Western culture places a premium on feelings in the form of moods. While we diminish the importance of experiencing difficult emotions like sadness, disappointment, frustration, fear and jealousy, we worship at the altar of moment-by-moment impulses. This sounds like:
I don’t feel like it.
I don’t feel like exercising.
I don’t feel like working.
I don’t feel like journaling.
I don’t feel like cleaning.
I don’t feel like organizing.
I don’t feel like studying.
I don’t feel like cooking.
I don’t feel like being loving with my partner.
And if I don’t feel it, I won’t do it.
What we don’t realize is that “I don’t feel like it” is code for resistance. Why would you feel like doing something hard like going to the gym and exercising when it’s so much easier to sit on the couch and watch Netflix? Why would you feel like writing down your dreams when you wake up in the morning when it’s so much easier to scroll through your phone? When you submit to the resistance, which uses your predilection for habit and laziness as its primary power tools, you hijack your growth.
And it’s not the sentiment itself that is the problem. Nobody feels like doing things that are hard, and given a way out we’ll usually take it. The problem arises when we listen to this statement instead of acting against it. The hijack happens when we lay down prostrate and allow the part of us that “doesn’t feel like it” to run the show. This is essentially a very young, toddler-like part who is led by its momentary impulses. Our culture supports this immature mindset at every turn, and it’s your job, as a loving inner parent, to acknowledge the momentary mood but not allow your life to be dictated by it.
If you’re not acting based on moods, what drives your actions? Healthy action is based on values, vision, and commitment.
I’ll share some examples:
Adult children commonly feel the need to call their parents frequently. If the need is stemming from a sense of obligation and the fear that if you don’t call your parent will be disappointed and withdraw approval, the action is not loving to you and to your parents. If, on the other hand, your calls are motivated by a value of caring about your parents and wanting to make sure that they’re okay, then the action is stemming from health.
Quite often, especially with this example, there are multiple strands of intention. When this is the case, what is being asked is action informed by self-trust which arises from a place of stillness. As always on the path of inner work, there are no formulaic, one-size-fits-all answers that apply to all people in all situations. The task is to know yourself well enough that you can parse apart the various and sometimes paradoxical strands of intention and assess each situation on a case-by-case basis.
Let’s explore another common and tricky area of life where the phrase I don’t feel like it can easily run the show: sex. This is probably the area that I hear about the most when it comes to mood, especially for women. First off, it’s essential to know that past a certain relationship phase and stage of life most women are not led by libido or intrinsic desire when it comes to the act of having sex. In fact, research now shows that most women start out sexually neutral, which means that, while innate desire is unlikely to be the factor that motivates sex, once the motor get going the body responds and the sexual experience is fulfilling.
What this really means is that if you allow your mood to dictate your actions you might never have sex again! So am I suggesting that you have sex even if you don’t feel like it? I’m certainly not suggesting sidelining a strong inner knowing that it’s not loving for you to have sex in a certain moment, but if you frequently find yourself putting off sex because you don’t feel like it, it’s worth changing tracks and remembering that one reason to have sex is to support a deeper value and commitment to your relationship; that you have sex because, for most people, once they get over the initial hump (no pun intended!) of not feeling like it they find that they enjoy themselves and that the act of making love is a lubricant (!) for the relationship. Furthermore, sex begets sex, which means that the more you have it the more you intrinsically want it. So having sex becomes an offering to yourself and to your relationship, and a decision to do it is guided by your values and your commitment, not by your momentary mood.
One final example that arose just a few days ago. My older son said, “I don’t feel like studying math.” I smiled, thinking about this post, and said, “Of course you don’t feel like studying math. It’s hard and you don’t like it. But you study because you have a goal to go to college and study aerospace engineering one day, which requires high level math. Sometimes we have to do what we don’t feel like doing now to support a higher vision.” The vision here is of a career in aerospace. The action of studying, even when he doesn’t feel like it, supports the vision.
How much does the phrase and sentiment “I don’t feel like” rule your life?
I love this article, Sheryl! I’ve been addressing this in my own life in various ways recently. How resistance and procrastination hinder us from growing in self-trust and as an adult. That there are many times we don’t feel like doing things, but we do them in light of the greater goal and bigger picture. I had a thought the other morning about going for a run in the cold weather, “This isn’t too bad. I can run this morning.” Then my feelings kicked in and said, “Nah. You don’t want to and you don’t feel like it. U want to stay in bed” And I sat there and paused and thought, “What if I stopped at my first thought and didn’t let my contradictory feelings dictate my action?” It was one of those lightbulb moments where I realized I have more control over my thoughts and my life than I think. Nonetheless I decided to go for a run the next three mornings in a row and felt so much better each day. My value is to keep by body healthy and sometimes going w my feelings can contradict that. And not just in this areas but in MANY areas. Thanks for this!
This is a wonderful example, Sara, and exactly what it looks like to question that second impulse and act instead from values and commitment. The payoff is so worth it!
