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Feelings REALLY are a key tool for change

What are your Dominant Feelings?


Are you living the "dream"? How do we change? Feelings may influence how we act much more than we may realize. The purpose of this page is to offer an understanding of how feelings often do effect the decisions in our lives, and how to use feelings to help us change our lives.


Regardless if you are a female or male, in some families or cultures, feelings are sometimes suppressed generally due to "incorrect lessons." This may be cultural, or it may be first learned from within the family, where you may learn at a very age to suppress your feelings. Claudia Black, PhD, MSW discussed in her book "It Will Never Happen To Me" (amazon) that we were given the messages "don't talk, don't trust, don't feel". Her blog (blogspot.com) talked about how this could happen.  For example, in extreme cases situations could be so abusive or scary, that suppressing your feelings was a way to deal with the insanity or difficulty of a situation. It is said that some people drink to "stuff their feelings." In other cases, you may have had parents that dictated what you were to do, and that left no room for expressing your feelings.

Furthermore, for some men in U.S. (and maybe elsewhere), it was (or still is) considered a sign of weakness if men show they had any feelings. "Keep a stiff upper lip" (wiki) is a British attribute where you were taught not show any fear. Moreover, in some families or cultures, it was considered a sign of failure if you had to see a therapist because of your emotions. Now, suppressing your feelings may seem to make sense if you have to fight in a war, and you have to choose between your life or an "enemy's" life.

It seems that in some cases, the interesting paradox is that some people may have been taught not to be aware or express their feelings, yet it isn't it often the feelings behind our thoughts that run through our minds that keeps some of us from sleeping well at night or that sometimes dominates our mind during the day?

Understanding how feelings actually affect you can open a door for change. Have you ever wondered:

WHY do we sometimes make decisions that either
but we make them anyway?

WHY do we sometimes

HOW does understanding WHY we make those decisions
empower us to make the changes in our lives?

Have you ever watch or read The Secret (thesecret.tv), or read the Power of Positive Thinking (amazon) by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, the Bible, or any of the other positive thinking, (what could be called) "self-improvement" books and wondered:

  • Have you or others read books like these, yet continue to have negative attitudes or events happen in their lives?
  • How do they actually work?
  • Should I "trust" in the process of positive thinking? After all, isn't it brainwashing, telling me how to think and feel?

Have you ever felt stuck, like your "spinning your tires", even though you know you may want to be doing something different?

Why don't we always end up following the "teachings" that self-improvement books have to offer? After all, if you have read any of these type books, don't they all generally seem to make common sense?

Does positive thinking actually work and how?

Well I think that understanding how the brain works, and how dominant feelings could be effecting how I act (or react), gave me a plausible reason to HOW and WHY positive (and yes negative) thinking works.

If this makes sense to you, and you understand HOW dominant feelings can affect your live, then you can better harness that knowledge towards producing a more positive, productive, meaningful and happy life. After all, isn't this the true message from all these teachings? How we can best live this amazing gift we call life?

The following explains the "what, how and why" of dominant feelings:

  • Where did the term "the dominant feeling" come from?
  • What is "the dominant feeling"?
  • How does "the dominant feeling" affect your life?
  • Why you should identify any negative dominant feelings in your life. (You may be surprised to read this especially when the purpose of this site is to help people become more positive and loving.)
  • How you should use any identified negative (or positive) dominant feelings to improve your life. More specifically:
    1) How to create the best positive dominant feeling for a given situation.
    2) How to take your positive dominant feeling and apply the lessons learned to live a happier life through personal change.

Where did the term "the dominant feeling" come from?

I first heard about "the dominant feeling" from the audio version of a great book by Dr. Wayne Dyer called Wishes Fulfilled (hayhouse.com). In it, he frequently talks about one of his mentors, Neville Goddard. He mentions quite frequently passages from a book by Neville Goddard called "Feeling is the Secret." Neville's book appears on many sites including here (feelingisthesecret.org) and here (nevillegoddardpdf.com). Amazon also sells the book here (amazon). Neville devoted a lot of his life to helping others, not just with books, but also many lectures and audio recordings. Some of those lectures and recordings can be found here (law-of-attraction-haven.com). (Thank you Neville!) In "Feeling is the Secret," Neville talks about "the dominant feeling."

