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It always seems like there is a major battle between mind and heart.
External conflict is bad enough - but internal conflict can be catastrophic on another level.
Emotion is a really beautiful thing - the way we are able to feel and express love and appreciation adds a lot of joy to the world. It's amazing when you catch someone wholeheartedly smiling - the kind of smile that is completely open and genuine - like they couldn't hold it back if they tried.
Feelings and emotion inspire and intrigue us - we love watching reaction videos when people get suprises and it's all completely raw.
But sometimes it's like you can't control what feelings hit you. It's easy to get overwhelmed in a state of mind that's not in your best interests. The deeper you go, the more dangerous it gets. Emotion can cloud your judgement and make you see the world in an unrealistic and very impractical way.
And there comes the internal struggle - the struggle between your feelings, as represented by your heart - and your mind, what you deep down know is right and wrong.
Something I've come to appreciate more as I've gotten older is how easy it is to feed your emotions - but in a non-constructive way. Especially if you're not very aware of how strong a role they play in your overall success and life clarity. Emotions are not a stand alone thing. They are not something that can be neglected or ignored. They are very much connected to every other aspect of life, and if not managed - they can grow madly out of proportion.
Emotions are fragile, and sensitive, and need to be handled with care. When it comes to emotions, I've grown to appreciate this: Emotions need to be carefully cultivated. You need to handpick the emotions that are beneficial to your life and let these grow abundantly. You also need to take note of the emotions that sabotage your life and cut these out like weeds.
You feed negative emotions by dwelling in them and accepting them. We do this because sometimes dwelling in our unhelpful emotions is comforting and feels like the easier thing to do.
It takes an impressive amount of effort to say:
"No, I'm not going to think like that."
"No, I'm not going to do that."
"I'm going to show some self-respect and put my feelings in check."
This kind of internal conversation is essential for disciplined and healthy behaviour. You can't leave it to chance. If allowed, your emotions will run wild. They will take you in all sort of directions and places that are not right for you. You have to train your mind to be stronger than your feelings or you are going to lose yourself.
Let's say that one more time:
You have to train your mind to be stronger than your feelings or you are going to lose yourself.
Self-awareness is a huge part of this. It's important to identify and be real with yourself about the feelings that are irrational or detrimental to your wellbeing and progress. Then you train your mind to be stronger than these feelings.
It's about using every bit of your willpower to avoid giving in to these emotions. After a while, through such conscious effort, such negative feelings lose their hold on you. The feelings become weak, and your intelligence kicks in. Your mind gains power.
If you're going through a hard time and trying to become emotionally stronger, I recommend reading Control Your Mind and Master Your Feelings by Eric Robertson. The book focuses on two skills, how to stop overthinking and how to check your emotions so they don't overpower you and cloud your judgement. It takes one emotion at a time, and demonstrates how you can be stronger than your feelings in various scenarios. You can get this book for free here.
Most of the time, training your mind to be stronger than your feelings manifests itself in saying no to certain actions. Your feelings will push you to do things that you might later regret, or that are out of character. Everytime you resist taking these emotionally-induced actions, you take another step in forming powerful habits.
There's everything to gain from training your mind to be stronger than your emotions. Before we get into that, what does it mean to lose yourself? Well it starts with losing the sense of who you are, your personal brand, what you stand for. This is because whenever you give into the feelings of the moment, your values become eroded. You start to feel a sense of disconnect and confusion with regards to the person you aspire to be versus who you're actually being.
When you train your mind, you gain a renewed sense of self-worth and confidence. This is because you begin to see that you can conquer any obstacle and achieve whatever you set your mind to. Your successful training proves that you can resist all the temptations, inclinations and pressures that stand in the way of your long-term success - yes, even the enemies within.
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