Am I working with my feelings or allowing them to work against me?
Even today, I sometimes I allow my reactions to uncomfortable emotions like confusion, anger, and fear, to make my choices for me. None of these emotions create good foundations for decision making. When I allow myself to react in habitual ways, my life becomes completely unmanageable.
As I begin to apply a "program" peace of mind, I become more able to acknowledge (or accept) my feelings first so that I may clearly consider the facts of the situation.
Now when I experience intense emotions, I have more choices than just simply reacting. I can call my Sponsor to talk over the problem and diffuse my feelings. Or I might write in my journal or do something physical, like swimming. Prayer and meditation also help me calm down and get perspective. If I feel like I want action now, I can ask myself, "How important is it?" Is my planned behavior going to be worth the aggravation? As I consider and use each tool, I gain space and time (perspective) that helps me untangle my intellect and my emotion. Just as thinking does not make something so, neither does feeling something mean it is true. By knowing the difference, I can respond and not react.
It also helps me to remember that getting better does not always mean feeling better. I have learned that sometimes I need to learn how walking through pain helps me to let it go. At such times, the mantra, "This too shall pass," is very helpful. My life will work out on God's time, regardless of how I feel about it, so why waste time trying to manipulate things to avoid my own emotional responses? Trying to force my emotions is behavior that just creates more pain. Do I want that?
"The true nature of my problem was my stubborn refusal to acknowledge feeling, to accept them, and then to let them go." Courage to Change, pg 249
This share only lightly adapted from August 14th's Hope For Today, for its nearly perfect fit to my recovery in Emotions Anonymous