Our Feeling State
Maurice Turmel PhD
Ever wonder what it would be like to have a life without feeling? Would it be possible to enjoy anything at all? Could one be happy or sad without being in touch with their feelings? I would have to say impossible!
Our feelings are our life blood. They fuel the energy that we create with. They tell us about our state of being, happiness or sadness, and everything in between. Our feelings are our life. They drive us. They unnerve us. They jostle us into action.
We are our feelings at every stage of our life. We are sadness when we feel down, hope when we feel optimistic, and all those emotions that fall in between. Our feelings tell us who we are. They give meaning and value to our existence, our relationships, our dreams and aspirations. They tell us where we are, moment to moment, in that emotional cycle
However, we are not only our feelings as we experience them, but our understanding of our feelings. We know for example that to lie will likely make us feel guilty. So we have a choice, to lie or not to lie, and then suffer the consequences as a result. But the truth in some cases brings its own pain. Is that a reason to lie? Of course not! Is that a reason to tell the truth? Maybe, maybe not! We would have to think it through, wouldn't we?
That's the way it is with feelings. They come! They go! They are ephemeral! Feelings are like children, dancing across the pages of our lives, telling us what's in our hearts and inviting us to participate in their magic.
Feelings can take us up or down, depending upon who or what we are reacting to. They can move us into places we've never been simply by virtue of their invitation and our natural curiosity. Curiosity by itself can take us places too, but without feelings, not so memorably. Feelings color memory. They make some events stand out and others fade away in the mists of time.
We have feeling adjectives like happy, sad, angry, hurt, elated, depressed, grumpy, churlish and more. We have descriptive language for our feelings which can be associated with physical displays. Our face will reveal feelings as will our body language. Descriptive phrases, often used by poets, will take us even further. Language describes our state of being. Our body, vocal tone and other signs will reveal even more. Denial, for example, can be physically in evidence, despite language to the contrary. Our body will tell the truth, even when our words do not.
Can we run away from our feelings? Of course we can, to a certain extent. This happens all the time. People grieving losses, remembering a bad time in their life, avoiding a reaction to a traumatic event, they can certainly block the flow of feeling energy from their inner core to mental awareness. Some forms of repression can be quite crippling. This can happen when hurt, sorrow and similar forces push us to the edge of our capacity to accept such pain and loss.
Our self, who experiences all of this, is the center of our feeling nature. Feelings must be accepted and felt before they can be dealt with. In fact, identifying their nature and what they are trying to tell us is essential to understanding our current state of being. Without that information we can easily break the guidelines we usually apply to ourselves and lash out at someone who is not at fault for our feeling state. Feeling knowledge is essential to maintaining good relationships.
Feelings are information about whom and what we are, where we are standing in our personal evolution, and where we are going from this point forward. Recycling old feelings is a way of staying in the familiar and limiting ourselves. Moving through our feelings is what drives our growth. Accepting our feelings and working through their experience allows us to release them, to free them from their hold on our psyche by meeting their need to be identified and expressed.
A few lines on a journal page may be all that is required to release an emotional blockage. It can certainly be a valuable beginning point if further action is required. Like children, feelings can cling to us until acknowledged and allowed to tell us their story. We release feelings only after we've embraced them and expressed them safely. Then the next feeling moving through us steps into the queue.
So you see my friends, feelings are our allies. They tell us who we are by their energy and flow and by their relationship to our current status quo. They relieve us of tension when accepted and understood. They propel us toward adventures we may not have thought of before. They help us grow and expand our vision of the world, and our place in it, by acting as a map to our interior life.
That part of us, the feeling part, holds us dear, tells us we are loved and informs us when we are wounded and need special care. At every juncture of life experience, a feeling can say to you: "You are important! You are valuable! You are worth listening to." We help children grow by validating their feelings. We can help ourselves flourish in the same manner.
So celebrate what you feel, even if it is pain, because this feeling will move through you. Once such a feeling is acknowledged, you will know you have survived a very difficult experience. When joy comes along, you will be able to soar with that as well. Just like all things in life, feelings are transient. They pass from one border of our experience to another, tell us a story and release us to fly again. To our feelings we must go often and without reservation, for there our lives are magic and magic always makes us happy.