In a world where feeling is considered shameful or a sign of weakness; I ‘ll be addressing why this is an erroneous and destructive concept. Also, how you can maximize your feelings for a productive life and a healthy sense of self. Worthy of mention, it is, that the greatest source of self-harm comes from rejecting your feelings for fear that you are feeling wrongly.
First, an accurate understanding of what feeling is.
Feeling is technically a demand or directive upon your mind to perform function– to think. When a feeling is experienced, it exists to inform you of a problem or need that requires attention. All feelings are as valid as they exist. Once you feel a thing, and think through how to solve the problem highlighted by the feeling, the feeling leaves as soon as the need is solved.
The origin of individual’s erroneous perception of feeling dates back to the early developmental years when your feelings were consistently invalidated upon revelation, which taught you that your feelings are inherently worthless and shameful. However, since feeling is not what you do, you have not stopped experiencing it, instead, to keep yourself from feeling wrongly, you learnt a way to hide it.
Your feeling is as important as you are. In fact, there is no distinction! This is because whenever you reveal your authentic feeling, you reveal your authentic self. Your feeling is inseparable from you; it is beyond the bounds of possibility. This is true in the way you conceal your genuine feelings and are unable to solve the problem that such feeling is revealing. In that case, the problem regurgitates and creates a tumultuous life for you.
In his classic book The Enchiridion, the ancient Greek stoic philosopher, Epictetus, wrote that people are disturbed, not by things, but by the notions and principles which they form concerning those things. This means that it is a person’s perception that creates his or her feelings.
These are several things no one told you about feelings:
Feeling is An Experience That Happen To You
Essentially, feeling exists to highlight your needs. Once it is highlighted and the needs are met, the feeling fades away. This is because it has served the purpose for which it existed in the first place. In events where the feeling lingers on for a long time, it is because you do not understand why it is there. As such, you are either pushing it away or ignoring it, using your own subconscious certainty of what feeling is.
When you say you choose to feel a particular feeling as against the lurking feeling, what you unknowingly do is to suppress you authentic feeling for your preferred choice. However, by doing this, you prevent yourself from solving the lingering problem or need. No feeling is wrong; whatever you feel at any time is an information about your perception or state of being. In the case where your perception is wrong, your feeling would exist to inform you of that erroneous perception that you carry around. Choosing what you feel is like running away from the truth and hoping that your lie would solve the problem. Unfortunately, ideas cannot substitute for reality.
Feeling is Neither Good or Bad, Right or Wrong
Feeling is not what you do, therefore, you cannot categorize it as an action. However, in reality, it is an experience that happens to you. Sometimes, you prevent or shut yourself out of your feeling because you consider your feeling to be immoral, inappropriate, wrong or shameful. Your feeling is judgment free, no matter what it is. It is the reason you are able to know that you have a need, and think of ways to meet such need.
Imagine you don’t feel hungry and go on without food. The resulting effect is that your body and health will suffer. Additionally, you run the risk of shutting down without warning. That “warning” is often dramatized or represented by the help of feeling. Would you consider your feeling of hunger to be a bad thing? If you would not, why would you consider your feeling of anger, jealousy, etc a bad thing. It is not the feeling that is considered good or bad, rather, it is the misuse of the information the feeling is highlighting that is considered good or bad.
A person who keeps himself or herself from feeling anger, can certainly not feel joy. This is because, the way your emotional algorithm stops you from feeling anger, is the same way it would stop you from feeling genuine joy when it exists. You are never feeling wrongly. I know you live in a world where you have internalized otherwise. The experience (feeling) exists to inform you of your state of being or inform you of something you need to fix- your perception for example.
You Are Incapable of Making Another Person Feel Anything
In a society where personal responsibility is lacking in a broad sense, emotional blackmail and guilt trip takes center stage. Given the actual way feeling is generated, you are incapable of making another person feel anything. It is they themselves (their internalized perception) triggering themselves. All thoughts are just an internalization of your perception (experience) of the world. No human being lives inside another. As such, no human being can cause another person to feel in a certain way.
Consider the event of two different people who have the same experience, but feel differently about the outcome of that event. It is not the outcome of the event that creates the feeling, rather, it is their perception- belief or view- of that event that creates the ensuing feeling.
Your Feeling Represents You
Each time you reveal your authentic feeling, you reveal your authentic self. Therefore, when you reject your authentic feeling, you unknowingly, reject your authentic self. People who reject their authentic feeling loathe themselves. The way you invent or choose a feeling is the same way you invent another person (you) that you deem acceptable.
This is one a major way children catalog and make sense of themselves and their feeling, during their early childhood. When you validate your feeling and listen to the information it represents, you validate yourself, because your feeling is you. The extent to which you value your feeling is the extent to which your value yourself.
Nobody can ever feel wrongly, just as no feeling is better than the other. This is because they do not exist to qualify you, but to inform you. All feelings have equal inherent value. There is no negative feeling either. These are all misconceptions that have gone round for centuries regarding the nature of feelings. Events do not produce feelings; it is the interpretation of those events that create the feeling.
Get into the habit of listening to your feelings. Even when you unconsciously suppress it, recall it, and figure out what information it has got for you. Imagine how your life would be if you begin to feel a full range of your feelings without fear of feeling wrongly.