Facts About Feelings

By January 11, 2021No Comments


Do you control them, or do they control you? Where do they come from?

By Richard McHale


Hello and welcome.

I do not know anyone who does not love pleasant emotional experiences such as involved in having fun with friends, finding that special guy or girl, or being recognized and praised for achievements at work, school, or in your community.

Similarly, it is hard to find anyone who enjoys feeling fearful, worried, and anxious, or who likes emotional attacks of embarrassment, humiliation, or feelings of unworthiness.

Our emotional experiences are a major factor in all our lives. We love the good ones and seek them constantly. We hate the painful and uncomfortable ones and will go to great lengths to avoid them.

All of this is obvious, well understood and taken as given by most people.

What is much less obvious, hardly understood by anyone, and rarely recognized by the average person at all, is that the feelings which sweep through our lives on a constant basis do not arise from our surrounding circumstances to make us feel good when good things happen or to make us feel bad when bad things happen.

However crazy that might sound to you, please hang on to your hat and read on.

Almost everyone I know believes that the way they feel at any given point in their lives, is a function of whether life is going well for them at that point, or not.

I can understand why they think like this because that is indeed the way it seems to be.

However, things are not always the way they seem. We shall see shortly why the assumption that feelings flow from the circumstances of our lives is the basis for an almost unbelievable amount of unnecessary misery.

This report explains why this is so and uncovers the real generator of emotional experiences.


Where Do Feelings Really Come from?

Consider three married men all the same age, with the same levels of education, with three children each, who work in the same type of job.

There is a massive industry change and a general downturn in the economy which results in them all losing their jobs and finding themselves out of work for a lengthy period. The financial stress negatively impacts their marriages and each man’s wife takes off with the children and files for divorce.

Now we know that no two people are exactly alike, but in this scenario, the external circumstances of each man are the same.

As it turns out, the first man feels utterly devastated by the loss of his job and the loss of his wife and children. He sinks into a profoundly depressed state, loses interest in everything, and begins to drink heavily. Finally, he snaps, fires the contents of a shotgun shell into his head and dies.

The second man does not become profoundly depressed. Instead, he becomes profoundly angry and bitter. He continually criticizes everybody and everything until no one can stand to be around him. He loses all his friends and finally ends up living rough on the streets.

Because he burns his bridges with everyone he meets by way of his bitterness, nobody will consider him for a job or even try to help him.

The third man is very hurt by the whole experience but primarily feels a need to protect the interests of his children. Therefore, he does his best to try and reconcile things with a view to getting his family back together. Unfortunately, the wife is adamant that she wants a new life and ultimately, he is not successful.

This is quite a blow to the third man, and it takes him a while to recover. However, he has some good friends who admire his valiant efforts and they support him until he finds a new job and gets back on his feet.

He then joins a men’s self-help group where he finds that helping other men in similar situations, also helps him.

Eventually, he meets a great woman who wants to be his soulmate and they start a new and successful life together.

Same Circumstances – Different Feelings

I tell this story simply to illustrate the fact that if feelings are generated primarily by the circumstances of life, then each of these three men whose circumstances are identical, should logically all feel the same way as a result.

However, this is clearly not the case and the differences in the ways that each man responds emotionally to the same set of circumstances, are profound.

One commits suicide because of depression, and one becomes embittered and full of hate.

But the third man primarily feels concern for his children, and despite terrible setbacks, he eventually makes a new life for himself.

While this story is a fictitious one, we know from experience that different people do indeed respond differently at the emotional level, to the same set of external circumstances.

Some are calm in the face of danger and some are full of panic. Some are moved to tears by a what they consider to be a beautiful piece of music, while others will hate that same piece of music with a passion.

Therefore, circumstances of life must be ruled out as the primary generators of emotional experience.

If the circumstances of life do not give rise to the way we feel, then what does?

The answer to this question is not rocket science and while it might be vaguely understood out there in the big bad world, it certainly is not acted upon to any significant degree or embedded in the socializing institutions of society.

Let us now get some more clarity on the problem.

Your Feeling Machine

We all need to feel about and respond to the circumstances of life in logical and adaptive ways. This is necessary if we want to live as comfortably and stress-free as possible.

If we feel and respond in illogical ways, we will almost certainly suffer the fallout and likely put ourselves and maybe others as well, in danger.

As per the first man in the previous story, a refusal or inability to feel about and respond to the circumstances of life in an adaptive way, may mean that we do not survive.

What one, overriding factor, makes a person feel about and respond to problematic circumstances in useful and positive ways like the third man, but causes others to respond in destructive and negative ways like the first and second men?

There can only be one thing that makes the difference and that is the processing that goes on in the heads of each individual – for the external input is the same in each case. As we all know, the outworking of this process can absolutely result in a make or break scenario.

Now, think again about that vast pool of people mentioned in the introduction who nevertheless believe it is the circumstances of their lives that give rise to their emotional experiences.

These people are in deep trouble!

If they believe it is the circumstances of their lives that are causing them to feel certain emotional responses, whatever they may be, then they have absolutely no reason to do anything about the processing going on in their heads which is the real determining factor in their emotional lives.

There are consequences to believing in falsehoods and they are rarely comfortable or constructive.

