So, I am almost finished with Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and after posting the previous chapter of the book, I only managed to read one more chapter after that and this chapter is the one that I would be sharing with you all today. It is the eighty-eighth chapter of the book and it talks about listening to our feelings.
This is what Richard Carlson has to say:
You have at your disposal a foolproof guidance system to navigate you through life. This system, which consists solely of your own feelings, lets you know whether you are off track and headed toward unhappiness and conflict–or on track, headed toward peace of mind. Your feelings act as a barometer, letting you know what your internal weather is like.
When you’re not caught up in your thinking, taking things too seriously, your feelings will be generally positive. They will be affirming that you are using your thinking to your advantage. No mental adjustment needs to be made.
When your experience in life is other than pleasant–when you’re feeling angry, resentful, depressed, stressed out, frustrated, and so forth, your warning system of feelings kicks in like a red flag to remind you that you are off track, that it’s time to ease up on your thinking, you’ve lost perspective. Mental adjustment does need to be made. You can think of your negative feelings in the same way you think of the warning lights on the dashboard of your car. When flashing, they let you know that it’s time to ease up.
Contrary to popular belief, negative feelings don’t need to be studied and analyzed. When you analyze your negative feelings, you’ll usually end up with more of them to contend with.
The next time you’re feeling bad, rather than getting stuck in “analysis paralysis”, wondering why you feel the way you do, see if instead you can use your feelings to guide you back in the direction toward sincerity. Don’t pretend that the negative feelings don’t exist, but try to recognize that the reason you’re feeling sad, angry, stressed, or whatever is that you are taking life too seriously–you are “sweating the small stuff”. Instead of rolling up your sleeves and fighting life, back off, take a few deep breaths, and relax. Remember, life isn’t an emergency unless you make it so.
This chapter also falls into the category of the chapters that I don’t really agree much into. I think, however, that sometimes you just have to fight back because people may take advantage of you if you don’t. And, I think it’s okay to fight back. To stop people from bullying you or bullying others–and there are many forms of bullying. I also don’t agree that we have to always rely on our feelings.
I remember, back when I was still in high school, one of our teachers said that there is a reason why God placed the brain above the heart, and that is to allow us to think before we act out on our feelings. To be smart. True, there are times when we have to trust our instincts–our guts–but unlike what Richard Carlson says in this chapter, I don’t think we should simply let our feelings be our guide. I think we should make use of both our brains and our hearts. They are there for a reason, after all.