What To Do With Feelings


I hate talking about feelings. I really do. At least in person and to people. Talking about feelings – real feelings – just always seems so needy and foolish and stupid. That’s why I write them out. When I write about feelings, I understand them better. I am able to express them more coherently. I often feel the need to be coherent when I communicate because I feel far too easily misunderstood. Maybe we all do.

There is something to be said about feelings though – exposing them in their raw nature and orating them without much concern for whether they will be misconstrued and transformed into something that wasn’t intended. We all feel. As long as you are alive, you feel. Whether you choose to express them in the moment or consider them before you expose yourself, or wear them proudly as a badge of honor or hide them carefully or simply numb them as much as your heart will allow – if you are breathing, you are feeling.

But what are we to do with feelings? Feel them, seems like the obvious answer. Maybe, I say. But not always, I also say. It’s a contradiction, I know. Don’t take any advice from me about feelings – this is just how I express mine and I by no means claim it as the best way. It might even be the worst. I believe in feeling the things that I need to at a particular moment in time whether it’s happiness, sadness, anger, passion, confusion. But I don’t believe in feeling them always.

You see, I think feelings can alter our judgments from experiencing reality if any objective reality does exist, and I believe it does. But this belief is not a feeling, it is an assertion of faith. But feelings can danger our experiences and beliefs if they are so raw and unkempt. Our feelings may replace our beliefs and experiences if we are not careful with them.

On Sunday evening, I was sad. At first, for no particular reason, I was just sad – an overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction and an unpleasant lens of myself and my place in the world overcame me. Then I became sad for particular reasons. I accepted it for a little while and read and wrote to embody the sadness. When you’re in a feeling, it is easy to continue to stay there. Then I remembered a quote about happiness, “You might as well be happy because no one really cares whether you’re sad.” Or at least that’s how I remember it. Anyway, I wanted to stop feeling sad.

I didn’t immediately become happy so as to become the opposite of sad but I did become thoughtful and aware that I had some power in how I felt about my feelings. Feelings are natural but they are also unnatural. They can be overwhelming and overbearing. They can reveal to us what we don’t know while simultaneously exposing what we always knew. Feelings are our soul’s witness to our human experience or maybe our human witness to our soul’s experience. Either way, feelings are real. But they are also as real as we want them to be. Do what you will with your feelings – allow them to define you or don’t, expose them or hide them, acknowledge them or numb them. Whatever you decide, know that your feelings can change who you are, and who you are, can change your feelings.

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