The man who habitually beats his wife – does he believe that it is her behavior that is making him so angry that he feels compelled to strike her?

No – it is the way he interprets, processes, and imposes meanings of his own on her behavior, that gives rise to his anger and violence.

This is not to say that the woman’s behavior may not be difficult, highly provocative, or even totally crazy.

Rather, it is to say that the manner of the man’s response is not a function of her behavior (apart from what he has to do to protect life and limb) no matter how bad it is, because – believe it or not – the ability to remain calm and rational even under conditions of extreme provocation is a learned skill that can be mastered by just about anyone with the will to do so.

The man’s rage and violent response is a function of what he believes about his wife’s behavior and the extent to which he has related emotional issues in his life that are unresolved.

These things are ultimately his responsibility and not hers!

There is not a lot that is new under the sun and the subject of this article has been understood in one way or another by people throughout history who have simply made the decision that they are going to change their lives for the better, come hell or high water. Such people then set about doing it in one way or another, even if that means jumping straight into trial and error because the way forward is unclear or unknown.

In the twenty-first century, however, the what, why and how of mental and emotional reprogramming and corresponding personal transformation, is understood by personal development specialists with a very high level of clarity.

While the man who beats his wife simply experiences rage at her behavior and acts on it; the reason he experiences rage and engages in violent behavior is because he has taken on board unresolved negative emotion and toxic thoughts that are represented by actual physical circuits in his brain.

The man’s problematic circuits simply flip into the “ON” position when activated by triggering circumstances.

He typically struggles to reign in his violent impulses because he is ignorant concerning how his mind and emotions work, and therefore, he finds himself trapped in a pattern of protracted failure to identify, understand and challenge his toxic mental programming and to resolve any suppressed and undealt-with negative emotion from his past.

Unfortunately, the maladaptive neural circuits in this man’s brain also burn in more deeply every time he gives into them. Thus, the longer he fails to intervene in his own mentality to fix the problem, the more ingrained his dysfunctional behavior becomes.

On the positive side, however, the scientific record and the real-world experience of those that have engaged in radical personal transformation, demonstrate that none of this is set in concrete to the point where it cannot be fixed!

Please let the above sink in deeply as you consider, for example, the number of people who suffer from depression. Is it the unfortunate circumstances of their lives that are causing them to feel depressed?

No, it surely is not – at least not directly because to feel depressed, the circumstances of their lives must first be internally processed and interpreted in certain ways for feelings of depression to be generated.

This is not to say that the circumstances of some people’s lives are not destructive and debilitating in themselves, for life is observably cruel and unjust for millions of people around the world. Nevertheless, internal processing goes on and lies between the external circumstances of everyone’s life, and the emotions which are generated in response.

This is also not to say that there may not be any biological factors that contribute to depression for this can indeed be. However, that does not take away from the incredible potential that people have, to influence their own biology by controlling what they think.

If you wish to understand this phenomenon in more detail, you can download a great lecture by medical researcher Bruce Lipton on this topic. It is entitled, “The Biology of Perception.”

To view it, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjj0xVM4x1I

There is a lesson here for anyone who is quick to blame the circumstances of life for the way they feel, for as unsettling as it may be, feelings are generated from out of the particular way in which each person internally interprets, processes, and imposes meanings of their own, on the circumstances of life that surround them.

Therefore, how an individual person feels about and reacts to a particular circumstance, is not caused by that circumstance. The circumstance is simply the trigger which flips on pre-existing circuits in the mind of that person.

The feelings and habitual behaviors that are generated, are a consequence of the information contained in those circuits. This can vary widely from person to person and can be vastly different in people who discipline their thinking, as compared to those who do not.

The Bottom Line

It is very much human nature to place the blame for anything bad or uncomfortable on some outside factor like unfortunate circumstances.

This is the bottom line however:

The unique way that people process information from the outside world and respond to it, is ultimately their responsibility and not the responsibility of the circumstances that surround them! 

Here is the hard bit:

The way that men and women internally process most of the information that comes into them from their surrounding circumstances, is with their autopilots switched on!  

In other words, to progress efficiently through daily life, human beings rely on their ingrained, automatic, and largely unconscious thinking habits and beliefs to do their processing in the background.

This is so they do not have to suffer the “overwhelm” that would otherwise result from having to consciously deal with every minute detail of getting through each day.

This is fair enough if their ingrained, automatic thinking habits and beliefs are competent to do the job in a rational and logical way.

But what if they are not?

What about the man who habitually erupts in out-of-control rage and beats his wife? What shape do you think his ingrained, automatic thinking habits and beliefs are like?

Or what about the depressed, shy, or anxious person? What shape do you think their ingrained thinking patterns and beliefs are like?

It is unfortunate, but if anyone has emotional problems that are part and parcel of repetitive, self-defeating, destructive patterns of behavior, then chances are high that something is wrong with the way they internally process the information that they receive from the circumstances of life that surround them.

Can a person do anything about the way they automatically process information on the inside?

The short answer is “Yes.”

However, it is an acquired skill for most people that needs to be learned and practiced.

The experience, however, is life changing.

In some cases, it is life saving.

Yours sincerely

Richard McHale


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