THE BLOG
02/26/2016 11:36 am ET Updated Feb 26, 2017

Understanding How Our Feelings Can Benefit Us

Feelings are the language of the soul. They are the light guiding us through our lives, reassuring us when a situation is safe, or warning us to stay away. If we follow our feelings, we follow our truth. Yet, there is an important distinction between the truth of our being and the falseness of our ego. How, then, can we be sure we are tapping into the purity of our feelings, and not some mind-made rubbish? How do we know that our feelings -- as we perceive them -- are truly serving us?

In order to proceed, it's important to differentiate between truth and ego. The concept of ego has a different meaning in spirituality than it does in psychology or psychiatry. Ego refers to when we act according to the standards of others; when we try to please those around us even if doing so goes against our own best interests. Ego is the part of the mind that is competitive, that makes us feel we do not have enough, or worse, that we are not enough. It is always striving for more and not finding contentment with people, places and things as they are. Ego plays off of the short-lived satisfaction you derive from acquiring your new house, relationship, promotion or material possession. Having achieved such aims, the ego continues to seek more. In its essence, the ego is the part of the mind that is fear-based.

Your truth is contrary to everything the ego stands for. When you listen to your truth, you hear what is right for your life's path without deferring to those around you. Your truth honors your uniqueness and purpose. When we act out of truth, we do not act to please others by purchasing possessions we don't need, staying in jobs that don't serve our true talents, or overriding our better judgment. We experience more joy because we are more content with our surroundings.

At the core, human beings have just two states of mind, fear and love; and, to live in truth is to live with love. All other emotions -- and actions -- stem from those two primary options. To live in fear is to be attached to everything external, all the worries of the ego. To live with love/truth is to bring good energy to each activity and encounter. This good energy can be contentment, acceptance, happiness or hopefulness. It does not mean jumping for joy at all times, because that is not realistic. However, it does mean becoming aware of your state of mind and consistently trying to elevate it, even if just a little bit. The older we get, the more we have to work on optimism. It ceases to come naturally in the way that it does for children. However, it can be done. It takes an exceptionally lazy or ego-based mind to back out of working towards contentment.

This brings us back the original question of how we know when our feelings are serving us. To answer it, we first have to ask ourselves if our thoughts and actions, at the core, are coming from a place of fear or love. If our "feelings" are telling us to do something because of how it will look in the minds of others, that is not truth. However, if our feelings are telling us to do something because it will give us pure joy and delight, that is truth.

Taking this one step further, we have to honor those around us and our own life circumstances. For example, if your feelings tell you it will be exciting to purchase a new car when you are already burdened by a lot of debt, or if your feelings tell you to go out with someone because you are attracted to them even though you are already dating someone else, then listening would once again be to act out of ego rather than respecting the whole truth of your situation.

So, once you decipher whether you are acting out of love or fear, you have to make sure your actions fall into line with the bigger picture of your life. It is when these two factors are in alignment that we know our feelings are serving to benefit us.

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