I’ve been watching Love Island this summer and it’s been really interesting from a psychological perspective.
One thing that stood out to me was the positive advice some of the contestants shared. I was impressed! But I also noticed a glaring clang; a mis-interpretation of a popular new age saying:
‘Trust your gut’.
One of the contestants took this statement to its extreme. He had a feeling and thought he should act on it immediately, because that was ‘being true to himself’.
But it’s a dangerous concept, because not all your feelings are created from truth. Many of your feelings are informed by fear thoughts, or thoughts of attack, FOMO or inadequacy. These thoughts aren’t created from a place of truth.
Remember, your feelings are informed by your thoughts. If you’ve chosen to believe fearful thoughts, or attack thoughts, you simply cannot trust the feelings that these thoughts create.
Instead, explore the thought behind the feeling. Question whether you know that it is 100% true, for sure. Be curious. If it’s a negative thought, find evidence against it.
Instead of reacting, sit with the feeling, explore it, question it. Let it wash through you and out the other side. Don’t react, just be calm and present. Be the observer.
Eckhart Tolle said:
An emotion is the body’s reaction to your mind
This is saying that feelings are a response to a thought. So depending on the thought, don’t let your feelings guide you. The Love Island contestant was saying “I had to do this, cuz it’s how I felt in that moment”.
But, because feelings follow thoughts, what if the feeling you’re feeling was informed by a fear thought, a false ego belief? The ego has the power to make you feel strongly, so don’t let your feelings guide you.
Become aware of the thought that created the feeling. Is the thought based in fear or love?
Feelings are temporary. They are coming up to be looked at and released. Avoiding them, or resisting them will create suffering. Reacting on a feeling, so that the feeling will stop, is a form of avoiding the feeling too.
The best thing to do is create a little bit of space to sit with the feeling, notice where it is in your body. Let go of any story associated with the feeling, as this will just feed it.
Be present, breathe and notice. The feeling will dissipate and you will be clear-headed once again.