As we reviewed last month, our foundational beliefs are often the epicenter of a triggered emotional response. Sometimes our emotions influence or create beliefs. These emotional experiences can create new truths in our lives. These truths sometimes are correct and sometimes they create false truths. For instance, I have had many prolonged trips to Connecticut from South Jersey due to traffic, accidents, and construction. It got to the point where I hated traveling to Connecticut. Just hearing the word Connecticut made my blood pressure and cortisol level rise. Due to my experience with several prolonged delays creating excessive unwanted stress in my life, over time I developed a very negative opinion about traveling to Connecticut. Basically, I vowed to my wife, "I will never travel to Connecticut again!" and "I hate Connecticut!". From an emotional response due to many negative experiences, I created this belief that I hated Connecticut. I know this sounds extreme but believe me I have reasoning for such a strong position on Connecticut. My validation stems from a 3-hour trip on Google Maps that turned into 6-hours, thus making me late for a wedding and forcing me to show up in shorts as I had no time to change prior to missing the entire ceremony. The aforementioned accumulation of unfortunate events seemed like the final straw for me to permanently close the door on my travels to Connecticut. My emotional response created a new "truth" that I hated Connecticut and wasn't going back. It took me a few years but I realized my feelings about Connecticut may have been short sited after my wife became tired of hearing me complain about a conference I had to attend in Connecticut and booked me a train. After a wonderful experience on Amtrak and a great conference at a fancy resort I began to create positive feelings towards Connecticut. My relationship with Connecticut was suddenly blossoming and revitalized. Realizing my emotions created a false belief, I felt somewhat betrayed by myself as how could I have allowed this to happen. Ironically, at the same time, I became excited at the new possibilities of re-exploring Connecticut and other areas in my life I may have been creating false beliefs.
Can you look for any false beliefs in your life and identify their life changing implications? Are we building walls around us for self-preservation and by doing so stripping our lives from new experiences? I’d like to encourage you to look for these walls and start chipping away at their foundation to open up your life to a more richer experience. By avoiding conflict, for self-preservation, we may be stripping ourselves from truths and life experiences. Allowing emotions to make decisions can push us towards undesired outcomes as fear dictates and not your ability to objectively evaluate the situation. I challenge you to regain control of your life by acknowledging and redirecting these emotional surges for deeper self-exploration and understanding. Ask yourself what are these emotions trying to tell me and why am I feeling this way? Instead of getting tripped up with your emotions and creating false worlds or realities leverage them to find understanding and creative new solutions in your life. Your emotions are reaching out to you to convey information that you need to understand to harvest optional meaningful outcomes that are important to the way you work and interact with the world around you. Are you allowing the waves in your life to crush you, are you surfing them, or are you watching them from shore?