Updated: May 2
Many times, we express ourselves with the word “feel” when we are really talking about a belief.
Example: “I feel like I’m being taken advantage of.”
That is not a feeling. That is a Belief!
It is good to notice the difference between the two – feelings and beliefs. There is a big difference and it affects the way you think and act. Feelings are things like Anger, Fear, Sadness, Guilt, Happiness, Love, Joy and so on.
When someone expresses a belief as a feeling, the first thing to do is notice it. Once you notice it, begin to separate the belief from the feeling by asking questions. Dig deeper into understanding what's underneath what they are expressing as a feeling. Ask something like, “What is the feeling that comes up for you with the belief that you’re being taken advantage of”?
You have now shifted the conversation and outlined (at the unconscious level) the difference between a belief and a feeling. You can get an array of responses in this case, and it is best to think twelve chess moves ahead to create an open dialog.
Someone may simply repeat it, “I told you that I feel like I’m being taken advantage of!”
In this case, you can share that you’re learning something new and ask permission to share it with them. If they are a “yes”, you can talk about the difference between feelings and beliefs. Many times, people welcome the clarity, and it gives them a shift in their lives.
Once you’ve isolated the difference for yourself and are comfortable, you can take a conversation much deeper by going into the feeling. Ask a "What" question to find the actual feeling under a belief. If you ask, “Why?” you will end up in a story about the situation and may still not get the underlying feeling.
When you isolate the feeling, you get more of that actual final effect of the situation.
You can then strategically help someone through their situation by helping them deal with the feeling instead of the belief. This does take some practice and once you’ve got it down, you are the open doorway for another person to look more deeply into themselves and begin to understand their own inner voice and self-talk.