"...you can't positive think your way out of negative feelings."
"Feelings work faster than thoughts, blood runs faster than synapses."
"The only way to fight feeling is with a feeling."
"Feel thanks and it's absolutely impossible to feel angry. We can only experience one emotion at a time. And we get to choose-which emotion do we want to feel?"
-Ann Voskamp from "One Thousand Gifts"
As I have been intentionally writing down and proclaiming what I am thankful for each day, as I focus on a thankful mindset, I open up Ann's book again to these highlighted passages. Let's just take a moment to read them once again....
No seriously, go back up and read them.
Anyone else experience an epiphany?
I have only been really focusing on the thanksgiving proceeds the miracle for two days. I have been thinking, verbally proclaiming, and writing down my thanks. However, I can't say that I am fully surrendering to the feeling of thanks. I did not know that it was actually impossible to feel more than one feeling at a time. I've read this book already, I even highlighted those passages, yet they did not scream at me like they are now. So I read further into the footnotes.
"People generally do not make efforts to actively infuse their daily experiences with greater emotional quality," posits scientific researcher and professor Rollin Mccarty. "Although most people definitively claim that they love, care and appreciate, it might shock many to realize the large degree to which these feelings are merely assumed or acknowledged cognitively, far more than they are actually experienced in their feeling world. In the absence of conscious efforts to engage, build, and sustain positive perceptions and emotions, we all too automatically fall prey to feelings such as irritation, anxiety, worry, frustration, self-doubt and blame"(Rollin Mcraty, "The Grateful Heart," The Psychology of Gratitude, ed. Robert A. Emmons [New York: Oxford University Press, 2004], 241, emphasis added).
Is it actually impossible to feel two different emotions at once? And if so, how do we make ourselves feel differently?
After reading a few articles on the subject, I found many interesting facts, theories, etc. This may take a lot of research to fully understand, and a lot of time. I don't know about you, but I don't necessarily have the time to research all of the answers right now, but I believe we can begin this process simply by giving thanks, by being intentional in our thoughts. And by doing whatever it means to fight feelings with feelings. I know that our thoughts may not actually fight how we feel in each moment, but I think if we begin with the mindset of thankfulness, of eucharisteo, we can begin to change our overall feelings, our emotions, to be that of gratefulness.
If you asked me right now, I cannot honestly say that I feel grateful. But that does not mean that I am not grateful. I don't know about you, but I am excited to feel eucharisteo, to actually live in an emotional state of thankfulness.
Today I am thankful for...
God restoring the broken.
Healing my family.
The unconditional love of the Father.
The natural light seeping through the blinds.
A home that feels like home.