Why feelings deserve our attention

Many of the people I coach are, or share similarities with, Myers-Briggs INTJs or Enneagram Type 5s. (I am an INTJ and Type 5, myself.)

I’m often working with people who are very goal-oriented and intellectually focused. Thus, our conversations are frequently about what’s on their mind, their actions (or lack thereof), and the results they’re creating (or not).

I don’t think it’s that they believe feelings aren’t important.

Maybe it’s just that they don’t have as much experience giving space to their feelings.

Perhaps they see emotions like the weather–out of their control and sometimes unpredictable.

Ultimately, as long as they see the results they want, they don’t need to give too much attention to their feelings.

But have you ever woken up feeling “meh”–not motivated to do your morning meditation or too lazy to execute your action plan for the day?

Have you ever felt disappointed that you weren’t as productive as you had hoped despite spending months developing a personal knowledge management (PKM) system? Has a feeling of hopelessness driven you to give up on your PKM? Has hope inspired you to create a new PKM using a different app?

Have you ever felt the fear of missing out when consuming content? Perhaps you’ve excessively highlighted a book because you were worried that you might have to re-read it if you missed something? Maybe you’ve given up reading because you felt overwhelmed by the badge count on your read-it-later app?

Our feelings drive our behaviours.

While it’s true that you can take action despite not feeling like it, doing so requires willpower.

And that can quickly become draining.

In The Way of Integrity, Martha Beck describes this as acting out of integrity:

You’re trying to act in ways that don’t feel right to you at the deepest level. Whenever we do this, our lives begin to go pear-shaped. Emotionally, we feel grumpy, sad, or numb. Physically, our immune systems and muscles weaken; we might get sick, and even if we don’t, our energy flattens. Mentally, we lose focus and clarity. That’s how it feels to be out of integrity.

There are real consequences when we don’t give our feelings the attention they demand.

When you don’t make the time and effort to understand how you’re feeling each day, you may leave your results to fate.

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