Look, I can handle it. I know that a lot of people out there think that it is just not that important to spend any time or energy on their emotional lives. If you’ve ever read this blog before you know that I respectfully but firmly disagree. Is it that I enjoy being the champion of unpopular ideas? No, in fact I’m much happier vehemently defending non-controversial statements (ice cream is delicious, damn it!). It’s because you don’t get to have a quality life if you turn your back on emotions. It’s not possible. And I want you to have a satisfying life, I really do.
If you don’t understand your own emotions, you are probably a landmine of bad reactions. If we don’t understand where our feelings come from, we attribute them to the wrong things, for the wrong reasons, and go about “solving” them with the wrong “solutions.”
Let’s take an example (it’s really a composite of many real stories!). Let’s say I’m kind of down lately, a little irritable. I’m not sure why. But I do notice that when the house is dirty or my child got a bad grade or my husband isn’t paying attention, I feel a whole lot worse. So when I’m in these situations I let these people know what’s wrong saying, “doesn’t anyone clean around here?” or “Come on, you need to do better. Did you study? Don’t you think you are on Facebook way too much? No more electronics at ALL until your grades improve!” or “What am I, not attractive enough? All you ever do is watch sports!” I think you get the picture.
In this scenario, I’m not sure why I feel bad, but I react anyway. These reactions tend to get negative feedback. Others push away or push back. An emotional life untended yields highly negative results in our relationships.
I think that is what people care about: having positive relationships. Am I right?
If you want to have positive relationships, you need to know what’s going on with yourself. You can have issues with other people- but you need to be clear on what they are and how to handle them. No knee-jerk reactions. You can’t ooze your emotional puss all over them.
The short answer to your question: no, being in touch with your feelings is not BS; it is the only way you are going to have decent relationships and a decent life.
Agree? Disagree? Think I’m full of BS? Please let me know what you are thinking. I want your feedback, I really do!
“Being in touch with your feelings” – sounds touchy-feely to some people. But really, it’s just a way of saying you’re being honest and taking responsibility for who you are in the world, with yourself and with the people around you. You don’t have to like some of those feelings, but when you get to know them and can be honest about them, you’ll be more real in your relationships. It’s worth thinking about.
Thanks, Bonnie. I agree that being emotionally aware leads to being “real in your relationships.” Well said.