We all have a compass that guides us in our decision-making. Imagine that you are thinking, “I’m so angry right now.” Now imagine that while you think that thought, you then experience an emotional response and now feel the anger and all the emotions, including the physical response to that thought of, I’m so angry. Now, imagine even further if you react, act, respond, or make a decision from the emotional state of anger. Would the reaction, action, response, or decision serve you? Would it be the compass that you would want to follow?
This is really important because our decisions are made from how we feel, or how we think it will make us feel, or how we want to feel. Your emotions are your compass.
In this share I want to guide you in creating an emotional compass to help you find your true north.
We are currently experiencing a lot of emotions during this COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us are feeling very normal emotions to an abnormal situation. And even when we get through this crisis, life is sometimes hard and we experience so many emotions. We have an ever moving and vast emotional scale. In the book, Ask and It Is Given, by Esther & Jerry Hicks, they describe the scale as this:
- Positive Expectation/Belief
We can either move down the scale with the decisions we make, or we can move up.
Step 1: Claim How You Feel
The first month after the stay-at-home order was issued, I was feeling discouraged. I would look at my endless to-do list and all the things I wanted to do, but I wasn’t feeling enthusiastic about doing it. Instead of bypassing the normal emotions I was feeling in a very abnormal situation, I claimed how I was feeling, which is the first step. Claim it before it claims you. “This is how I’m currently feeling (discouraged) and that is okay.” By claiming it, I was instantly able to move up the scale a bit. “Of course you are feeling discouraged. Look what is happening in the world right now. This is hard.” I didn’t go straight to how I wanted to feel yet, but it was at least slightly better. I went from feeling discouraged to frustrated about what is happening around the globe and the affect it is having (moving up).
Step 2: Acknowledge How You Want To Feel
If our emotions inform our decisions, and they do, the second step is to acknowledge how I would prefer to feel. “I would prefer to move up the emotional to enthusiasm/eagerness and also empowerment.”
Step 3: Take Action Based On How You Want To Feel
Now that I knew how I would prefer to feel, but also not bypassing how I was feeling and trying to pretend and fake it, I was able to think of the actions, including my thoughts and attitude that I could take to move up the emotional scale. When I was making decisions from the place of discouragement, I wasn’t taking any action on my to-do list or projects. I was doing busy work, saying to myself, “I’ll wait until I’m in the mood.” But the thing is, I wasn’t getting in the mood because making the decision from the way I didn’t want to feel just made me feel more of what I was feeling because I was continuing the same cycle and that was also making me move down the scale, instead of up, because I started to feel guilty, and my self-worth started to come into question. That didn’t feel good. To move up the scale, I needed to start to make decisions from how I wanted to feel.
I asked myself: What decisions would I make if I want to feel enthusiasm and Eagerness and feel empowered?
I took that question and created a plan. What I did was create a plan for the week in my agenda just focusing on three main tasks per day, with times attached to them. I started with things that I knew I could complete with ease and that I knew I could do all the way (instead of leaving it unfinished). I gave the tasks 1-hour manageable blocks so that I could avoid overwhelm and move right up the emotional scale to hopefulness and the more I did and the more I completed, even though it was all baby tasks, moved me up the scale, instead of down. I didn’t go right up the scale instantly, but I was able to move up with each decision I made and each promise I kept to myself – doing it even before the mood struck, knowing that the aligned action would improve my mood.
All you are doing here is making your decisions from how you want to feel, instead of from the place you don’t want to feel, but also being kind to yourself knowing that it is okay to feel whatever it is you are feeling. Feel me? You are giving yourself a different compass to follow – finding your true north so that you don’t take up permanent residence in fear or grief as an example.
Using The Emotional Scale To Make Decisions That Get You To Your True North
1. Claim how you are currently feeling. Take a look at the emotional scale above. Where are you? Take full responsibility for it and give yourself grace. You feel it, it matters, period.
2. How do you want to feel instead?
3. What actions, reactions, responses, or decisions can you take to help you move up towards the way you want to feel? Decide what you really want and be purposeful and deliberate. I encourage you to establish a daily routine, even little rituals that will help you to keep your compass calibrated and continuously moving towards what you want, even if it feels slow.
This decision making tool can be used in so many ways, not just with regards to what is on the emotional scale above. You want to feel healthy and energized. Will this meal enhance or decrease my desire to feel healthy and energized? You want to feel joy and appreciation with your friendships. Does this friendship enhance or decrease my desire to feel joy? You are getting into a new relationship, or are struggling in your current one. Will this, or is this, relationship enhancing or decrease my desire to feel loved?
4. Keep your promise to yourself and don’t wait to get in the mood because the mood might not strike. Throw yourself into an action that allows you to feel even just slightly better. It is a process of consciously being aware of how you are feeling, and deciding if you are okay with where you are. This puts you in the driver’s seat of your life, consciously moving up or down the emotional scale.
Let’s take the conversation above even further.
- Think about every area of your life. What do you need to feel the way you want to feel and what will it take? For example, what will make you feel loved? What do you need to feel loved? Go through each life area: your career, relationships, personal and professional growth, your health, even your finances. How do you want to feel in each area and what will it take to achieve it?
- Are the current actions, thoughts, reactions, response and decisions currently supporting the way you want to feel, or enhancing how you don’t want to feel even further?
“The greatest gift that you could ever give to another is your own happiness. For when you are in a state of joy, happiness, or appreciation, you are fully connected to the stream of pure, positive Source Energy that is truly who you are. And when you are in that state of connection, anything or anyone that you are holding as your object of attention benefits from your attention.”Esther & Jerry Hicks, Ask & It Is Given