You are what you eat! say the clean-eating gurus.
You are what you think about! say the Law-of-Attraction teachers.
Neither are wrong, exactly. I know from experience that the food you eat has a huge impact on how you feel, not just physically but also emotionally and mentally. The manifestation/attraction process indeed begins with one’s thoughts. And yet, somehow I always knew that the above statements only tell part of the full story.
Then during a training with Bob Proctor, the penny dropped. He said: “You are what you become emotionally involved with.” I immediately knew that this was it. It’s what I had been struggling to put into words. And the ramifications of this seemingly innocent sentence are manifold.
Let me show you.
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Disclaimer: No, you don’t have to feel good all the time
I keep saying, writing, and teaching it, and I will continue to do so until I’m blue in the face and you’re sick of hearing it: None of this means that you must always feel good, or that you’re sabotaging yourself and/or your happiness when you feel angry, sad, or down.
Emotions are there to be experienced. When you lose someone you love, of course you’ll be mourning. It’s the natural way of things, and it’s not going to sabotage anything – otherwise, anyone who manifests with ease would be a cold-hearted monster. They’re not.
This is why I like Bob Proctor’s way of saying it so much. Years before, it was Lynn Grabhorn who first pointed out that it’s the feelings that matter for manifestation, not the thoughts (read her milestone book Excuse me, your life is waiting).
However, saying that it’s about feelings doesn’t go far enough and leaves room for interpretation and mistunderstandings like the above – that somehow, in order to manifest happiness and success, you can’t ever feel anything we label “negative”. And that’s rubbish.
What does “emotionally involved” mean?
Emotionally involved is not just feeling an emotion. We all “feel”, all day long. We’re happy, sad, angry, curious, bored, content, joyful, and frustrated. We laugh and we cry. We mourn, we celebrate. If all of this resulted in major manifestation or determined our character, we and our lives would be kaleidoscopes of ever-shifting shapes and colours.
This is why you needn’t worry or feel guilty about not feeling great about something. Putting obstacles in our way is life’s way of teaching us what we need to learn, and life’s not known for being particularly subtle about it. So if you’re reeling from a setback or loss, join the club. You’re not failing, you’re not being punished – you’re simply alive. Now go and feel your emotions.
“Involved” is something else. Emotionally, it’s the equivalent of getting serious about a relationship. You may be dating, you may even have a fling. You might get a little starry-eyed about someone. But once you feel your feelings solidifying, becoming stronger and steadier, you’re getting involved.
The same goes for everything else in life.
Examples of emotional involvement
To put all this in more practical terms, I’ll give you a few examples.
Person A has a stressful job and often works overtime. That’s what makes her come alive; she’s “married to her job” and gains great satisfaction from meeting tight deadlines, living the company values, and gaining her managers’ approval.
Person A is clearly emotionally involved in her job.
Person B is also a dedicated employee with a great work ethic. When she’s in the office, she focuses on her work 100%. However, where Person B’s heart truly lies is in tennis, and so she sets clear boundaries around work-life balance. She trains several evenings a week and spends most weekends at regional tournaments.
Although Person B spends far fewer hours playing tennis than working, her emotional involvement is with tennis.
This is why passions are key
Are you beginning to see why I promote prioritising passions? And why it doesn’t matter whether or not you give up your job and/or make your passion a source of income? Or how good or bad you are at it?
If you can choose what and who you are, and shape yourself according to what you get emotionally involved with – why would you pick something stressful and cut-throat? Passions bring you joy. They make you overflow with happiness and ooze love from every pore. That’s something worth becoming, wouldn’t you agree?
Before you ask: If we’re going to stay with the relationship metaphor, then no, you don’t have to be monogamous with what you’re emotionally involved with. You can have a happy relationship and adore your kids, and still put a passion front and centre as well. You’re emotionally involved with all of these, and they make you who you are.
What does this mean for you?
It means that you can choose what you become emotionally involved with. A while ago, I had you do an exercise where you added up the hours you spent on sleep, work, chores, passions etc. each week. This exercise is a great start and gives you some hints on your priorities. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.
The more accurate measure is your emotional involvement. You can be a good employee and work hard, but there’s no need to dedicate your whole life to your job. Pick and choose what you’d like more of in your life, how you would like to be and become. These are the things you should dive into with all your heart and soul.
P.S. Don’t worry about doing well at work: Person B above will get promoted long before Person A. Because happy people with a strong sense of self and strong boundaries make great leaders, they tend to be recognised in the workplace, often ahead of their overtime-working colleagues. Think about it!