ve been experiencing, ask yourself what feeling would be better? What feeling do you want to experience? This is where things get a little tricky, but with a little practice you’ll see that it’s very doable.
You probably will ask yourself to conjure a thought that represents the feeling you want to experience. So you probably think the experience is necessary to give you the emotion — for example, if you want to feel calm, you may think that walking on the beach would give you that feeling. But you’re not looking for the thought or the experience, you’re really just looking to feel the feeling of the experience. There are a million experiences that create a calm feeling…so don’t get hung up on that walk on the beach. Settle into the feeling and let your brain find the variety of patterns that match.
All that’s left to do now is practice self awareness by recognizing what you’re feeling in a given moment, finding the new feeling you’d prefer, and practice feeling it. That’s it.
Commit To The Practice
This practice is a simple practice to cultivate your self awareness — to know what you feel, to know what you’d rather feel, and to feel that instead. As you continue to refine this practice, you will not only enhance your self awareness, you will improve your emotional intelligence (EQ). And high emotional intelligence is a big component in the lives of successful people.
So in the end, you have the choice to think the same thoughts, which lead you to the same decisions, which lead to the same actions, helping you reach the same outcomes. Or, you can become aware of your emotions that are leading to your familiar thought patterns and work to experience new emotions, which rewire your brain to find different patterns. The more you practice this, the easier it will be for your brain to find patterns that match your new emotions.
This approach will take some getting used to, but it will absolutely get you where you want to go a lot quicker than what you’ve been doing.