Should We Worship Our Feelings?
In modern society, the key phrase is “I feel.”
“I feel happy.”
“I feel sad.”
“I feel excited.”
“I feel offended.”
And so forth.
All of these feelings we have experienced not only concern how we feel emotionally from one day to the next, but how we interpret our world. How we view it. How we perceive it. How we filter the complexity of ourselves, the complexity of others, and the complexity of society.
Because we have exalted our feelings to be the center of our worlds, we have also exalted something else too: we have exalted our feelings to be the center of THE world.
This distinction is important because no longer are our feelings just about how we perceive ourselves and relate to the world. Our feelings are about how we want the world to perceive and relate to us.
At first glance this seems innocent and reasonable. We all want to be understood and respected by the world. We all want to be treated fairly. We all want to live our own lives without others ignoring, disrespecting, or oppressing the feelings we experience deeply within ourselves.
Where this gets tricky, though, is when we go beyond believing that our feelings should be things we experience and should be respected for. It gets tricky when we start believing that our feelings should also be taken as our truth -THE TRUTH -about ourselves, about others, and about the world. In other words, this gets tricky because our feelings are no longer about our emotional experiences and become about something else entirely.
With this “feelings-as-truth” mindset, it doesn’t matter whether or not our feelings are the actual objective truth about the various things in our lives. All that matters is how we feel about things. All that matters is that we believe our feelings represent reality.
The problem with this is that our feelings are not always reality. And our feelings are not always truthful. In fact, our feelings often lie to us and they often cause us to believe things or make decisions that aren’t good for ourselves in the long run. Here’s a classic example.
How many times have we heard the story about the nice girl falling for the bad boy? She thinks she’s special because he finds her interesting and treats her well – for a while. She finds it thrilling that he is so mysterious and adventurous and believes she can experience a side of life that has been missing. Her feelings have convinced her that even though he is a bad boy – and has mistreated other girls and is a jerk to everybody else – that she can change him. She just knows she can and will try to with her beauty, personality, or behavior.
But what almost always happens in this scenario? The bad boy ends up – surprise, surprise – mistreating her in the end. He ends up hurting her. And she ends up realizing that her feelings about him were wrong all along. But to her, her feelings were her truth – they represented the facts and reality even though she was probably objectively warned by family or friends that the bad boy would hurt her.
In our own lives, how many times have we experienced the same thing? How many times have we flirted with the bad boy or the bad girl (the feelings we are convinced are right) only to realize they were wrong in the end? How many times have we let ourselves believe that our feelings about certain things – our truth – was actually THE TRUTH about them? And how many times were we hurt because we mistakenly thought our reality was THE REALITY?
The point I’m making is not to see feelings as the boogeyman. The point I’m making is that we should stop letting our feelings replace reality and we should stop letting our feelings replace objective truth – about ourselves, about others, and about the world around us. Instead, if we can start to see that our feelings are simply emotions to experience – and not truth we convince ourselves is objective reality – we will be better and stronger in every area of our lives.
3 Things Ralph Breaks The Internet Teaches Us About True Friendship
3 Things Ralph Breaks The Internet Teaches Us About True Friendship
Ralph Breaks The Internet is one of my favorite animated movies. It is a perfect example of a family film that not only has something that everyone can enjoy, but also that points out the absurdities in our society.
The movie follows two unlikely friends – Ralph and Pennelope – as they go inside of the actual physical internet to obtain a replacement part for the video game Pennelope is a character in (this part was destroyed in the game and, without it, Pennelope’s game could be shut down forever). But when the friends get inside of the internet- they are on a mission to get the replacement part from EBay – they discover the best and worst of what the internet has to offer. They also discover the best and worst of what their friendship has to offer. For example, after Ralph helps Pennelope through a series of adventures to obtain this replacement part, he realizes that his and Pennelope’s friendship is changing as she is experiencing more things and meeting more people. And this upsets him. While they almost call it quits in their friendship because of this, they ultimately don’t – and end up becoming better friends than they were in the first place despite all of the challenges their friendship has endured.
What can you and I learn about true friendship from Ralph and Pennelope?
- True friendship can often be very unlikely. The fact that Pennelope and Ralph were friends in the first place is shocking because they are different ages, exist in different games, and have very different outlooks on life. Yet, their friendship transcended all of these things in that they bonded over more than similarities and differences – they bonded over love and respect for each other as individuals. In our own lives, we might also be friends with people that we never expected we would be or that on paper doesn’t look like we should be friends with. But if we can learn to love and respect our unlikely friends – even if we don’t share a ton of similarities or interests with them – the friendship can turn into something true and amazing.
- Only several tests will reveal if somebody is a true friend or not. For Ralph and Pennelope, it was easy to be friends when life was good and easy in their games before they went to the internet. But as soon as they experienced something new, different, and challenging, the tests for their friendship became quite obvious. There were several occasions that looked as though they were not going to retain their bond but, at the last minute, they let their original commitment to each other override the emotions, frustrations, and anxieties that all of the tests to their friendship created. Likewise, only tests – over a period of time – will reveal if somebody is a true friend or not. It is not enough to have mutual interests or fun with them; we have to go through a battle or wars with them to determine if a friend in our lives is really true or not.
- True friends always lift us up and make us better. Even though Ralph and Pennelope’s friendship was often based on fun and games, it was something more than this: it was based on them mutually benefitting and strengthening each other. In other words, they were not a drag on each other’s growth; they were fuel for each other’s growth and it showed with the success that they both experienced. For you and me, a true friend will also be somebody who makes us better, not worse. What this means is that a true friend will not be jealous, will not put us down (with criticism, excessive sarcasm, or doubt), and will not let their baggage become burdens for us over the long run.
