“Bring back that lovin’ feeling ‘cause it’s gone… gone… gone. Whoa-oh-whoa-oh-whoa.”
If the lyrics above aren’t bringing the song to mind, just picture a bunch of Air Force fly-boys singing it in Top Gun. Who doesn’t love the Righteous Brothers, right?
But, what do you do when life imitates art and you actually have lost that lovin’ feeling?
Perhaps you want to get it back. Perhaps you don’t. The truth of the matter is that you just don’t feel it anymore. You look at your spouse and the twitterpated-ness that you experienced at the start has completely faded away.
Are diminished feelings reason enough to walk out the door? Is there a way to get them back or are you sentencing yourself to spending the remainder of your life as you currently are if you stay?
It may seem like you are faced with only a few choices here: Stay or leave? Revive the feelings or remain the same?
Let’s put those choices and those questions on the back-burner for now. I want to see if we can approach this situation from a different angle, perhaps bypassing these questions altogether.
I want you to recall the last time you were extremely happy. Did your favorite team win a tough game? Did your child do something totally awesome? Did you succeed at something you really struggled with?
Whatever it was, bring that moment to mind. Picture where you were.
See the scene.
Feel the emotion.
Remember what you were thinking.
Now, did the experience direct your emotion or did your emotion direct your experience? Let me ask it another way: which came first – the happiness-inducing moment or the happiness itself?
You were in one emotional state and then suddenly “it” happened. Your mind took in and processed the event as your senses perceived it.
You saw something, you smelled something, you heard something, you felt something, you tasted something… all that information got inputted into your brain and processed. What your brain spit out was a determination that this was a very good thing.
How did your brain decide it was a good thing?
It compared this event against some standard that you have adopted. It was compared to something that you believe deeply. You believe it is good for your team to win or for your child to do what he or she did or for you to succeed.
This circumstance met the standard you hold in your mind.
And this made you feel very happy.
Why is it that someone else is happy when your team loses? Why is it that someone else is indifferent to your child’s achievement? Why is it that someone else is upset at your success? (Contrary to popular belief it probably isn’t just because they are an idiot. So keep reading.)
It is because they either perceived the situation differently or they hold a different belief than you.
If either your perception or your belief changes (not the circumstances), then you get a different experience. Your happy experience is someone else’s sad experience because you each took in the information and compared it to a different belief. Your brains determined the situation differently making you each feel differently.
Now go back to that lost lovin’ feeling.
Is it really gone… gone… gone, whoa-oh-whoa-oh-whoa?
Or has your perception changed? Or your belief changed?
Maybe you have developed different expectations for your spouse. He should be doing this. She should be doing that. He doesn’t act the way that I want him to. She doesn’t do the things that I like.
If either the perceptions or beliefs change, the experience is different. What used to make you happy or loving, now makes you upset or disappointed.
So, your perception or your belief needs to change again in order to bring back that lovin’ feeling.
The controls are in your hands, fly-boy. You may not be able to change the circumstances, but you can change how you see them, what you think about them, and ultimately how you feel about them.
You control these things.
If you want to get back that lovin’ feeling, it all starts with having some serious conversations with your brain.
Watching Top Gun once or twice won’t hurt either. I mean, come on, it is an awesome movie.