I have been feeling really tired lately, so the other night while in the tub, I decided to check in with myself (in a very G-rated way). I was playing around with muscle testing to see if I could pinpoint what was going on.

I started with “I am tired.” I tested clear, which surprised me because I felt about-to-pass-out-exhausted. I pondered for a moment and then it struck me to test for “I feel tired.” Bingo!

I was a little surprised that this subtlety in language hadn’t occurred to me earlier and very grateful that my body hadn’t yet begun to internalize the sensation of fatigue that I was experiencing. This train of thought led me to a bit of guidance I received last year during one of my remote healing sessions with a dear client. I was given a message for her that rang very strongly with me: Feelings guide us; they do not define us.

I have been rolling this around in my head over the past months, revisiting it often and sharing it with other clients as well. Through my musings and healings, I’ve really noticed our tendency to define ourselves by the way we feel. This is especially pronounced in the English language (and possibly others but as a Spanish speaker I can only attest to the fact that there exists a built-in distinction in that tongue that distinguishes between passing emotions and qualities of being).

If everything we say is an affirmation – and it is – then we are affirming to ourselves and Source all the things we don’t want as well as all those that we do with our “I AM” statements. Thoughts and words are powerful manifestation symbols that we breathe our very life into. Every time we say, “I AM __________,” we are integrating that emotion, quality or feeling into our energy body. Eventually, it will manifest into a physical condition that embodies the statement.

This is wonderful if we are affirming life supportive statements such as, “I AM worthy, beautiful, healthy and smart!” If I continue to talk about how tired I am, though, my body will have no choice but to provide me with a fatigue response. This is not to say that we become everything that we put after “I am,” but awareness of our language can help us to adjust our “bad” or negligent habits that may ultimately turn into physical reality if left unchecked. Our body listens to our minds; it hears us, and it answers us. I have seen this time and again in the work that I do and while it can certainly be shifted and undone, it can wreak a lot of havoc energetically and physically before that change takes place.

It can also keep us playing small. For years I was overwhelmed by my emotions and the things that I thought I was. Because I was sensitive, I couldn’t be powerful too; because I was a “victim,” I couldn’t be assertive. Really the list goes on and on. Like many others I’ve encountered, I welled all of my “I AMs” up into an energetic ball that I swallowed down into my (energy) body. They became a stew of thoughts and feelings that overwhelmed me because I didn’t know what the hell they were or meant or how they even related to me anymore. I was drowning in them, and as they became heavier and heavier indictments of myself, it became harder and harder to see through them to the truth of who I truly am and who each of you is: a soul signature – an imprint of the Divine – expressing itself in physicality.

There’s a sense of enclosure that can occur when we wrap ourselves in I AM statements. This can feel like a warm and fuzzy blanket when we affirm, “I am loved” or “I am happy,” but it can feel like an entrapment when it relates to heavier emotions such as sorrow, fatigue or illness.

When we allow our feelings to guide us, we are able to be detectives in our own lives rather than victims of self-defeating statements. Noticing that I feel sad allows me to remain detached from the sadness. When I am not the “it” that I am experiencing, I have the power to adjust it. I can ask myself why I am feeling sad and I can acknowledge it for the important information that it is providing me. Once I acknowledge it, I can learn from it and ultimately release it. We are then able to transmute something that didn’t feel very good into a vehicle for healing. As an internal guidance system, feelings can be great teachers when we allow them to be. With this in mind, and with respect for the valuable information shared with me, I instead choose to affirm: “I am an energetic and vibrant woman that happens to feel a little tired lately.”