What if feeling REALLY IS a great tool for change?
(Maybe there IS a better way than "keeping a stiff upper lip"?)
Understanding the Dominant Feeling
5/13/18 NOTE: I have more work to do on this page. New info to add.
Regardless if you are a woman or a man, in some families or cultures, feelings are suppressed due to "incorrect lessons." This may be cultural, or it may be first learned from within the family, where you may learn at a very age not too feel. Claudia Black, PhD, MSW discussed in her book "It Will Never Happen To Me" (amazon) (See also her blog) talked about how this could happen. For example, in extreme cases situations could be so abusive or scary, that suppressing your feelings was a way to deal with the insanity or difficulty of a situation. It is said that some people drink to stuff their feelings. In other cases, you may have had parents that dictated what you were to do, and that left no room for expressing your feelings.
For some men in U.S. (and maybe elsewhere), it was (or still is) considered a sign of weakness if men show they had any feelings. "Keep a stiff upper lip." And it was also a sign of almost failure if you had to see a therapist. Now, suppressing your feelings may seem to make sense if you have to fight in a war, and you have to choose between your life or an "enemy's" life.
It seems that in some cases, the interesting paradox is that some people may have been taught not to be aware or express their feelings, yet it isn't it often the feelings running through their mind that keeps people from sleeping well at night or that sometimes dominates their mind during the day?
Understanding how feelings affect you can open a big door for change.
1) WHY we do make some of the decisions that we do?
2) HOW does understanding WHY we make those decisions empower us to make the changes in our lives?
Have you ever watch or read The Secret, or read the Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, the Bible, or any of the other positive thinking, (what could be called) "self improvement" books and wondered:
Or have you ever felt stuck, like your "spinning your tires", even though you know you may want to be doing something different?
Why don't we always end up
"teachings" that self improvement books have to offer? After all, if you
have read any of these type books, don't they all generally seem to make common sense?
Well I think that understanding how the brain works, and how dominant feelings could be effecting how I act (or react), gave me a plausible reason to HOW and WHY positive (and yes negative) thinking works.
If this makes sense to you, and you understand HOW dominant feelings can effect your live, then you can better harness that knowledge towards producing a more positive, productive, meaningful and happy life. After all, isn't this the true message from all these teachings? How we can best live this amazing gift we call life?
The following explains the "what, how and why" of dominant feelings:
Where did the term "the dominant feeling" come from?
I first heard about "the dominant feeling" from the audio version of a great book by Dr. Wayne Dyer called Wishes Fulfilled. In it he frequently talks about one of his mentors, Neville Goddard. He mentions quite frequently passages from a book by Neville Goddard called "Feeling is the Secret." Neville's book appears on many sites including here and here. Amazon also sells the book here. Neville devoted a lot of his life to helping others, not just with books, but also many lectures and audio recordings. Some of those lectures and recordings can be found here. (Thank you Neville!) In "Feeling is the Secret," Neville talks about "the dominant feeling."
What is "the dominant feeling"?
The definition of "dominant" is "most important, powerful, or influential." It's the "strongest emotional feeling." Something that really surprised me at first is that according to Neville, "the dominant feeling's" strength is "measured" the same, regardless if it is a positive or a negative feeling. In math, they would call that that the "absolute value" of the feeling. Simply put, whether you are happy or sad, whichever is a stronger feeing at the moment wins. And this sometimes happens even if your rational thinking determines that the happy choice is the choice you want to make.
For example, everyone has a fear of jumping off a tall building and landing on a cement ground. Good thing! But how many people, including me, have an "irrational" fear of heights (Acrophobia), even when where you standing poses absolutely NO risk whatsoever of falling down? And then what if by going on the top of a mountain and looking down would provide a most amazing view? For some people, the dominant feeling of fear limits them from experiencing an amazingly beautiful view. It can limit your life, even though rationally you know it's safe.
How does "the dominant feeling" affect your life?
Neville says: "The dominant of two feelings is the one expressed." He then goes on to say that your ideas become your feelings, and that "No idea can be impressed on the subconscious until it is felt, but once felt - be it good, bad or indifferent - it must be expressed." In simple terms, Neville says your dominant feelings choose most (or all?) of your resulting actions in your life, even though you may not want them to!