What is "the dominant feeling"?

The definition of "dominant" is "most important, powerful, or influential." It's the "strongest emotional feeling." Something that really surprised me at first is that according to Neville, "the dominant feeling's" strength is "measured" the same, regardless if it is a positive or a negative feeling. In math, they would call that that the "absolute value" of the feeling. Simply put, whether you are happy or sad, whichever is a stronger feeing at the moment wins. This sometimes happens even if your rational thinking determines that the happy choice is the choice you want to make.

For example, everyone has a fear of jumping off a tall building and landing on a cement ground. Good thing! However, how many people, including me, have an "irrational" fear of heights (Acrophobia) (wiki), even when where you standing poses absolutely NO risk whatsoever of falling down? What if by going up a mountain and looking down a cliff would provide a most amazing view. For some people, the dominant feeling of fear limits them from experiencing an amazingly beautiful view. It can limit your life, even though rationally you know it's safe. 

How does "the dominant feeling" affect your life?

Neville says, "The dominant of two feelings is the one expressed." He then goes on to say that, your ideas become your feelings, and that "No idea can be impressed on the subconscious until it is felt, but once felt - be it good, bad or indifferent - it must be expressed." In simple terms, Neville says your dominant feelings choose most (or all?) of your resulting actions in your life, even though you may not want them to!

To visualize what Neville says, consider you are a robot waking down this long hallway, and at the end of the hallway you run into a junction and you can take either a left or a right. Which direction do you choose? In terms of feelings, your dominant feeling would determine if you will be taking the left or the right depending which feeling, or "program" (right or left) is stronger.

To understand these concepts and how to use them, I suggest you read his book "Feeling is the Secret," but I'll also try to simplify what he says and how he arrives at his conclusion. This is because if you start to read his book, you may first find it confusing. I did. I hope that my simplified interpretation or "translation" will be accurate and help you better understand how you can use this knowledge in your life.

Besides what instincts we are given at birth, it seems just about everything in life is learned. (Note: You may also want to read most skills in life are learned.) So how do we learn and process what we have learned?

  1. We first hear, see, feel, smell, taste, sense, and so forth everything that happens in our life. If we model us like a computer, these are our "inputs." These are our conscious thoughts.
  2. From our "inputs," we create our thoughts or ideas. For example, a bright sun creates heat.
  3. From our thoughts/ideas, we formulate feelings. For example, on a cold day, the bright sun may feel good to us, and we may feel "comfy." These ideas and feelings get stored in the subconscious part of our mind. The subconscious is like a computers disk drive.
  4. When there is a decision about what action to take in our life (or how we react with people or situations), decisions are driven by "the dominant feeling." The subconscious simply retrieves the data and acts accordingly. So the subconscious simply stores what we tell it to store, and retrieves what we ask for.

As previously mentioned, Neville talks about the subconscious and consciousness mind in his writings. The concept of the conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind was made popular a long time ago by Sigmund Freud. He called the subconscious "preconscious." The actions of the conscious mind may be loosely grouped into steps 1 and 2 above, while the subconscious and unconscious are more related to steps 3 and 4.

There are lots written about how the mind works. The Conscious, Subconscious, And Unconscious Mind - How Does It All Work? (awaken.com) is a good starting point for those interested in more detail. If you want, take a look at it, and then maybe with that and what I've written, Neville's "Feeling is the Secret" will be easier to understand.

It's important to understand that in "Feeling is the Secret," Neville says that the conscious mind communicates or directs the subconscious mind through ideas and feelings. Neville says that is the ONLY way to communicate to your subconscious mind. Maybe he is right.

If you ever wondered about how powerful the subconscious is, and how much it runs our life without us evening thinking about some things, consider this. Simply recall the last time you drove a car, and hardly remember thinking about how you drove it! The subconscious runs our life ("drives our ship"). Wayne Dyer in Wishes Fulfilled (hayhouse.com) talks about how we can skate on a thin blade on ice, and once we learn the skill, we can skate effortlessly years later even if we never skated for many years. Research indicates that about 95% of our decisions come from our subconscious and the subconscious mind process some 65 thousand thoughts a day!

