As humans, we are a people of feeling. It is in everyone’s genetic makeup to access a range of various emotions at different points in time. We know pain, we know joy, we know happiness, we know sorrow, we know fear, sadness and many more. This ability, I believe is a huge plus for us, it puts us in the driver’s seat to be a part of whatever moment or season we are going through.
Over time, one thing that happens to us whether knowingly or unknowingly, is that we start to have preferences. There are things that you prefer done in some certain ways and you are totally unaware of how you got there in the first place. How did you get to prefer one color over another and one kind of meal over the next? Some of us can remember vivid examples of what got us where we are, and this ability makes us more fascinating beings as well.
One of the interesting preferences we have come to have over time is a preference for how we want to feel all the time. The feelings we always want to have are the ‘good feelings’. We want to always feel that we are safe, in a position of comfort, enjoyment and as far away from pain as possible. This is why some of us were very good kids back then, we knew revolting and stubbornness will put us in trouble, and we didn’t want to feel pain. So we spent our time doing the things that will get us rewards and not a good smacking.
Now as youths and grown-ups, we still subtly carry the mindset that we are only interested in feeling good all the time. If you don’t ‘feel like it‘ then it shouldn’t be done. I must state here that there are two ways to view this matter. There are feelings that seem to many to be like a direction, like sensing when doing something is right or wrong. Many would say words like “I feel led by the Spirit to do this” or “I didn’t feel like taking that step was a right move”. That’s different from a general feeling that you have when you don’t want to eat because you don’t feel like. We are concentrating on this latter kind of feeling.
Now, we see many people who know right from wrong but choose to do wrong because they don’t feel like doing the right thing. Sound familiar? “Oh, why didn’t you return the book you borrowed?” You get an answer like “I wanted to, but I didn’t feel like doing it at the moment even though it went against the agreed time”. You see, many of us are guilty of this on several levels, and the truth is that it can easily become a bad habit that can affect every area of our lives. You just find yourself not achieving much on various fronts because you didn’t feel like doing so.
I am not even saying these feelings are not legit, they actually are real. And as I mentioned earlier we all access these various emotions. Most people don’t feel like getting up from bed every day to go to work or pick up the little baby when after barely one hour of sleep he cries out again, but we do so don’t we? Sometimes you are so tired and you feel like just being alone and then your good friends are suddenly in the neighborhood. They want to stop by and have fun with you, the interesting thing is even though you don’t feel like it, you let them in and you all have a great time. Remember that you never felt like it in the first place.
You’ll find out that many of the times these feelings deceive us and listening to them all the time and not taking control of our lives will put us in trouble. Remember your childhood crush? What happened to all those feelings you had back then or how they look so different now (in not a good way), your feelings didn’t know who was really hot 😂
If you are to travel to another country on a business trip and you are to get your visa but you don’t feel like going through all that stress and documentation, and finally you don’t do so. There’s only one result, you are not going anywhere. Period!
It is possible to rightfully desire something and at the same time not feel like going through with it, and if feelings win, nothing is going to happen, even though or pulling though would have been great.
If you find yourself in this position, I also have found myself in similar positions many times (which is good news for you because you need to realize you are not alone). The truth is you are currently giving selective excuses because of the reason for your feelings. It is important to mention this because you always think your feelings are justified.
But hey, you are alive and reading this, and it means that you have been eating food, even when you don’t have an appetite. You have been eating meals you didn’t have a feeling or craving for. It’s likely that some meals are very repeated in your plate and you still sit there and stuff them down your throat. You know why? It’s because it is no longer about the feelings but about the greater goal of staying alive and healthy!
You won’t want to go to work throughout an entire week without having your bath and brushing your teeth because you don’t feel like taking your bath and brushing your teeth for a whole week! (We need to know you and mark you if you do this). And you won’t do that because the right and expected thing to do is to be clean and smell good irrespective of how you feel. This proves to you that whenever you make excuses based solely on how you feel, you are actually being partial because you are not thinking about the things you don’t feel like doing but you do anyway.
