* This is part of a year-long series called “52 Weeks to Eating better than Ever”. Click on the side bar for more information and to read the previous essays.
We live in the age of feelings. Turn on the TV or the radio, or pull up social media and we hear and see people talk about how they feel. The music we listen to also focuses on our feelings, “I’ve Got a Feeling” comes to mind. Popular movies pull at our heartstrings of feelings. If someone “feels” like they are another race, or another sex, apparently that is now on the table as well. I even saw a case recently in The Netherlands where a man was suing the government to have his birth certificate changed to an age 20 years younger than his birth age, from his 60s to his 40s, because he felt the much younger age! Amazingly, the court was actually taking the man serious. In the age of feelings, the way someone feels at any given moment is to be treated seriously. We all have to play along with the various charades in the age of feelings because in the age of feelings, anything goes, anything is both true and false, and anything can quickly shift back and forth. Feelings are never permanent.
Some feel hurt by grades, or by perceived insults, or by any variety of other slights or prejudices, and so they act out because, well, they feel like it. Likewise, we eat what we feel like eating. We do what we feel like doing. We ruminate over and obsess about these things, about our feelings. We don’t feel like cooking, so we don’t. We eat junk food instead. We don’t feel like preparing a healthy meal, so we don’t. We don’t feel like using a log or journal to track our intake for weight loss, so we never lose weight.
We feel like sitting on our butts and being lazy, so that’s what we do. The age of feelings would have it no other way. After all, what we feel is right, at least for now, isn’t it? We should always do “what we feel like doing.”
Focus on contemplation and correct action, over feelings.
When it comes to eating better, and doing better in many other areas, we should focus less on feelings, and more on action. It’s not that we should not feel, but we should take correct action, and then feel good about it. We should contemplate our actions, to determine if they are correct actions, and then if they are, we should feel good about that. If not, we should correct our actions.
So in the age of feelings:
- Feelings determine actions, whether correct or not.
In order to change our habits for the better, we need to shift to:
- Contemplation of right and wrong action, recognizing reality and falsehoods, and healthy and unhealthy choices which will then lead to correct action, which then later determines how we feel.
So we need a reversal.
In order to eat better, and get some things done we want to do, and to change for the better, contemplating and then acting correctly should be our number one priority. How we feel about any of this is not that important. Feelings are like the weather, they change. Feelings are nice, sometimes, but at other times they aren’t. Feelings are no ultimate guide on how to live life.
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