A dear friend of mine recently described me as someone who feels the feelings. They added, “And you do that on purpose.” As if to specifically point out that I don’t run away from the feelings, but rather run towards them.
I was always the “over-sensitive” kid. The one who cried at movies (wait, I still do that). The one who couldn’t bare conflict. It wasn’t on account of the disagreement, but the discord. There is a difference.
I’ve had to find language, learn questions, and connect with people who understood the feeling of feelings. Finding language has helped me communicate with others and with myself about what I’m experiencing. Learning questions that poke at my emotional landscape help me keep an eye on what is going on. Connecting with people who understood the feeling of feelings helped me feel less isolated.
I used to attempt to tame my emotions. That hasn’t worked out so much for me. Corralling – getting them all together – and riding them, has been a much better way. The ride is kind of amazing – in the same way that a waterfall, large mountains, and the ocean are amazing.
There is a magnitude to emotions that is more than I ever imagined. It makes me respect them a little more. There is a breadth and complexity to them that is rich with humanity. It keeps me learning from them. Feelings may not always be reflective of the facts of the moment but they are always honest. And that makes me appreciate them.
Feelings are part of who we are. If we ignore them we run the risk of being continually surprised by our internal workings. Often at inopportune times. If we give them too much attention, they my start running our lives.
I’m thinking about the middle. Where my feelings shed light on situations that my mind hasn’t been able to fully discern yet. Where my mind can learn about the world around me by what I’m feeling. Where the feelings are like a nerve ending that may not see everything but is important to pay attention to.