We are far too often under the impression that all we are, all we evolve into is due to our actions, what we present towards the outside. But no matter how much we try to fetishize the rational, intellectual part of our nature we, being creatures of emotional nature as well, have to admit the emotional, interior aspect of every action that we take.
The ideal then would be to achieve the best we can in terms of balance between these two sides. Balance in terms of being aware of the emotion and its origin and forming our response appropriately. If there isn’t emotion behind everything we do then we can say, with almost being certain, that we are not actually living and experiencing but merely existing.
Back to plain English here, shall we?
What I found is that everything we do begs for intention which in turn gives purpose. That simple, you see. Here are three things (even though I decided not to make more list articles) that can bring your two sides, rational and emotional into sync at a rather faster rate.
Start living with intention
I believe I wrote about this one some time ago, but due to its importance it’s no harm mentioning it again. It’s rather crucial here.
You see, in modern psychology, mature person is defined as someone who is being able to control his outwards reaction to the emotions that are happening inside.
So being emotionally aware as a background to our actions seems to be the start.
But as time passes by I sense that every one of us is more and more detached from the emotional side, and we go through life unintentionally; without background behind our actions; on autopilot, if you ask me.
You see, we drive to work for something less than an hour, do our thing when we get there, go through with the role we have in social and family circles unaware of our intention and emotions controlling our behavior. We are being trained, or dare I say conditioned to act like this or that. Not a lot of second thought.
But what I have found by listening and reading to people much smarter than me, is that everything is more vivid, more dynamic, with a sharper sense of purpose, and after all more fruitful in any way whatsoever when we find our intention behind it, our driving motivation, emotion.
If we want to improve our quality of life we must create that link.
It takes two for tango – Our actions and our emotions or motives (purpose).
And we can get there only by constantly being able to question the link between what we do and why we do it, or eventually how we feel about it.
Here is a challenge – before doing anything else today, make a conscious intention about it first. Even the small things matter. Want to get off your chair and check the phone in the next room? Well, do it intentionally. Once you start to practice this habit, you’ll notice how many of the things that we do daily are simply a residue of an autopilot program set perhaps years back. How there is an emotional pull to distract your mind with something, and you are giving in without a single thought.
For some people it runs deep enough that they are not fully present in the here-and-now, and go throughout their day rarely aware of what is going on. They can pass through the hallway and take a hold of one of those door installed home pull up bars, without a particular intention, do a set of 5 and not be present for a single one, completely missing out on the sensation.
Use cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology is something that many experts claim to have the power to create the link we talked about.
In translation, or by simpler definition, it is the process of reacting or responding the way we would have if we were to experience a certain emotion. Only this time we formulate the response as to trigger the emotion – hence the reverse aspect of it.
You see, even years ago back to Darwin, it was found that many emotions can be perceived by simply observing facial expressions. If we smile we are happy, if we cry we are sad.
The thing is that the link between the facial expression and the emotion itself has been evolving centuries back, and therefore they became almost inseparable.
The trick here is to call upon emotions by the way in which you present yourself. Try to smile even when something is not going well enough. Change the way you look, be more positive through expression and body language, and you will be able to enter in a different emotional state easily.
This deserves some more elaborating, so I promise another article about it in the future.
The more you connect your actions with an emotional response, the more meaningful life you’ll create for yourself.
Imagine sitting down for a meal, and expressing gratitude even though you are on a strict diet. Instead of allowing yourself to become frustrated, put on a smile, appreciate the fact that you are taking care of yourself, and savor the meal no matter how lean and tasteless. I did this on my first strict diet regimen, and it became far easier to endure the entire process. I never once craced cheat meals, and stopped feeling frustrated over what I ate. Instead, I felt grateful and excited for making progress.
Add more meaning and intention into the way you respond
This means invest yourself more in any interaction. When you hear something interesting or read something thought provoking, never hesitate to engage, to comment, to react. You see, the volume of your response, with emotions and all, formulates a part of your persona. It builds your character.
I was thinking recently about how we evolve rather backwards with this one. We are getting used to sneak our way out of having to emotionally engage into forming our responses. Like hitting the “like” button on Facebook. How lame of a response is that, huh? I will certainly try to stop doing that.
That’s just us being too afraid to engage, to invest ourselves. If we have people in our lives that feel the need to interact in this fashion, then our responses are the ones taking the hit. Our way of engaging, our way of investing ourselves, hence developing the link between our actions and our emotions.
Forming the link between our emotions and our actions in turn leads to being more aware of our purpose, being fulfilled and content with all that we do. Everything other than that is frustration, smaller or larger based upon the volume of the discrepancy or lack of the link itself.
We are emotional creatures who constantly try to rationalize. Being like this, while also being creatures of comfort which even Sigmund Freud suggests, we are better off connecting these two natures of ours.
Image credit: By richard_baxter