In "Are You Programmed at Birth" (healyourlife.com), Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D. says, "the most influential perceptual programming of the subconscious mind occurs from birth through age six". Since your subconscious is programmed through feelings and ideas, what do you think is stored (programmed) into the minds of children that are brought up in a very loving, nurturing family verses a family with lots of anger, abandonment, abuse and so forth? Moreover, it's not until around six that a child has the ability to reason and say, in the case of a family that fights a lot, "that's not normal for people to fight all the time!"

Why I think you should identify any negative dominant feelings in your life.

If most every day your life is filled with joy, love, and happiness, then you may not have any negative dominant feelings. However, if you seem to repeat (or seem stuck) in some situations in your life, or the same negative thoughts continue to play through your mind day after day, and you can't find a solution, then I think identifying the root dominant feeling for the situation is very helpful because it can give you a reference for what you have to "unlearn" (or "reprogram"). If Neville is correct, this is because it IS the dominant feeling that IS controlling your actions in your life, so your goal is to switch that to a positive dominant feeling. By having a clear understanding of what's wrong, by diagnosing the problem, you can define and implement a plan to turn it positive. And if you don't take action to replace a negative dominant feeling, then, according to the "laws" described by Neville, it will continue to express itself (or play out) throughout your life, resulting in negative outcomes.

So how should we use any identified negative (or positive) dominant feelings to improve your life?

First, create the best positive dominant feeling for a given situation.

I believe that if you can identify any negative dominant feelings, then the solution is to essentially look and research for its "positive mirror" (or opposite) feeling and focus all your efforts in learning and living with that new positive dominant feeling. I'm saying once identified, as Wayne, Neville and others would write, don't give the old negative dominant feeling ANY energy in your thoughts. Focus only on the positive through the conscious mind.

The following are two examples of how to create a positive dominant feeling.

Example 1, weight:

I think most people have heard the saying that "food is love." Yes, food can be a loving act in many ways. Food comforts a baby from birth, and is necessary for life. However, some people who may have grown up in families with the notion that "when things get emotional tough, sit down and have some pasta, or some food." Sure, people can show love when they take the time and prepare special dishes for themselves and others. Those are loving acts. So let's call "food is love" a dominant feeling. It seems like it is a positive dominant feeling, at least to a point!

We all know what can happen if you "love food" too much, you gain too much weight and that's not being loving to yourself or your body. We all know it's doesn't look as good, but most importantly we all know that being overweight has huge negative health impacts. Among other things, eating too much takes food from other people, costs society and yourself amazing amounts of money in health care costs, causes depression, gives you a lower quality of life, kills you sooner, the list can (and does) go on. Knowing these TRUTHS, why doesn't everyone weigh close what they should weigh? What are your thoughts?

One answer can be that they learned an unhealthy form of the dominant feeling "food is love." Another answer can be from advertisements that sell unhealthy fast food products" Just think, how many fast food commercials have you watched? Have you ever heard a commercial use the word "love" in their advertisement?

To learn how to eat healthy, learn (ask, read, etc.) which foods are the healthiest foods and learn what quantities to eat and replace "food is love" with sayings like "I love my life, and want to now live a healthy life, eating the right amounts of healthy foods." On the other hand, say, "I feel great because of eating healthy foods and maintaining my proper weight. I also know it clearly pays off every day for the rest of my life allowing me to live a longer, happier, healthier, more loving life." Now you probably noticed I crossed out "want to." That is because if you say to yourself "I now live a healthy life," the phrase is in the present tense so it feels better and stronger. Remember, "Feeling is the Secret."

So, how do you make loosing weight a positive loving process?

How do you make that process something that you can be excited about right NOW? One of the best examples I've heard was by Dr. Dyer. He said to see yourself (imagine or visualize) as already weighing what you want to weigh, right now. Feel the feelings that you would feel if you already weight what you want to weigh. Feel how great will it be. Feel how many activities and life options you now have!

