Command Control Over Feelings

by Rachel Miller

July 9, 2021

ABOVE :“The Godfather” (1972) Retrieved from: Creative Commons

It feels like swimming upstream, weighted down. It feels masochistic, deranged. It feels wrong, unnatural, and probably is, but it’s essential to your happiness and survival.  

To defy comfort—not all comfort, but to command comfort on your terms, when you decide, not when your feelings decide—means resisting the hypnotizing draw of desire. To defy comfort requires a concrete and clear understanding of what you want and why; it requires firm and focused determination towards something other than the present want, and a stubborn will that can not, will not, be lured by anything other than its own choosing. 

The lull of comfort is deeply entrancing. It captivates your attention, pulls you in and urges you to relax into it, to let go and stop fighting, to let it consume you, take over you—”it will be OK. It’s not bad; you need it.” How easy it would be to give in right now. You have a dozen reasons why you should and only one reason why you won’t. But that one reason is all you need, because it’s not just about this moment; it’s about all moments like this; it’s not really about this thing, but about this feeling, this urge toward something. But mostly, it’s about your response.

Responding immediately to this thing strengthens that mesmerizing draw—it reinforces that when you feel X, you do X. But you can reinforce an alternate response. You can teach yourself differently: You call the shots, you are in charge, you respond when you decide.

You are the boss, the commander in chief:

  • You are not at the beck and call of your feelings. You don’t say, “yes, I’ll do that right away, sir,” when you feel something. No, you are the most powerful person in this enterprise, and you have many important tasks and responsibilities before you. You have the responsibility to ensure everything runs smoothly, not your feelings. You have the responsibility to ensure the future success of this being.
  • Listen, acknowledge the perceived need, and schedule a time to meet that need on your terms, when you decide.
  • Trust yourself — you know what you need most at this moment; it’s often the very thing you don’t feel like doing. Instruct yourself to do it anyway.

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