Recently I began doing the dishes at night instead of leaving them for the morning. I don’t want to do them at night, and frankly I have a lot more energy in the morning, but I value the discipline of maintaining a clean home and starting the morning with a fresh slate. That is the person who I want to be… Now off I go 🙂 thanks for your words
Thank you for sharing this. I, too, LOVE coming downstairs to a clean kitchen, and I, too, LOATHE doing dishes at night. But I love when I push past the resistance and do it, and my morning self thanks me every time. Sounds like yours does, too ;).
LOVE LOVE LOVE that quote! Thank you for sharing.
I loved this article as well! It also reminds me of a quote I try to apply to in my life……”We don’t feel our way into behaving well – we behave our way into feeling well”.
LOVE this quote! Thank you for sharing.
Oooh, this rules my life. My (new!) husband, on the other hand, does just about everything even though he may not feel like it. I poke fun at him because he always has a list of awful, boring, cleaning chores to do around the house every weekend whereas I prefer to schedule my fun activities and make time for the chores later. He retorts that he must make the list, because if he doesn’t do it, it will not get done. I’m terrible about getting out of bed in the morning, while he gets up at the same time every single day, no matter how poorly he slept. I assert that I don’t feel like it, but he reminds me that no one feels like getting up and going to work. He does the dishes after dinner before he gets too comfy on the couch, when I would much rather leave them for the next day (or the next day….) I am working on developing my inner father discipline….
Sounds like your new husband – yay! – is a wonderful model for you as you grow your inner father.
Hi Sheryl and community.
I’m feeling so lost in my relationship now. I am very unhappy but can’t find an explanation for it- the relationship is fine and my partner is, on paper, ideal for me (of course there are things I dislike but I’ve learnt to accept them). ROCD/anxiety has been plaguing me for months now but I’ve really reached a point of just feeling so unhappy. I feel as if I’m trying to force myself to feel something that is just not there- I really want it to work, I want to be happy but it’s just not happening. I feel nothingness towards my partner, irritation, anger sometimes. Sex as also become an issue because I am just not feeling in the mood & when I do, I question myself constantly. I don’t know what to do- I need some help really. I can’t figure out if this unhappiness is simply just because I am staying in this relationship and really I need to leave. Is it common for people for feel unhappy and discontent? What should I do?
Well done for reaching out. May I invite you to journal or tap/EFT (see free videos on u-tube eg Nick and Jessica Ortner of The Tapping Solution, or Sonia Ricotti) or go be in nature, meditate, dance, sing, be creative in any way that suits you and allies you to feel happy, take a bath, enjoy time with a pet, ultimately be comfortable with you, hear and listen to your responses, soothe your inner child and listen to what she’s teaching you.
All is perfect, you are perfect, right now, always have been, always will be – you are currently enjoying and expanding your soul’s growth and awareness through this life journey, and I’m just learning I can choose how I choose that to be. I am in control of me – my mind, actions, responses to and choices of thoughts and feelings, responsible responses – I am responsible for me and therein I stop blaming, shaming, resenting, bullying, needing, desiring, guilt-feeling, guilt-inducing behaviour and memories. I choose allowing, surrendering and enjoying all the happiness, ease and contentment of co-creating with a higher power, my holy spiritual/God/Source/Life’s creative energy and pulse and heartbeat and eternal unifying love within.
I send you all love for enjoying your happiest, best, sentimental, feeling, all-emotions-allowing, emotion-freeing, and whatever you love about and for yourself, your most beautiful and healthiest journey.
Sheryl’s Trust Yourself course in 2015 and 2016 follow-up really helped me learn to fully love and hear me, and tapping/EFT following and continuing the journalling that led me to Sheryl, to Natalie Ledwell and Mind Movies/Brain retrainment/The ‘Secret’ authors’ and similar websites and free webinar sharing, accessing and re-programming the subconscious limiting fear-filled negative values and experiences I was unwittingly living despite positive affirmations and intentions with which I was co-creating my current less-fulfilling and nurturing experiences, filled with a negative unhelpful unsuccessful sabotaging energy from the past, so regression therapy and spiritual healing also helped me heal.
I send you every beautiful bountiful expressive wonderful graceful gentle loving happy harmonious continuous blessing. I trust you love and fully accept yourself exactly as you are now, and similarly the same for everybody, we are all doing our best, and maybe as with Sheryl’s post, when we direct our positive conscious intentions, in connection with our higher self/our best possible self/our God-like self, our heated from past hurts and limitations, negative feelings self, we co-create, generate and enjoy so much that wondrous life is offering us – a life free from any alloy, nothing and no-one to allow to annoy, pure bliss, abundance and joy, in every way, every day. God bless, namaste xx
Edit: … our “healed from past” not ‘heated’ – although acupuncture has shown me I was physically and under the surface which was erupting heat through my skin because I was holding much negativity deep within – anger and bitterness, guilt and shame, resentment, fear, sense of revenge, spiteful ness, most from experiences before I was born and relating to circumstances in which I was conceived, birthed, born and early years’ raised, and subconsciously carried and self-sabotaged with in current self behaviour and relationship ‘choices’ which clearly weren’t currently fully consciously-created.
