Can You Form a Habit of Feeling Good?

This week I noticed that I had meaningful exchanges.

Let’s examine that statement for a moment.

First, I noticed.  I noticed because I recognized that some of the experiences contained elements I set out to create more of.

Second, when I say meaningful exchanges I mean interactions with people that provided me uplifting experiences.

In each of the instance I felt validated.  There was a sense of appreciation expressed toward me, and I appreciated that in return.

All of them came unexpectedly, from people I already knew and cared about.

This is significant because this is one of my five core experiences I intended to experience more of.  They weren’t all necessarily related to my creative outputs like music and blogging, but in each instance someone recognized that I made a unique contribution to their life.  And that brought me a particular feeling.

Now, I believe I make good contributions all the time, and people do show their appreciation, too.  What is often missing is that feeling.  I specifically listed those five experiences because they all are the main reasons behind all my important pursuits in life, but yet I experience those feelings rarely.  My emotional muscle is weak, so even if a particular situation contained elements that could trigger that desirable emotion, I often don’t feel it, don’t recognize it.

In a strange and unexpected way, I believe the concept of “practices makes perfect” applies to how you feel.

We form habits around familiar feelings, even though some of those familiar feelings may not be desirable.  Oddly, some of these habits also are indicators of emotional muscle being weak.  Just like the real muscle, when you don’t have enough of it it’s harder to control movements.  Some weak spots in our emotional muscle manifest in the form of us not feeling a particular feeling even when a situation called for it.  Conversely, other weak spots show up in the form of us feeling it all the time even when we don’t have to feel that way.

How can we steer our emotional being to a more balanced state?

My current experiment is to apply the concept of practice to feeling.  I remind myself of the experiences I wish to have.  I pay attention to the sensation of that feeling using my imagination and memory.  The other practice is to recognize the feelings I’m too stuck on and feel those properly, again by paying attention to it without resistance.

I am grateful for these meaningful exchanges, and I like to experience more of it.  I want that to become the norm, oft-experienced piece of my life.  I believe that the way to enhance and grow that experience is to practice feeling that feeling, which leads to my recognizing it more often, allowing it to get triggered more easily.  My life may not change dramatically but my perception of it will, my experience of living it will.

At least that’s what I hope.  This is all an experiment.