Feel Your Feelings!

LCSW Kathy Henry says:

Do you really feel your feelings? Do you allow yourself to feel the depths of your emotions? My guess is, probably not. There is a lot at stake!! If you allow yourself to be open and feel the full extent of your feelings, you might feel crazy, out of control, or be faced with some decisions you need to make about your life that you aren’t ready to face!

Most of us didn’t learn how to feel and express our emotions. A lot of times our feelings weren’t convenient for our parents, siblings, friends, etc., so we learned to suppress them. So when they start to come up later in life, they are so powerful that our instinct is to keep them inside and tightly controlled. It makes sense, until . . . .

Picture a full 2 liter Coke bottle. The carbonation represents your feelings. 2 liter pic is fine as long as it goes undisturbed. But if you shake it up, it bubbles up and we all know what is going to happen if we try to open it – it all gushes out at once! Your feelings are the same way. You keep them stuffed down inside and all is well until you go to try to express some strong feelings, then they all start coming out at once! You are just as overwhelmed and confused as the person you are expressing those feelings to! And they are messy, aren’t they?

The point is, that it is supremely important for us to allow ourselves to feel our feelings. Why don’t we? Because it is a scary, uncontrolled and messy process. If you want a healthy, free, and peaceful life and good relationships, however, you’re going to have to let your emotions come out!

According to the book, Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences, liberals have more expressive faces.

The authors add: “Our big brains are better equipped to spin a story that denies the relevance of biological forces than to negate biological forces.”

I suspect that most of us have many feelings we don’t want to face so we wall them off. Many of these feelings have to do with race. For instance, I am curious if morality and conscience require the ability for abstract thought (ie, an IQ north of 90)? The higher the IQ, for instance, the more clearly a person can recall the past and see into the future, to therefore have loyalty and gratitude, to use the subjunctive (if everyone does what I am about to do, the world will be a better or worse place), and see the benefits of cooperation. Lower IQ people, therefore, are less likely to have a developed conscience and deserve much closer minding.

I read this disturbing essay by a university professor who has taught philosophy in Africa for three decades and it laid out a lot of things that most of us never want to struggle with.

The word “racism” wasn’t invented until the 1930s and it didn’t gain common currency until the 1960s. Prior to the 1960s, attitudes and behaviors that now get labeled racist, such as segregation, were regarded as common sense. Human nature hasn’t changed since the 1960s, but norms of behavior have in the western world so many expressions and choices that were common before the 1960s are now regarded as the worst thing in the world, such as wanting to keep your children away from blacks.

Similarly, prior to World War II, it was common for white people to have pride in being white and to have pride in western civilization. Then that pride came tumbling down.

South African whites, for instance, still had the ability to rule their country in the 1990s, but they gave up that power. They lost their confidence and as a result, the country went to hell and many of them moved out. The same sort of dynamics are happening now in America. Traditional Americans have lost their pride in being white. Instead, many of them feel guilty about it. And every year, the nation becomes less white. Schools that used to be named for Thomas Jefferson now get named for Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez.

Just under the surface, however, of these forbidden feelings of preference for one’s own kind, nature is not denied. Genetic similarity still exacts a powerful tug on everybody’s psyche. When it comes to choosing a place to live, America is as segregated as ever. Once a neighborhood becomes more than 10-20% black or latino, for instance, whites move out.

Most whites are careful to say nothing politically incorrect in public for fear of loss of status, loss of friends, and loss of job, but once they get started talking truths, as they see them, about race, they often find they can’t stop. As Kathy Henry wrote: “You keep them stuffed down inside and all is well until you go to try to express some strong feelings, then they all start coming out at once!”

It’s not easy, but any smart person can convert to Orthodox Judaism, but once you finish the formal process, you realize that while joining a religion may be relatively easy, joining a particular people is much more challenging. You likely have different genes from your co-religionists. Judaism isn’t in your blood. You don’t have those sacred familial ties. You might have a piece of paper that says you’ve joined the tribe, but have you really? Are you accepted? Are you counted as one of us?

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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