Consider finding pictures of yourself or others who look like how you want to look, and put them on the walls, screens or wherever you are likely to see them every day. Now feel how that person feels weighing what they want to weigh. It would be normal and natural for a person who weighs what they weigh to have smaller portions on their plate. Use your imagination and feel how beautiful and uplifting it will feel with all the new benefits and options that become available at your desired weight! See also life changing tools.

Example 2, fear:

I'm guessing that the (or one of the) most common negative dominant feeling for people may well be "fear." Now knowing exactly what a person may be fearful OF can offer a more directed solution, but for this example, I'm just going to say "fear." Now I think fear limits so many people in what they do in their lives. Yes, folks should be smart enough to not jump off a tall bridge with nothing but cement below. However, for some, fear can be debilitating, and counterproductive. Actor Will Smith has a great perspective about fear and its role in people's lives in this YouTube video (youtube) about his experience with skydiving.

What is the opposite of fear? Google "the opposite of fear is" and Goggle's results give you many options, such as acceptance, love, faith, and peace. I initially found "courage". Therefore, it's something for you to think about and decide what works best in your life.

Second, take your positive dominant feeling and apply the lessons learned to make every day be a better day for you and those around you through personal change.

As outlined above, once you have an idea of what positive feelings you want, the next step is to work to replace the negative feelings. The short answer to how you do this is to "reprogram" your thoughts. Since it depends on what your goals are, the method may be different. However, the most common technique is using positive affirmations. In Example 1 gave some sample "affirmations" designed for that specific goal. You can make them up yourself. "Affirmations" are really just positive sayings that focus on what you want to be or gain. If you are still stuck, you can research or ask others for specific affirmations. There are many audio sources with great affirmations, check out youtube and search for affirmations. A primary key to having those affirmations work in life is to use repetition. Simply reading them once will not produce many changes. Some people suggest you say the same affirmations in the morning and night every day for 1 year. If that sounds like a lot, consider how many times top athletes practice the same routines before they master them. To make them work for you requires repetition, repetition, repetition. A 12-step slogan is "the program works if you work it". In other words, work is required.

Now some may still be skeptical that we can program our mind with positive affirmations, but I think the proof is that if negative feelings are programmed, so can positive feelings. My logic might be similar to proof by contradiction (wiki). If you look at most young children, they tend to be fearless. Over time, these same humans grow up with some (or lots of) fears. This is because the fears were programmed into them. Be careful about this, be careful about that... How much of the news creates fear and/or negativity in our lives? If fears can be programmed in, they can be programmed out through repeating positive affirmations. It's as simple as that. It just takes work Try it for 1 year, it may take you less. Fear is learned, and some fears are irrational and cause negative (or prevent positive) events in our lives. By applying proof by contradiction (wiki), positive feelings can be "learned" through positive affirmations as well as other tools. Neville and Dr. Wayne Dyer believed feeling IS the secret. When you say your affirmations, it's very important that you really feel the feelings as if the result has already happened.


Maybe there IS a better way than "keeping a stiff upper lip" (wiki)?


Obviously, any changes in your life of can ONLY come through your actions = your work. Consider spending time learning from the teachings I've mentioned herein or elsewhere. Never forget that just about everything in life is learned. There is almost an unlimited supply of resources and people that want to help guide you towards helping yourself.

I've always been a positive thinker. Neville, Dr. Dyer and others have provided me with new tools (such as the power of feeling), and I'm seeing good results from using them. If you identify and understand any negative dominant feelings and replace them with positive affirmations using feeling and for long enough (remember repetition), you too can see great changes. See also life changing tools.

I've read not too long ago that "it takes work to be happy," but I prefer not to live an unhappy life. In the same way exercise helps to keep me physically healthy, it makes sense to me to do the work to have healthy feelings. Just think what your days would be like if everybody focused on being more positive and loving!

Best wishes to your loving, happy, healthy life!

Thank YOU for reading this!

By David M

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This page updated 12/07/22 09:56 PM