Your Feelings Are Like a Smoke Alarm, Listen So You Don’t Get Burned

We all want to feel happy, but many people don’t want to feel the emotions that we would call “negative,” like sadness, frustration, or envy. We can dismiss the unwanted feelings because we would rather feel neutral than experience negative emotions. Frankly, it is common to not want to get uncomfortable and fully experience our feelings. However, ALL of our emotions have a message for us and we will feel better in the long-run if we stop to listen.

Investigate the Feelings to Prevent a Large Fire

Just like a smoke alarm going off in your house, when you are feeling something, it is the alarm sound to pay attention. So, if you turn off the smoke alarm or push down the feelings without investigation, you may be missing a really important message and you don’t want your house to burn down. 

Our Feelings Give Us Information About a Situation and Can Motivate Us to Act

Our thoughts and judgments contribute to us having a misunderstanding of what we feel. For example, if you’re feeling frustrated, your body may be communicating that you’re being unheard, unseen, or that you are internalizing your feelings. This could be a clear sign that you need to speak up to have your needs met. 

In an article out of Berkeley, about emotions, it was reported that “many emotion researchers believe feelings, whether pleasant or unpleasant, are adaptive and useful, providing important information about what’s going on around us.”

Don’t Want to Feel Envious? Think Again

Envy is another interesting emotion. We live in a world where we have access to “seeing” what is happening in other people’s lives all of the time. The emotion of envy is more common than ever. We may think of envy as being a maladaptive emotion, but it can actually serve us. Evolutionarily, envy has served the purpose of motivating us in the pursuit of resources to survive. In modern day, we may not use envy for sole purpose of survival, but it can motivate us. When we feel envious, we are more likely to set goals and achieve them. 

Are You Ready to Get Uncomfortable and Investigate the Smoke Signals?

If you’re ready to begin looking at your smoke signals in your emotions, below are some questions to support you in the journey:

  1. What are your smoke alarms (signs and symptoms that everything inside isn’t going well)?
  2. What do you do when you hear the smoke alarm going off? 
  3. Think of a recent incident when you believe a smoke alarm was going off recently. What was it trying to tell you?
  4. What is the call to action of your smoke alarm?

After you ask the questions, give yourself some compassion. After all, your emotions may feel uncomfortable, but they are all needed to help you feel whole. The following words can be read silently or out loud to help you with your self-compassion:

  • May I give myself the compassion that I need
  • May I learn to accept myself as I am
  • May I forgive myself
  • May I be strong.
  • May I be patient

How We Can Help

  • We offer support groups, workshops, and wellness retreats in addition to mental health counseling and therapy. You can find more details at