Perhaps you hear of a new idea or witness a new experience and you find yourself saying you don’t know how to feel about this. You don’t know how to feel. And if you don’t know how you feel about something intuitively, what are you using to determine how you do feel about it? When I remember not knowing how to feel about something in the past, it came from a place of fear. I was afraid of being judged, laughed at, ridiculed, ostracized, demonized, hated, attacked, hurt, tortured, and/or killed.
Unexpressed fears seem to have the ability to multiply and those fears had held me back from trusting my own feelings. My guess is that at some point early on in most of our lives we tried to express ourselves authentically and were told that we were wrong or childish or selfish or _______. The unconditional love that we had experienced up until that point vanished and we suddenly learned that there could be consequences if we expressed our true feelings.
Of course, if we listened and performed according to the will of the parental or authority figure, we would be rewarded. At this moment is where many of us begin the process of betraying ourselves. We learn not to trust our own intuition out of fear of punishment if what we feel or think doesn’t jive with the guy who has access to all the food. Repeat this experience a couple of thousand times and it is no wonder we have a society that is afraid to feel their own emotions.
Do you remember when this happened to you, when you were told you were wrong to feel a certain way? Maybe you were told to “grow up”, as if growing up meant the ability to sever yourself from your feelings. Maybe you were told to “be realistic and find a job”, as if all that was realistic was for you to submit your time to a market wage. As a child, we remember that feeling we had of the enormous possibility of experience that life had to offer, before we were told we were naïve or wrong to feel that way.
You see – you do know how to feel. You’ve just been taught that it is not safe to feel. And so instead of tuning into our intuition to see how we feel about something, we begin asking our friends for their opinion. Of course, our friends are no experts. So we seek out the opinion of a complete stranger whom we’ve never met, pay them money and follow their advice which basically says that there is nothing wrong with the world as it is, that our feelings are lying to us, and to take medication to correct this annoying problem of having feelings.
How disconnected from ourselves must we be to go down this road? How can a stranger know better than your family and friends what is best for you? They just met you! Even more to the point, how can your family and friends know better than yourself what is best for you?
Many times we haven’t even been able to authentically express our feelings to ourselves, let alone others.
The condition of judging our behaviors has become so pervasive that we don’t even need others to do it to us. We do it to ourselves. But the truth is you know what’s best for you and it is your feelings that can serve to guide you to that knowledge. For the longest time, I was afraid to express my true feelings. I was afraid of all those consequences that I mentioned earlier.
But then I realized I was living a lie. I decided that I was not here to live a life according to the expectations of others. I am here to authentically experience (and express!) all that life has to offer, which includes the times when I am scared, happy, filled with love and joy or sadness and sorrow. If we can get past this fear, there is an entire universe of experience waiting for us on the other side. Some of it will hurt. This is true. But even when we express our hurt and our grief, it can feel good, so long as someone isn’t there telling us that we are wrong or right to feel that way.
The truth is you already are feeling something about anything – it’s just that you’ve been trained to tune it out as unimportant.
You’ve been trained to see what the consensus opinion is and take your cues from that. The consequences of this behavior are all around us to see in the numerous ways we experience disconnection and separation. Ultimately, at the root is a wound stemming from our disconnection with ourselves. We are longing to feel. We are longing to truly know ourselves. And we are longing to feel the freedom to do so.
Grant yourself that freedom to feel. Don’t look around the room first. Step up and express what you feel inside. Doing so encourages others to begin living authentically themselves. And when enough of us are living our authentic lives in touch with who we really are, we will begin to experience an entirely different kind of society. Take a look at the following video, ‘Redefining Family’, to see one way that might be possible.
WHAT IS FAMILY?
‘What defines family?’ is an important question to ask. Perhaps we can expand our notion and make the world a better place.