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The 'Worthiness' of Feelings

Many years ago, I was told this 'absolute truth': "Courtney, you're a fool. You could do better, be better, but you're incapable of it. You don't use your mind. All you do is feel, feel, feel." This person glared at me, screwed up their face in a pouty look and mocked my voice, "'I feel this....I feel that.' You need to stop living your life by your feelings and learn how to think."

Looking back, I can laugh, because eventually this person realized I wasn't so stupid after all, but back then, I felt as if a sword was thrust through my heart. My feelings, my intuition, my emotions were deemed unworthy and because of this, and a multitude of other reasons, I began to believe that I was worthless.

It's true, I wear my heart on my sleeve and I feel things very deeply- but this had never kept me from using my mind. In fact, my feelings encourage me to think outside of the box, enabling me to question what my mind tells me which enables me to find new possibilities and create new ideas. 

The mind and heart are not constantly at odds with each other. It's true that at times they can be in conflict, but for the most part, if they work together as a team, beautiful things, truths and dreams can be created.

That being said, the truth of the mind, while it can be in conflict with the heart, never negates what the heart feels. Truth, no matter how vicious or wicked it may be, is still truth, and your heart will respond to it in an appropriate manner. It is never wrong. Your heart is never wrong. Your feelings are never wrong. So cry when you need to, laugh when you must, crumble to the ground in gut-wrenching fury and dance in the thrill of life, because your feelings are true and they are an expression of you, your life's experiences and what your soul truly knows.

To hinder them and hide them because your mind tells you they can't be so, is truly death itself.

Live, love, feel and use your feelings to use your mind in a better way.

There is far more strength in a compassionate person in touch with their feelings than any mind-strong fool that walks this earth.

Comments
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Well, here you have someone

Well, here you have someone who was brought up to think, rather than feel.  Forty years on, I have started following my gut instinct over my brain logic.  My intuition taps into a reality my brain is too limited to comprehend.  So go for it – trust your feelings! 

Thank you for sharing this beautiful post.

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Love it.

wow.

 

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Thank you!

Thank you for your kind comments!  I greatly appreciate it! 

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Feelings

This is fantastic!  I have heard that many times in my life too, with a similar result of an aching heart. It is wonderful to see you painting the beautiful picture of how tremendous it can be to live a life full of emotions and feelings and how they can work with your mind/logic to create an even more exhilarating life!  Your writing is honest and inspiring! Thank you! :)

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Thank you!

Thank you so much for your comment!  It really means a lot to me! I think those who feel deeply, see and experience life in such a beautiful way!  :)

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The complexity of feelings

Courtney,

Your post explores fascinating aspects of human feelings or emotions, which have long been the subject of psychological/philosophical analysis. Most recently, the 20th century academic thinker Robert Solomon developed what he called a cognitive theory of emotions (THINKING ABOUT EMOTIONS), holding that feelings, like beliefs or ideas, are equally amenable to reasoned analysis. There is also the complex nature of feeling itself and its relationship to thought; for example,  is feeling actually separate and distinct from thinking?  The poet Theodore Roethke wrote, "We think by feeling.  What is there to know?"

If one applies the cognitive approach, which you in a way  are doing in your post ("my feelings encourage me to THINK"), to any discreet, identifiable feeling from sadness to joyful exhilaration, other things being equal, this feeling can be rationally understood as to its origins and influences on us (e.g., choices), with the possible exception of severe pathological/psychological  disorders.

As to the rightness and wrongness of feelings, those judgments are contingent on the moral universe in which one is operating. I would agree with your assertion "Feelings can never be wrong" in the sense that if one indeed does experience a particular feeling, that experience is an unavoidable fact or reality. Consider the example of a person who,  in response to having been humiliated,  insulted and/or abused,  FEELS vengeance is appropriate or right. Though the feeling itself is a fact, actually acting on that feeling and getting revenge (maybe in a violent act) inevitably raises issues of the rightness or wrongness of such action.

What I have learned is that dealing with feelings is a morass of complexities and challenges, with one often being drawn in several different directions at once (e.g., being attracted to something or someone that you know from experience is TROUBLE).

Be well and keep smiling,

Brenden

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Perfect.

Perfect.

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Insightful and valid points

Hi Brenden!

Thank you for your insightful response.  You made many valid points and I'm looking forward to reading about some of the research and theories you cited. 

Still smiling and ready to learn more,

Courtney

And Moni- Hello and thank you!