The Difference Between Your Feelings and Your Instincts

Everyone knows the expression, “Blinded by love.”  Less glamorous but equally accurate versions of that expression include: blinded by boredom, blinded by sadness, blinded by ambition, blinded by anxiety,” etc.  The point is, your feelings will blind you if you let them.  Don’t let them. 

How does this happen? How are we blinded so easily?  Every day, people grossly underestimate the manner by which their outer world can dictate how they feel internally.

Get ready for a parade of examples.

If you’re stuck in traffic, tipsy, tired, hungry, wearing something you don’t like…if you just heard a sad song (or worse, saw an ASPCA commercial), if you just witnessed a parent screaming at their kid in the grocery store, if it’s too hot, too cold, overcast outside or a perfect day out…if you just received wonderful praise at work, if an attractive person just hit on you, if you seamlessly hailed a cab on a Friday night in the rain, all of these countless circumstances can carry a surprisingly weighted impact on how you feel and all of these circumstances have absolutely nothing to do with the serious choices that need to be made in your life.

Instincts, on the other hand, have absolutely everything to do with the serious choices that need to be made in your life.  Unlike feelings, which can be considerably swayed by external circumstances, instincts are exclusively impacted by your inner, true self.  Notice the messages that don’t change, those are your instincts. 

Moving forward, think of your feelings as signals.  Feelings signal you towards what might need to be explored.  If you often feel tired, for example, that’s good information to have.  Explore your exhaustion-- is it simply because you don’t get enough sleep?  Is it because you’re not passionate about the way you spend your days?  Is there a person in your life who is draining to be around? Are there exceptions to your exhaustion and if so, what are they?

Asking these types of questions and allowing your feelings to guide your self-explorations is really about inviting your instincts to authenticate the real from the fake.  Give your feelings a vote and give your instincts veto power.  If you can get your feelings and instincts working together in this way (and if you can avoid the one crucial mistake that people make about instincts) you’ll instantly begin to lead a life with more clarity, greater focus and an increased sense of fulfillment.  Okay, maybe not instantly, but quickly-enough.