God endows us with several kinds of thought processes. One of these thought processes is emotion. (The other two are data collection and manipulation thinking and creative thinking.) Emotional thinking takes the highest priority in the thinking process and therefore can be overwhelming when emotional loads occur. Emotions can leave us tired when positive or negative. Negative emotions usually take a larger toll because we don’t want them and resist emoting them.

  • God has given us feelings (emotions). We need to let them show in relationships. The emotions express our unique nature and allow us to be something other than a copy of someone else.  

  • Feelings are psychological nerves to sense what is occurring in relationships. We have only two basic emotions. They are attraction and rejection. From attraction and rejection come the two best understood responses to our emotions, moving closer and moving away. While we cannot see the emotion in the other person’s brain, we can see the behavioral response. The behavioral response will likely be a combination of words and behavior. (Words and behavior are the two basic components of COMMUNICATION.)  If we allow our emotions to govern our behavior, we may be pitched to and fro with little or no self-control.  If we study the words and behaviors of the other person, we can choose how to respond from the emotional cooling or heating.  How Do Feelings Tell Us What to Do?

  • Feelings play a big part in relationships. We get into relationships because people usually expect that relationships will usually feel good. Feelings give clear or clarifying indications of the health of a relationship, what is occurring in the relationship, and how we are responding to what is communicated. We can tell, by how we feel, whether to move closer or farther away. We will move closer when the other person communicates attraction.  We will move farther away when the other person communicates rejection.  Feelings are often out of proper calibrations. When out of the proper calibration, we get the wrong indication of what is going on. If we do not know what is going on, we will take the wrong action as a response. The Gilham Feeling Scale

  • If you respond at a level that is not accurate to the event, the other person may become protective of how they communicate so as not receive an inappropriate response. This means the communication process is not operating accurately. Communication of feelings is the most effective way to recalibrate to an accurate level. Without working to reduce the stuck level, people are destined to respond in relationships at the wrong level. Accurately expressing the feeling (emoting) to the person who provoked the feeling is the most effective method for handling an emotion and not becoming stuck. Also, expressing the feeling (emoting) to the person who provoked the stuck feeling is the most effective method for reducing the stuck level. Sometimes a friend or family member can be the listener to help reduce the stuck level. If that is not possible for any reason, then finding a paraprofessional or professional will allow the stuck feeling to recover and reduce to a lower level. This reduction of feeling level takes time and work.

  • The Feeling Words sheet shows many feelings and levels of feeling that a person can feel. The main categories express general emotions and the words under each main category expresses levels or nuances of that main category. By researching each word for its logical level, you can figure if you are feeling accurately or whether you stick at a certain level. Everyone has an idea of what a word may carry in impact level from zero to five.  "Annoyed" my be a level one for one person and a level three for another person.  Some words like "livid" ought to be level four or five.  We all need practice knowing what the other person is saying by facial expression. The face tells a lot if the facial expressions are honest. We forget what some faces show because we are not seeing them regularly. A practical exercise for understanding and appropriating more faces and color in feelings is as follows:

    Put the "Feeling Words" sheet upon your bathroom mirror.

    Every day, mark three different words.

    Try to make a face that expresses the marked feeling words.

    Once you have tried all the words, go back to the ones that seemed the strangest.

  • Let me draw a metaphor for getting feelings unstuck with God's help.  Imagine that you have a small plane license and you are flying in a two-seat, one-engine airplane on a flight to explore a new area.  You and your friend are flying along when the friend hands you the knob that adjusts the altimeter.  Your first question ought to be, "Did you twist it before it came off?"  Here is why.  If the altimeter adjustment is not correct, you will not know how far from the ground you are. (Yes, you can check with the tower to see if it is set right.  Forget you can do that for right now.)  As you look at the altimeter, you notice that the fuel gauge is reading very low.  You check your watch and see the time is nearing dusk and you do not know the area.  Can you feel the worry start up in your heart?  

    Many people have the same kind of disadvantage in their emotional being.  They do not know where they are in the relationship, how sensitive they are, may soon run out of energy, and the light on a relationship is becoming dim.  So, what is a person to do.  If you just go down and land in the dark, you will likely stop at the wrong elevation and then crash.  If you just wait it out, you will run out of energy and crash. You need outside help. 

    So you get on the radio and call the airport tower.  You tell them you are lost, low on fuel, losing daylight and by the way, your altimeter is broken and maybe wrong.  The tower has the great advantage of radar and transponder locators.  They tell you to turn to a certain heading, don't worry about the fuel, there is no way to fix that yet, and that the atmospheric pressure is so-and-so.  Well the altimeter is off but you cannot adjust it.  You are blind to the elevation.  

    The only thing you can do is turn to the heading they gave you and fly that way.  As you approach the area of the airport they tell you what to do to land.  You are exhausted, the clouds are everywhere and you cannot see the airport.  They can see you on radar and tell you that you are okay, keep flying and follow the instructions of the tower.  You keep doing what they tell you and the plane is flying but you have grabbed the seat so hard with your gluteous maximus that you are really sore on the sitter. They continue to talk you in and say you are fine and to keep coming.  What are you doing?  You are trusting your life with someone you cannot see and who can see you.  As you break through the clouds, you see two stings of lights right ahead and closing fast.  That is the airport.  

    You want to take control now.  The tower tells you to wait just a little and let them talk you down.  You get to do the work but they get to be the smart ones.  What do they care, they are not about to crash from lack of fuel?  They care, it is their job to care and help and manage.  As you glide over the runway you wait for the bump and just before this the tower tells you to cut the power.  What?  Yes they know the dark runway better then you and can see what you do not.  You obey with your heart in your mouth.  As the plane bumps once, twice.  You begin to relax.  As the plane taxis to the hanger, your heart is still racing and the adrenaline is high.  When you stop the plane and cut the engine, you bound out of the plane and kiss the ground.  You are safe.  

    Now the altimeter can be repaired, the fuel tank filled, and none of the panic matters any longer.  Relax with your friend for a couple hours and delight in safety.  Be ready to fly again as soon as possible.  You learned enough to stay out of some problems.  Mostly you learned that you can take a risk and get down without damage if you check in with the Tower.

    We all need the help of someone who can see where we are, how far to go, and how much fuel it will take.  God alone has you on His radar and prayer will get you down before you crash.  Allow time to repair, refuel, and relax.  You have to allow His presence in your powerlessness or the result will be devastating.


So, what gets under your last nerve? The next lesson is Technicolor Anger >