Updated: Sep 11
Our feelings are information. As information, they always matter. This does not mean our feelings are always telling us something that is true, only that the information always matters.
So as human beings, we have two major toolboxes at our disposal for navigating life day to day. One toolbox is our feelings, and the other is our analytical thought. As my exquisitely-crafted drawing here shows, these two toolboxes are meant to work in harmony so that we can make the best decisions in any scenario.
One practical thing you can do in your recovery is imagining, or observing, people who are in the habit of rejecting either of these toolboxes. (You may not have to imagine very hard if you simply observe yourself not making use of either one of these toolboxes.) It’s good to observe the naturally-resulting negative effects that this has.
For example, some science-minded people may completely reject emotion as being unnecessary and pointless in their personal lives. In effect, they are rejecting this source of information as totally irrelevant. By doing this, they deprive themselves of half of the information they have available for making decisions.
The character 'Spock' in the Star Trek movies/tv show is basically just a thought experiment on the complications that would arise from such an approach to things. (Spock comes from a race of beings called Vulcans who reject emotion.)
How about those who focus exclusively on their feelings? In effect, they are categorizing their analytical thought as being ‘less important’ than whatever they feel - ‘rejecting’ that toolbox, for all intents and purposes. Artistically-minded people may be some examples of those guilty of this.
Again, the result is the same: They are depriving themselves of access to all of the tools they have at their disposal. And in fact, feelings were never designed to ‘make decisions’ for us. They are intended to be examined with our analytical thought so that we can make decisions, rather than our feelings making them for us.
Think of your feelings as an advisor. Powerful rulers and businesspeople make use of advisors all of the time. But are the advisors the ones running the countries, or the companies? No. Just because an advisor advises something does not automatically mean that the President does that thing. The President listens, takes it into consideration, factors in other sources of information, and comes to a decision himself. The same with powerful leaders of business.
So, this drawing illustrates where the sweet spot is - the place where we always want to strive to be.