The rules for feelings


1. Your feelings do not originate from the part of your brain that is under your control   You cannot control your feelings.

2. Feelings are not subject to any moral code.  They’re neither good nor bad, right or wrong.  They just are.

3. Even though you can’t change your feelings, you are responsible for them.

4. Emotions can be “walled off” but not extinguished.  If you wall off an emotion it does not disappear.  It just goes and lives on the other side of the wall. 

5. Feelings can lead you down the right path or they can lead you astray.  It all depends on what you do with them. 

6.  When you disregard an emotion you are actually empowering it.  Ignoring, pushing away or walling off a feeling may seem to make it go away — but it’s the feelings you’re least aware of that control you the most. 

7. There is only one way to make an uncomfortable feeling go away, and that is to let yourself feel it.

8. Your feelings drive your thoughts, but you can also use your thoughts to manage your feelings. 

9. Sitting with a powerful emotion and letting yourself feel it while thinking about it — to understand why you’re having it, what it means and what it’s trying to tell you — is called “processing” the feeling. 

10. Your feelings are valuable messages from your deepest, most authentic self.  When you follow Rule 9 you are listening to the messages, honoring yourself, and making use of this invaluable inner resource. 

11. The way your parents treated your feelings as they raised you is probably how you treat your own feelings now.


~ Adapted from “The ten rules emotions follow that everyone should know,” at Psych Central.

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