I’ll dive a little deeper so you can have a better grasp on this. Due to our feeling nature, you’ll find out that we want to move from one feeling to another feeling while going through the journey. When you understand this concept, you’ll laugh at yourself when you are about to make this mistake.
Let’s say you want to read a book, you want to feel like reading it first so that in the end you will gain another important feeling like feeling accomplished and fulfilled. This means you want to first have a ‘reading feeling’ to get to an ‘accomplishment feeling’ of having finished the book. If you don’t get that reading feeling first, then you aren’t interested in feeling the power of accomplishment when the result is achieved. Since it’s all a game of actions vs feelings, it’s important to position yourself to win.
Isn’t the end more important than the beginning, and the results more important than how you started? Then it’s important to get yourself in that zone where how you feel when you are to do what needs to be done doesn’t interfere with the results you should achieve.
I can’t remember any student I knew that loved going to school because of academics, many of us just wanted to play or stay at home all the time. But our parents and guardians forced it on us to ensure we saw it through! And even though it wasn’t every day we enjoyed going for classes, lectures and even writing exams, we made it through all the same! Now looking back, we have that feeling of achievement and pride that it was something that was achieved, even though all through the journey we didn’t feel like finishing it all those years at the University!
It’s the same with giving, helping people and giving support. You may not feel like doing any of these things before you do them, in fact, it’s better to do them because they are right. But at the end of the day, the feeling of fulfillment and also being overwhelmed with love becomes the most important thing to you at that moment. There is a way reality dawns on you when you finish something and see the benefits, the hard times suddenly become worth it. This is where you want to be all the time!
You must become someone who makes truth and the understanding of what is required of you in every situation become what directs your actions. If someone you trust hurts you, confronting the person to let him know what he just did hurts would be the right way out, but you may not feel like doing it. Not doing it because you don’t feel like could make you slide into resentment and bitterness. Meanwhile, the exact opposite would get you peace and possibly clarity too. Learn to let the truth guide your actions more.
When Jesus says “Love your neighbor as yourself”, it is a direct command. He isn’t saying love your neighbors only when you feel like, or when you are in the best mood. It means that regardless of how you feel at any point, He is telling you that you must love all the same.
It’s the same with prayer, word study or even learning a new skill. No one feels like doing these things every time. But your ability to do these things because they are right and not because you feel like doing it will help you achieve way more in your life than you can ever imagine. Sometimes it’s good to act like a robot too, you are fully conscious that you have no exciting feelings towards the things you want to accomplish, yet you are getting yourself to doing it regardless.
Love, as you will find out as you go on in life has very little to do with how you feel. In fact, you’ll find out that you experience the feeling of love after you have acted in love. Many of us want to feel love as an emotion before we act it out, it should not be so. Love has more to do with making you responsible for so many people and things.
You must find yourself asking “What does love demand from me at this very moment even though I don’t feel like doing anything about it?” Whatever the answer to that is, go ahead and do it like a robot. Don’t bother about it not feeling right, because going through with it will always give you the right results. It is the same with commitment, whenever you commit to doing something, learn to see it through regardless of how you feel. You chose to commit to it, didn’t you? Then see it through!
So did I feel like writing this article you are reading right now? Absolutely not! Do you think I always feel like sacrificing some of my time to come up with concepts for you to read and be inspired by? Not all the time. I love it, but it doesn’t mean I always feel like doing it! But do I feel fulfilled when I am done and you have learned a thing or two? Absolutely!
I have learned to work beyond how I feel to get the desired results, and you must do that too to make the most of your life. Let this be your new perspective to life, actions over feelings.
The right actions will make you feel the right feelings at the end of the day, but you don’t need to feel good to get there at all. This view has changed my life and is revolutionizing how I now do things, and the results have been massive. I believe you can do the same too and get the best results for yourself. I just thought to share.
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