Awareness & Feelings

In my last post I talked about some good ways to build awareness as suggested by the book:  Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson.

Well I got to re-reading the book a little and decided there was a little more I wanted to do around all the good stuff that’s in there.

When I wrote the little bit about being aware of your feelings, I knew I couldn’t include everything in the last post, but he’s got a lot of good stuff, so here is a little more.

Rick says that feelings basically fall into five categories:

  • Anger
  • Joy
  • Sadness
  • Sexual Feeling
  • Fear

What I was reminded, that I love, is that none of these feelings is BAD, they are in fact only what we make of them.

Since the Gremlin Taming Method is all about Simply Noticing, Rick’s answer to looking at your feelings is to do just that. So you become aware of your HABITS around that feeling. Here again, we won’t judge those habits, only gremlins judge, we’ll simply notice the habits and see if we want that habit to be a part of us or not.

This is called Being At Choice, or as Rick says, choosing and playing with options.

So lets look just a little deeper into each of these feelings:


We all have different habits around anger as Rick finds:

Your habit may be to talk yourself out of anger, to rationalize it, to rant and rave, to eat, to drink, to fight, or to depress yourself by unconsciously suppressing it. You may experience anger as powerful, as scary, as sexy, or as disgusting.  You might become energized, nauseous, vengeful, super-nice, sarcastic, placating, attacking, or very analytical, or you might go to outrageous lengths to avoid the feeling.

My guess is there is something of your response to anger somewhere in there. The key, though, is to remember not to judge your response once you’ve found it. Simply look at it and say, “Yup, that’s what I do.” then answer the question: Do I want to keep doing that?

Don’t let any judgments slip in. It should be a simple yes or no answer, you shouldn’t need any “because …”. Chances are if you simply notice your “gut” response to whether this habit is something you would like to continue or not, the answer will come to you.


This is my favourite of the feelings mentioned, and yet, as Rick mentions, this is one that is often suppressed.

I talk about this a lot – how there are a lot of forces out there (especially when we’re kids) that essentially tell us to keep our joy contained. “This is not a time to laugh” or “seen and not heard” or “Stop being silly”, these are the types of things we learn and start to take to heart and as such begin to suppress our joy.

The problem is that most people confuse expressive joy with “irresponsibility, immaturity, and being out of control”, as Rick says.

So take a look at your habits around joy, what do you do when others around you are full of exuberant joy? Do you join in an laugh? Do you scoff and say they are being silly? Do you fear you might lose control?

Simply notice the habit, then ask yourself the same question as above: is my response what I want it to be? And if not, you can choose and play with some options about doing something different.

I seem to be running a bit long today, so I’ll continue with the rest of the emotions tomorrow.

Until then, simply notice what happens when you … keep laughing.

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