“Emotional life can be influenced, but it cannot be commanded.”
― THOMAS LEWIS
AS WE sit in the space of our logic and reason, without threat of emotion, we find a certain scholarly safety is available. It’s a place where we may gather with a friend or two and enjoy a quiet beverage and some rather stimulating (or boring) intellectual dialogue.
Conversely, when we are rained on by that other side of human experience – where thoughts are run roughshod because of the rampancy of our feelings – we are quickly out of control.
Rather than controlling what we will think about, our feelings are more prone to taking on a discretion of their own. What we put into our characters is likely to affect the experience of our feelings as we have them, but there are also those feelings deeper below that seem ingrained in our more visceral responses.
To Trust Feelings or Not Trust Them
Many people are scared – or may think it’s foolish – to trust feelings. For some there is the feeling that we’ll be overwhelmed beyond hope, or that they may not be able to trust their feelings or even themselves in the midst of such a feeling.
But those deeper down core and instinctive feelings need to always be taken seriously. Few people, if any, ‘cry wolf’ in order to get attention regarding the deeper down feelings – like anguish. It can seek like embarrassing work. But there are those who do, and they dare to be different. It’s good that we work through these deeper down feelings.
Trusting our feelings is a vital first step individually in a corporate setting, let alone as something to forge intimacy, but we have not done this well.
Sitting in the raw situation of one’s own anguish is a special opportunity to grow through these deeper feelings by some sense of confident engagement with them. We all want to engage good people who can sit in their own moment of pain. Bearing feelings is what we can know by theory. We may want to be someone who can bear our own feelings.
Respecting our fear, but, at the same time, not getting away from the need to influence our emotions and behaviour, we find that the respect we experience is helping us.
But it is about sitting in the period of pain, and, by this method, maximum learning potential exists.
Feeling our feelings is only good, however, when we can trust them. We learn not to judge ourselves or judge our feelings.
Feeling our feelings is only good when we can trust them – the deeper bodily feelings are very trustworthy. God has given us the opportunity to respect our feelings so that life has purpose and meaning; and this is good.
Feelings have a purpose – many of them. Sitting through our feelings, being with them, and respecting them, not fearing them, is our aim. Then we can influence them.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.