Emotions - Early Warning Alarm System
Your emotions are part of your early warning alarm system. They are a signal. They are our body and mind’s way of telling us when things are going off-track somewhere in our lives. Unfortunately, many of us are very good at ignoring these signals. That’s what I did for most of my life. I believed the BS around, “if you think positively enough, everything will be great and you will attract the life of your dreams”.
We must learn to acknowledge and accept our emotions – only then can we find a way through them.
There Are Only Two Key Emotions – Fear and Love
All human actions are motivated at their deepest level by two key emotions: fear or love. You can only choose one at a time. All other emotions and feelings are based within one or the other. All positive emotions such as joy, happiness, contentment and peace flow from love; and all negative emotions such as annoyance, anger, hate, jealousy and anxiety flow from fear. We cannot feel these two emotions at the same time, so if we are in a place of love, we are not in a place of fear, and when we are in a place of fear, we can’t be in a place of love.
The closer you can come to identifying your emotions as love or fear, the closer you are to determining which emotion is driving you. You will find that fear affects your whole life and is the cause of most your problems.
After reading the above paragraph in my book Whoops there it goes again, Kate, my wonderful editor made the following statement:
“Just a thought here. I think love can also be damaging if we spend all of our energy making other people happy, rather than looking after ourselves. Also, can’t love lead to problems, e.g. with food and weight? If you show your love through feeding, this can damage the ones on the receiving end of your food.”
I thought this was an excellent point and definitely worth exploring further.
Spending all our energy trying to make others happy is very common. Especially in women and particularly in mothers. In my experience, this nearly always stems from a basis of fear. Whether that is a fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of confrontation or the most common is the good old “I’m not good enough” fear.
Let me give you an example...
Bridie is a 40-year-old mother of three grown-up boys, who are all still living at home. She works part-time in her own business and sometimes struggles to keep the plates spinning. She loves her family and wants them to be happy and healthy. She gets up early to make sure the house is clean and tidy. She spends hours planning and cooking healthy meals for them every day. She cooks, she cleans, she washes and irons. She tries to keep the peace between the four grown men in her house and spends her weekends doing whatever the family wants to do. She is exhausted. There’s just is no time for her. She is so busy making sure everyone else is happy that she has no time for herself.
Bridie thinks everything must be perfect for her family to be happy. She fears letting her family down. She is scared of what her husband will say if dinner is not on the table at the right time. Or what her friends will think if the house is a mess. She thinks she must be the perfect mum and wife. She thinks her sole job is to make her family happy. Although Bridie may think her actions are born out of love for her family, in reality, they are based in fear.
Sam is a 40-year-old mother of three grown-up boys, who are all still living at home. She works part-time in her own business and sometimes struggles to keep the plates spinning. She loves her family and wants them to be happy and healthy. She didn’t seem to have time for herself anymore. She likes to read and meditate, visit friends or watch a movie but there always seemed to be more important things to do. She commits to find some “me time” in her day.
She starts to think about ways she could free up time. Perhaps she could do her shopping online rather than struggling to get to the supermarket? Or she could send her husband or one of the boys with a list? She explained to her family that she wasn’t happy and asked for their help. She asked them to help out around the house more. She drew up a simple chores list. Perhaps they could each be responsible for dinner one day a week? They each agreed to pay an extra £6 housekeeping every week, so she could get a cleaner to come in for a couple of hours. Gradually she managed to claw back some precious “me time”.
Sam understands that her happiness is as important as her family's happiness. She deserves to have some quality me time. Her decisions are made from a basis of love for herself.
Kate’s second example about love and comfort leading to problems with food and weight is also worth considering. Many of us associate food with treats, awards, celebrations, and happiness. Those of us that eat for comfort do so because for the short time we are eating, we feel happier. The food fulfils a need in us that is not being met elsewhere. Whether that need is loneliness, boredom or anxiety – they are all based in fear.
Get into the habit of checking in with your emotions and ask yourself whether you are coming from a place of love or fear.
For example, I am “nearly vegan” – which is a great phrase I read on Facebook recently. At the end of December 2014, someone challenged me to Veganuary (which I can’t ever manage to say without making it sound rather rude!). It basically means you eat a vegan diet for the whole of January.
So – no dairy, fish, meat or animal products of any kind. For 31 days. I had been studying the research behind dairy and meat products in relation to cancer, so I thought, “why not?”. I didn’t eat a huge amount of meat anyway. Not only was it one of the easiest things I had ever done, but I felt great. I had an endless supply of energy, and I never felt bloated, so I decided to stay with it since then.
I eat out a lot, so I occasionally have dairy and the odd piece of fish, especially if I am on holiday, but I am mainly a vegan. That decision was based out of love for myself – I felt awesome and wanted to carry on feeling that way. The fact that I felt that it was hugely beneficial for my body was a super added benefit.
I have a friend that has also gone through cancer and is desperately trying to be a vegan at the moment. She constantly worries that if she eats meat, dairy or sugar, her cancer will come back. She is coming from a place of fear.
Once we notice that we are in fear, we can choose to act out of love instead. To decide to trust that things will work out, to be compassionate and open, and to feel connected to others and the world.