Dichotomy colors our time. Conservatism versus liberalism. Black versus white. Weakness versus strength. Boy versus girl. Man versus woman. Life versus choice. Minimalism, racism, empathy. We teeter on extremes. This makes sense. One extreme versus another creates friction and can often promote change, and we all know we need a whole lot of change around here today.
Dichotomous thinking can be detrimental to our balance, however. One arena in which this is especially true is how we relate to and manage our feelings. In our present climate, emotions are blaring. The thing is, not all of us are experiencing them. And if we are, often we are expressing them in-full, and then discarding them altogether.
When it comes to emotion, we don’t want to lean to either side of the scale. Avoidance and unbridled indulgence both lead to the kinds of intemperance that leave us and others hurt. Furthermore, they leave problems unresolved.
Feelings are best related to as they are examined.
So many of us reach for our phones when a feeling creeps in. Our knee-jerk reaction can be to release what we encounter. The issue with this has more implications than the obvious outbreak online. We jeopardize experience. We sacrifice not understanding why we may feel a certain way. When we consider the root of our feelings, we can identify truer sentiments.
If I am feeling discouraged and I react immediately by retreating to my room but never take the time to consider what might have sparked that response in me, I am losing a chance to understand the world around me and my particular experience within it. You see, our feelings tell us things.
We are not meant to succumb to them blindly, but I think it serves us and others more completely if we take the time to investigate them.
When we sit down to journey a bit through why we are enduring a certain emotion, we can then articulate the feeling better and from there, we can further explain the reasoning more clearly. It is a self-fulfilling cycle of understanding.
As we understand our experiences more evidently through the lens of our feelings, we can communicate to one another with much more temperance, and thus, much more empathy. We will continue to be gifted by these sparks of internal sensation, and so we need to continue to notice them and use them to our advantage.
Feelings mark the greatest stories, both tragedies and triumphs.
Stories are marked by individuals who reflect on their experiences. Communication ties stories up in bundles so they might be manifested in others as new information. If we cannot engage with our feelings in healthy ways, we cannot share our experiences, and if we fail to do this, we may risk relating to one another. Today we need this more than ever, it seems.
Please, feel your feelings. We all could use a bit more of this. I suppose this is a little reminder, similar to one your mother told you when you were young. Still, I felt I had to share. Why exactly? I’ll need a few minutes to think about that.