Your Bad Feeling Means Only One Simple Thing

Your Bad Feeling Means Only One Simple Thing

Isn’t it annoying when a blog or video has a title like “Your bad feeling means only one simple thing” and you hastily scroll or scan or skip to learn what that one simple thing is? But instead the author wants to tell you about the history of feelings, famous feelings, a bunch of arbitrary anecdotes about feelings before getting to the point? 

I find this a lot with recipes online. JUST GIVE ME THE RECIPE. I do not need to know about all of the recipe attempts before this one, views on stovetop vs oven, and other popular uses for eggplant. 

(I realise I’m accidentally doing the thing that annoys me when I wanted to do the opposite)

The one simple thing that your bad feelings mean is that your thinking can’t be trusted right now.

So what? How is that helpful?

It’s as simple as the smell of sour milk alerting you to it’s quality, condition. It smells bad. The milk is sour. Don’t drink it.

You feel bad. Your thoughts are sour. Don’t drink them (don’t pay attention to them!)

When we come to see that feelings are simply a 100% reliable, built-in feedback system for the trustworthiness of our thoughts, this changes everything. 

When we feel like shit –  any kind of shit like anxious, stressed, sad, overwhelmed, insecure, doubtful and all the others – the only thing that’s happening is a little reminder our thinking is off. 

The shit feeling is gently reminding us that we don’t need to take our thinking so seriously. 

The shit feeling is gently reminding us we are mistakenly believing there’s a problem ‘out there’ to be solved 

The shit feeling is gently reminding us that life looks hard or stressful or scary right now because our thoughts are poor quality, and that’s all. 

(I say ‘gently’ reminded although  a feeling of intense anxiety, overwhelm, panic or sadness often isn’t very gentle)

We think bad feelings mean bad things 

Over time, we have come to believe that our feelings are some sort of prognostic indicator for the state of our lives. ⠀

If we are feeling good, then yay! All is ok in life (for now, at least).

If we are feeling shit? Oh no! Something is wrong and must be fixed. 

When we think that a bad feeling means something is wrong,  we pay MORE attention to the thoughts in our mind. 

The worse we feel, the more we look for the reason (Is it work? Partner? Bank balance? Lack of life purpose? Appearance? To-do list?) so we can go about solving it. 

BUT IT works the opposite way 

This perfectly-designed alert system will show us, via a bad feeling, to step away from what we think. Disregard. Dismiss. Put down. 

The situations and things and people in your life are not the problem. The quality of your thoughts are the problem – and they aren’t a problem! 

So there’s no problem. 

An awesome notification system…that we don’t use

Feelings are the coolest notification system, yet we completely misunderstand how awesome and simple this is. ⠀

We all have thoughts like: I can’t do this / It will all go wrong / I will die alone, penniless, under a bushel wearing just one shoe… and the incessant ‘What if…?’ chorus which underpins the human condition. ⠀
When we think those thoughts, we feel shit.

That. That shit feeling right there is your little alert. 

That’s your cue to ‘remember’ that those thoughts aren’t true and don’t need to be dabbled with. ⠀

Can you see how liberating this could be? If you are feeling bad, your incredible inbuilt alert system is calling bullshit on your thoughts. 

Your feelings are waking you up to the fact that your thoughts need not be believed, much less acted upon. ⠀

Of course it works this way 

When I was coming across this understanding of how humans work that we talk about around here, learning that feelings were only and ever alerting me to poor-quality, untrustworthy thinking made sense. 

Nature has us covered in so many ways – 

We feel the heaviness of fatigue when we need to sleep

We feel the discomfort of hunger when we need to eat  

We feel a jolt of pain when we need to stop touching that hot or sharp thing 

We feel a shit feeling when we need to stop believing our thoughts. 

Trust it. ⠀

P.S. If you are like: “Yeah but my thoughts are true though, and some stuff might actually happen, so I can’t just ignore them!” then give me a shout