I’m so grateful to all in my life, all who’ve been and will inwardly and onwardly be in my life henceforth – my fully loving conscious agreeing and intended and God-combining and allowing choices.
Handing to God all I feel too much for me has been and is such a beautiful gift and blessing, for I always ‘wanted more’ therefore asked for and received more, because I didn’t feel ‘good enough’, I felt ‘rejected, abandoned, unwanted, unloved, unheard’.
In healing and self-soothing my inner child, I stopped running, I took notice, I heard, I created and held space, I listened, I let tears of live, joy, peace, bliss, abundance, understanding, tolerance and joy flow; I let passion and persuasion, heart-fuelled loving, compassionate, sweet, childlike excitement, encouragement and support dictate how my inner child desired my adult self truly be. I am my happiest, blessed, most successful and beautiful, radiant, perfect and wonderfully abundant version of me.
I choose to be differently. Different to some and often most of how I was raised, educated, schooled, what I held onto, and I’m ok. I am enough. I choose to share, to no longer live and hide under the darkness of the stairs, too scared to come out, to shine my light, now I brave, courageous, I live with, from, through, employing, enjoying, sharing a love-filled light so bright, because it’s God’s co-creating life shining from within and all around me.
I am evangelical in being my very best, still, at times, the polite rebel, the earth angel others and I choose to label part of me. I’m also label-free. I died in an RTC 14/11/1986, resuscitated x3, I know I have a beautiful inspiring uplifting angelic gently loving eternal story to share, and I have started it here and recently in starting to share of how God and I co-creatively healed me, through many, including Sheryl Paul and members of this community. We are all One and I choose to bless and be blessed by my interactions with everyone; thank you, I love you, namaste today and every day; soul-to-soul, sacred and loving and full of divine energy in every way xx God bless – full of bright, beautiful sunshine ? and rainbows, unicorns and angels, all myth, magic and wonderment that best-serves your lovely, intuitive, gorgeous, expansive, expanding, eternal, fun-filled loving, beloved, nurturing happiness and God/given abundance ?
Shannon: Everything you’re describing is common to people struggling with relationship anxiety. I strongly encourage you to consider this course:
Dear Sheryl, I’m following your Break Free From Anxiety course. This content is bringing such a new light to an issue I’m struggling with since 6 years, after the birth of my second daughter. Hope you will find time to write more about this sex issue in a long term relationship, since I felt could be key for me in this moment of my life. Thank you so much. Serena (italy)
Serena: I have other posts about sex (you can find them under Collections or by doing a search) and it’s also the focus of my Sacred Sexuality course. Sending love ;).
In addition, I currently find listening to Abraham Hicks’ u-tube videos, books, FB Thoughts to Things group posts lovingly motivational as the focus is personal responsibility with acknowledgment for God’s/Source’s loving co-creation and eternal intention that we live as our highest and best, abundantly shining in all ways. God bless, I trust anyone so-aligning finds happiness, success, peace and ample opportunities for community sharing, educating and promotion of all that is of ‘love and above’ (reference to Christie Marie Sheldon, healer and Dr. David Hawkins’ emotional vibrational frequency scale) xx
“I choose to” has become my stabiliser, freeing me to live as me through taking full responsibility for my moods, emotions, thoughts, actions, including forgiving me when not choosing to act so lovely, and therein denying the love that flows in, through, from, to, because of, by, intentionally, unconditionally as God’s most gracious gift within and colluding, combining and creating with me. I thank all who similarly choose to align and share their experience of God with me. Thank you. Much love to you. Lots of love from Sophie – namaste xx ????????❤️????♥️????????
Sheryl, this is brilliant. I find myself constantly feeling guilty about the fact that I ‘don’t feel like’ having sex, or listening to my partner talking about work, or calling him at regular intervals. I have been struggling with relationship anxiety for a year and every time I ‘don’t feel like’ doing something I immediately think I don’t love him enough.
I’ve been in therapy for 10 months and it’s not getting any better – I understand the train of thought, I can recognize it’s an intrusive thought (in the sense I don’t want to think what I’m thinking), but even though I can see where it comes from – always from a feeling of guilt or feeling disappointed towards by partner – i can’t seem to stop them and the doubt is still there, every day. I want to love my partner and it feels like I’m going nowhere: do you think it’s normal for therapy to take this long to work (we’ve been working hard on false beliefs, I am very rigid and it’s difficult to convince myself love is not what I’ve been taught by mainstream media), and would Break Free from Relationship Anxiety help to make progress faster? I know one year is not a lot of time and some people have been suffering for much longer, but I don’t have much money to spend on therapy and it’s worrying me that I am losing time and money…
Emanuela: This course is the best investment you can make, and I wouldn’t tell you that if I didn’t truly believe, based on what you’ve shared, that it can benefit you enormously.