From Feelings to Commitment (and Action)
The first quarter has come and gone. Perhaps you, like me, are mourning some of the dreams and ideas you set out with at the beginning of the year. Perhaps you’re saddened by the news or fearful of what is to come. You are not alone. I feel all this too.
I feel afraid. I’m mourning the loss of things I had been looking forward to, things my kids had been counting on. I feel uncertain about not knowing what is coming… I get uncomfortable without a clear plan. At the same time though, I also feel hopeful for something really good happening. I feel inspired by things: I’m enjoying the unstructured time at home with family, finding new ways to connect. I feel peaceful and I trust that God’s got this.
Feelings Can Co-exist
I feel all these things. How about you? It’s super normal to have lots of feelings right now (and always). I’ve learned over these last few years that it’s healthy to allow feelings to co-exist. When navigating deep sadness around the decline of my parents, I noticed there were joy-filled moments mixed in with the sadness. Instead of feeling like I had to stay in the pit of despair, I found that I could move between—and as I did, the joy had room to expand.
Feel the feelings. Just remember, they aren’t in charge. You are.
The key is what you do next. A client once made a great analogy: your feelings are like small children: you keep them strapped in the back seat when driving the car. They’re important and get to be heard, but they don’t sit in the front seat or drive the car—you do!
Keep Moving Forward: Commitments vs. Feelings
So, how do you keep the feelings in check? I’ve found it helpful to get really clear about what my commitments are. Because on any given day, my feelings can travel all over the place. It’s the commitments that ground me in action. If I know what I’m committed to, then I can show up and honor that commitment even when I don’t feel so inclined. I’ve found that when I do this, it avoids all the overthinking of whether I should, could, or want to. The next thing I know, I’m in action, then the action is complete and things are one step closer to that commitment or desired outcome. This works!
What would happen if you did this too? How might your day be different if you woke up with your big commitments in place, and then lined up your actions accordingly? The trick here is that your feelings WILL show up and try to derail you; your job is to return to your commitments again and again and simply take the next action in spite of those feelings.
So, in this season full of lots of feelings, ask yourself: Who do I want to be? What is it I want to remember about this time? What commitments can I make to stay on track?