It seems like the most obvious question a doctor could ask.
You might even think it should be the opening to every single visit with every single patient.
Or maybe it belongs at the end of the visit, after the adjustment.
Do you know which question I’m talking about?
It’s this one: “How are you feeling?”
Two Sides of One Question
Naturally, when I am visiting with someone, I want to know how I can help them. As a chiropractor, my help usually revolves around identifying sources of pain and trying to alleviate them. Asking how you’re feeling helps me locate the sources of pain.
So in that regard, it’s a pretty handy question, but that’s where its value ends.
If you’re like so many of my patients who have been following my “Move Right Monday” exercise series, I would be doing you a disservice to ask how you’re feeling.
How can that be?
People have begun to ask me about the quote I include at the end of every article: “At the end of your feelings is NOTHING; at the end of your principles is a PROMISE,” by Eric Thomas.
Eric Thomas grew up in poverty in the Detroit area, without a father, often homeless. He struggled in school and in life, but he found a way to overcome his circumstances. It took him 12 years to complete a traditional 4-year college degree, but he persevered, and has since completed his Master’s Degree and PhD at Michigan State University. He is a pastor and motivational speaker. His story makes his quote all the more remarkable.
So, what’s my excuse?
I don’t always feel like getting out of bed in the morning, but I get out of bed anyway.
Sometimes, I don’t feel like dealing with people all day, but I come to work and smile at everybody.
I’m not guided by my feelings…at least not in those instances. I wish I could say I’ve mastered this, but I’m as guilty as the next guy of getting tied up in my feelings.
We all go through times where we are led by our feelings – we don’t feel like exercising, eating right, or looking for a job – but if you let your feelings guide you, you will always stay where you are.
Humans are creatures of habit – you’ve probably heard that said many times. We are also creatures of comfort. When you turn on the shower in the morning, do you jump right in? No. You stick your hand in the water a couple of times to see if it has warmed to a comfortable temperature, right?
When you feel fatigued after standing on your feet for a long period of time, what do you look for? A comfortable seat to sit on.
When there is a breach in a relationship and a confrontation is on the way, what do we typically do? We avoid the other person, don’t we? We look for the easy, comfortable way out. Whether it’s physical pain or emotional pain, we seek comfort and avoid discomfort.
But sometimes, the right thing to do is also the uncomfortable thing to do. Sometimes, we have to let someone correct us where we are wrong. We have to deal with problems head-on. We have to change our diet to include foods we don’t like and remove foods we love. We have to get out of our chair and take some action.
That’s the difference between feelings and principles.
Webster’s has several definitions for “principle,” but the one I want to focus on says, “a rule or code of conduct, or adherence to such a code.” Principles never change. Your principles define who you are because they direct your choices, even if they do so on a subconscious level.
Principled people live out their beliefs and values because they allow those beliefs and values to dictate their actions. If they know that they need to avoid junk food, they do so even when they crave junk food, because their values guide their decisions.
That’s a powerful place to live.
An Important Exercise
When you do what is right because you know it is right, even though it is uncomfortable, you take a step forward in your personal development. It’s not just your muscle groups that benefit. It’s not just your waist line that benefits. Your character also benefits. You become a better person when you let your principles overrule your feelings.
Exercising your “principles” muscle is one of the most important exercises you can do.
If you continue to be directed by your feelings, you will never achieve optimal health. It’s that cut-and-dry. You can’t achieve physical fitness or maintain it if you let your feelings decide, because attaining and maintaining physical fitness involves choosing uncomfortable activities. At the end of your feelings is NOTHING.
But, if you choose to take uncomfortable actions that benefit your physical health, your emotional health, your relationship health, your mental health, or your financial health, because they are your principles, there is a PROMISE that things will get better. And all of Heaven will get behind you to accelerate your progress, because Heaven works by character and principles determine character.
Doing what is right because it is right is the right thing to do.
What Will You Do Now?
What are some principles in your life that you want to focus on? I know I let things slip over time; maybe you have some principles that you’ve let go soft, like managing your time wisely, praying consistently, or eating right. Whatever you want to guide your actions, take some time to write them down and be mindful of them throughout your day.
I love our time together on “Think Right Thursday,” because it gives me an opportunity to share things with you that have helped me BEYOND the physical body. As much as I love to visit with each patient, time is so limited in the office. I’m glad you took the time to read this, and I hope it was helpful to you. I know that quote has inspired several people. Now that you have had a chance to think more deeply about it, it will help you as well.
Can you think of someone you know who could use this encouragement today? Be sure to share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus. Someone you know might need this message, and you might just be surprised at who it is. You never know who might be helped.
I’ll see you next “Move Right Monday.” Have a great weekend!