To understand these concepts and how to use them, I suggest you read his book "Feeling is the Secret," but I'll also try to simplify what he says and how he arrives at his conclusion. This is because if you start to read his book, you may first find it confusing. I did. So hopefully my simplified interpretation or "translation" will be accurate and help you better understand how you can use this knowledge in your life.
Besides what instincts we are given at birth, it seems just about everything in life is learned. (Note: You may also want to read Most skills in life are learned.) So how do we learn and process what we have learned?
As previously mentioned, Neville talks about the subconscious and consciousness mind in his writings. The concept of the conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind was made popular a long time ago by Sigmund Freud. He called the subconscious "preconscious." The actions of the conscious mind may be loosely grouped into steps 1 and 2 above, while the subconscious and unconscious are more related to steps 3 and 4.
Now there is lots written about how the mind works. The Conscious, Subconscious, And Unconscious Mind - How Does It All Work? is a good starting point for those interested in more detail. If you want, take a look at it, and then maybe with that and what I've written, Neville's "Feeling is the Secret" will be easier to understand.
It's important to understand that in "Feeling is the Secret," Neville says that the conscious mind communicates or directs the subconscious mind through ideas and feelings. Neville says that is the ONLY way to communicate to your subconscious mind. Maybe he is right?
If you ever wondered about how powerful the subconscious is, and how much it runs our life without us evening thinking about some things, think about this. Simply recall the last time you drove a car, and hardly remember thinking about how you drove it! The subconscious runs our life ("drives our ship"). Wayne Dyer in Wishes Fulfilled talks about how we can skate on a thin blade on ice, and once we learn the skill, we can skate effortlessly years later even if we never skated for many years. Research indicates that about 95% of our decisions come from our subconscious, and the subconscious mind process some 65 thousand thoughts a day! In "Are You Programmed at Birth", Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D. says that "the most influential perceptual programming of the subconscious mind occurs from birth through age six". So since your subconscious is programmed through feelings and ideas, what do you think is stored (programmed) into the minds of children that are brought up in a very loving, nurturing family verses a family with lots of anger, abandonment, abuse and so forth? And it's not until around six that a child has the ability to reason and say, in the case of a family that fights a lot, "that's not normal for people to fight all the time!" When I told this to a friend Dave at my YMCA said to me, maybe that (the lack of a conscious mind at that young age) explains why you can say something to a young child, (like maybe be careful about this), and it almost as if they don't hear it. In a few minutes, they can be doing it again.
Why I think you should identify any negative dominant feelings in your life.
If most every day your life is filled with joy, love, and happiness, then you may not have any negative dominant feelings. But if you seem to repeat (or seem stuck) in some situations in your life, or the same negative thoughts continue to play through your mind day after day, and you can't find a solution, then I think identifying the root dominant feeling for the situation is very helpful because it can give you a reference for what you have to "unlearn" (or "reprogram"). If Neville is correct, this is because it IS the dominant feeling that IS controlling your actions in your life, so your goal is to switch that to a positive dominant feeling. So by having a clear understanding of what's wrong, by diagnosing the problem, you can define and implement a plan to turn it positive. And if you don't take action to replace a negative dominant feeling, then, according to the "laws" described by Neville, it will continue to express itself (or play out) throughout your life, resulting in negative outcomes.
So how should we use any identified negative (or positive) dominant feelings to improve your life?
First, create the best positive dominant feeling for a given situation.
I believe that if you can identify any negative dominant feelings, then the solution is to essentially look and research for its "positive mirror" (or opposite) feeling and focus all your efforts in learning and living with that new positive dominant feeling. I'm saying once identified, as Wayne, Neville and others would write, don't give the old negative dominant feeling ANY energy in your thoughts. Focus only on the positive through the conscious mind.
The following are two examples of how to create a positive dominant feeling.
I think most people have heard the saying that "food is love." Yes, food can be a loving act in many ways. Food comforts a baby from birth, and is necessary for life. But there are some people who may have grown up in families with the notion that "when things get emotional tough, sit down and have some pasta, or some food." And people can show love when they take the time and prepare special dishes for themselves and others. Those are loving acts. So let's call "food is love" a dominant feeling. And guess what, it's a positive dominant feeling, at least to a point!