Ultimately Ralph Breaks the Internet teaches us many great lessons about true friendship. The fact that it can be unlikely, that it will be tested, and that it will always make us better are just 3 lessons we can apply to our own lives – and friendships.
3 Things Professor X Teaches Us About Mentorship
3 Things Professor X Teaches Us About Mentorship
Professor X is one of my favorite characters of all time. He is smart, wise, courageous, and the person most responsible for developing the beloved X-Men. But what can we learn from him? Or more specifically, what can we learn from him about mentorship that will allow us to be better mentors in our own lives?
Before we answer this, let’s take a brief recap at Professor X’s life to give us a little more context.
Professor X was born to privilege in England, graduated with his PhD from Oxford, and discovered he had the incredible ability to read minds. But he also discovered he had something even more important than his own personal giftings: he discovered that he could develop the giftings of others who had special gifts like his own. But instead of sitting back and just using his own giftings as many talented people tend to do, Professor X decided to do something else – he decided to use all that was within him to develop a special school for mutants so that he could grow other people’s giftings too. Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Gambit, Mystique, Beast, and more were all beneficiaries of Professor X’s decision to become a mentor to them and countless others and we owe him a big cinematic thank you.
Here are 3 things we can learn from Professor X about mentorship.
- Mentors should seek out their students, not the other way around. In today’s society, we’re often taught that students should only seek out busy mentors and, if these busy mentors have time, maybe the students will get lucky to get some of their time and sage advice. But Professor X actually did the opposite of this. He actually sought out his students intentionally by traveling to recruit them. He was hungry to help develop their gifts and he wasn’t going to wait on young people discovering him – he was going to purposefully discover them. Likewise in our own lives, because we are all mentors (to somebody) we should seek out our own students to help grow and develop them. Yes, I know that we are busy but the people who positively respond to our recruitment could have their lives changed just like the X-Men did by Professor X- and what could be better than that?
- Mentors should believe more in their students than their students believe in themselves. Professor X had an uncanny belief in and dedication to his students. When many of them doubted themselves – especially his students in the movie X-Men: First Class – he was there to give them a mental focus and spiritual toughness they needed to make it to the next level. For you and me, when we are mentoring our students (even if just informally) we should deeply believe in them. Even if we don’t see people’s talent or commitment quite yet, we should believe in them so that they can believe in themselves – and commit to making themselves better.
- Mentors should understand that their dedication will help multiply their students’ gifts and success. Without Professor X, Wolverine, Beast, Storm, and many of the other X-Men would have never developed into the heroes they ended up becoming. In our own lives, we should also understand that many of our students may never develop into the best version of themselves unless we help them to.
Ultimately, Professor X can teach us many things about mentorship. But his personally recruiting students, believing in them more than they believed in themselves, and ability to help multiply their talent are just 3 things we can take away from this remarkable cinematic hero.
Stepping Into Your Greatness Part 1: Choosing To Be Great
STEPPING INTO YOUR GREATNESS PART 1: CHOOSING TO BE GREAT
What if I told you that you are CHOSEN to be great? What if I told you that you are DESTINED to be great? What if I told you that I can GUARANTEE that you will live a great life? I realize these questions might make you a little skeptical, might make you ask what I’m smoking, or might even make you report me to some sort of higher authority. But I also realize that these questions might make you curious, might make you want to know more, and might make you ask how you can step into your own greatness.
But before we talk about accessing your GREATNESS, let’s define what greatness actually is.
You see, greatness is not money, power, or fame. Greatness is not historic records or trophies or rewards. And greatness is not receiving validation from others telling you how great you are.
Yes, some of these things are the rewards of greatness. But they’re not greatness themselves.
Greatness is not a product or result or a destination. Greatness is not a thing. Greatness is a mindset. But it’s a particular kind of mindset.
Greatness is a mindset that says you will focus on achieving your goals despite distractions. Despite haters. Despite the obstacles that stand in your way.
Greatness is a determination that says you will commit to living a life of excellence, of honor, and of wisdom personally and professionally.
Greatness is a conscious act that says you will commit to finding your truth and living it authentically.
In other words, greatness is a thoughtful act of choosing to be the REAL YOU. It’s a thoughtful act of choosing to stop pretending to be something you’re not. It’s a thoughtful act of choosing to live your life unafraid of the true you being exposed to the world.
But so often we choose not to be the real us. It’s too scary we think. It’s too risky. But when we choose to live comfortably or complacently – to live fearfully – we are rejecting the greatness within us. As one commentator said, “we no longer have voices in this generation, we only have echos.” Imitations. Replicas. Chameleons of every age, race, and gender.
You see, your greatness will start when you decide to live divorced from being a chameleon. Divorced from being an echo of others’ opinions, others’ expectations, and others’ desires to put you in a box. Your greatness will start when you divorce yourself from the labels others try to give you so that they can define you – so they can define you as being cool but average, being nice but unremarkable.
In order for you to become the REAL YOU – the GREAT YOU – you will have to adopt a mindset that most of the people around you do not have. You will have to become genuinely authentic. You will have to get over being comfortable or complacent as a life goal. You will have to withdraw from being somebody else’s label. You will have to choose to believe in your own voice. In other words, you will have to choose to step into the greatness that I know exists within you as the first step to becoming great.
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