But we all know what can happen if you "love food" too much, you gain too much weight and that's not being loving to yourself or your body. We all know it's doesn't look as good, but most importantly we all know that being overweight has huge negative health impacts. Among other things, eating too much takes food from other people, costs society and yourself amazing amounts of money in health care costs, causes depression, gives you a lower quality of life, kills you sooner, the list can (and does) go on. Knowing these TRUTHS, why doesn't everyone weigh close what they should weigh? What's your thoughts?
One answer can be that they learned an unhealthy form of the dominant feeling "food is love." Another answer can be from advertisements that sell unhealthy fast food products" Just think, how many fast food commercials have you watched? And have you ever use the word "love" in their advertisements?
To learn how to eat healthy, learn (ask, read,
etc) which foods
are the healthiest foods and learn what quantities to eat and replace "food
is love" with sayings like "I love my life, and
I'm guessing that the (or one of the) most common negative dominant feeling for people may well be "fear." Now knowing exactly what a person may be fearful OF can offer a more directed solution, but for this example, I'm just going to say "fear." Now I think fear limits so many people in what they do in their lives. Yes, folks should be smart enough to not jump off a tall bridge with nothing but cement below. But for some, fear can be debilitating, and counterproductive. Actor Will Smith has a great perspective about fear and it's role in people's lives in this YouTube video about his experience with skydiving.
So what is the opposite of fear? Google "the opposite of fear is" and Goggle's results gives you lots of options, such as acceptance, love, faith, and peace. I initially found "courage". So it's something for you to think about and decide what works best in your life.
Second, to take your positive dominant feeling and apply the lessons learned to make every day be a better day for you and those around you through personal change.
As outlined above, once you have a idea of what positive feelings you want, the next step is to work to replace the negative feelings. The short answer to how you do this is to "reprogram" your thoughts. Since it depends on what your goals are, the method may be different. However, the most common technique is through the use of positive affirmations. In Example 1 gave some sample "affirmations" designed for that specific goal. You can make them up yourself. "Affirmations" are really just positive sayings that focus on what you want to be or gain. If you get stuck, you can research or ask others for specific affirmations. There are lots of audio sources with great affirmations. A primary key to having those affirmations work in life is to use repetition. Simply reading them them once will not produce many changes. Some people suggest you say the same affirmations in the morning and night every day for 1 year. If that sounds like a lot, consider how many times would the top athletes practice the same routines before they master them? To make them work for you requires repetition, repetition, repetition. A 12 step slogan is "the program works if you work it", in other words, work is required.
Now some may still be skeptical that we can program our mind with positive affirmations, but I think the proof is that if negative feelings are programmed, so can positive feelings. My logic might be similar to proof by contradiction. If you look at most young children, they tend to be fearless. Over time, these same humans grow up with some (or lots of) fears. This is because the fears were programmed into them. Be careful about this, be careful about that... How much of the news creates fear and/or negativity in our lives? If fears can be programmed in, they can be programmed out through repeating positive affirmations. It's as simple as that. It just takes work Try it for 1 year, it may take you less. Fear is learned, and some fears are irrational and cause negative (or prevent positive) events in our lives. So by applying proof by contradiction, positive feelings can be "learned" through positive affirmations as well as other tools. And as Neville and Dr. Wayne Dyer believed, feeling IS the secret. So when you say your affirmations, it's very important that you really feel the feelings as if the result has already happened.
Obviously, any changes in your life of can ONLY come through your actions = your work. Consider spending time learning from the teachings I've mentioned herein or elsewhere. Never forget that just about everything in life is learned. There is almost an unlimited supply of resources and people that want to help guide you towards helping yourself.
I've always been a positive thinker. But for me; Neville, Dr. Dyer and others have provided me with new tools (such as the power of feeling), and I'm seeing good results from using them. I currently also believe () that if you identify and understand any negative dominant feelings and replace them with positive affirmations using feeling and for long enough (remember repetition), you too can see great changes.
I've read not too long ago that "it takes work to be happy," but I prefer not to live an unhappy life. In the same way exercise helps to keep me physically healthy, it makes sense to me to do the work to have healthy feelings. And just think what your days would be like if everybody focused on being more positive and loving!
Best wishes to your Loving, Happy, Healthy life!
This page updated 05/13/18 09:40 AM