Somewhere along the line, our culture got “thinking” and “feeling” all scrambled up. We’re regularly encouraged to “share how we feel” about something, when really, it’s our THOUGHT or OPINION that is being solicited. Sadly, we are rarely asked about our true feelings and we miss those sacred opportunities to connect with ourself or others at the emotional level.
Are we really being asked if we’re angry, happy or disappointed when our co-worker asks us how we “feel” about the new client proposal? Nope, we’re being asked if we like the colors, layout or point of view that was used.
When we’re at a PTA meeting and there’s a debate going on about a spaghetti feed vs. a crab feed, it wouldn’t be uncommon to hear a mom pipe up with “I just feel that crab will sell more tickets.” Nope, that’s an opinion, not a feeling.
I think (not feel!) that this is such an interesting reflection of our culture’s avoidance of feelings. We don’t have cultural norms for truly sharing our feelings about things in public settings. Many couples or families don’t have norms for sharing their feelings in private either. So sad!
When we label our thoughts as feelings, it minimizes the power of our opinion. “I think that we should…” is so much more direct and powerful than “I feel like it would be best to…” (On a side note, I wonder if women use “feel” more than men in this context? I’m going to start paying attention to this now!) “I think” is stating a strong, no-nonsense opinion. “I feel” almost has an apologetic energy to it, like “Well, this is just what little ol’ me thinks, but I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes with my opinion.”
And meanwhile our actual feelings are locked in the closet, so excited that someone is actually asking them to come out and share themselves, then crushed when they realize that their very-distant cousin, the opinion, is once again the one being asked to come out and play instead of them.
I began my healing work in high school when I was in a horrible relationship. I was finally realizing that I had feelings and was doing my brave best to acknowledge and honor them. I was naive/hopeful/committed enough to believe that my boyfriend and I could work out our differences if we could have a discussion about our feelings. I still have a vivid memory of begging him to share how he was FEELING, hoping that if we shared our inner states we could get move the conversation somewhere productive. Instead, he responded by saying “I feel that you need to…” Yowza. Not only was that definitely not sharing his feelings, he managed to twist it into a criticism of how he believed I needed to act differently.
When we share how we are feeling, or create that Spirit-filled place for another to share how they are feeling, we automatically create intimacy. Intimacy isn’t about sharing sex or secrets or space, rather it’s the energy that is created between people when we are sharing heart-to-heart. That may very well be in the context of sharing sex or secrets or space, but it’s the sharing of our feelings that creates the magic.
It’s this same magic that helps us tap into our creative potential. Abraham-Hicks is always teaching us to move to a higher feeling. Not a higher thought, not a higher opinion, a higher feeling. Here’s the tricky part though – our emotions are largely based on our thoughts. If we have a positive thought about something, it triggers a positive feeling. Same gig with the negative. Where we trip ourselves up is when we do a “happy slap” – we pretend that we think & feel positively about something when really it’s just a happy band-aid that we’ve slapped over a pit of hurt (or anger, resentment, disappointment…) That’s where our serious personal work comes in – doing the work to shift our inner beliefs (& therefore our feelings), forgive our self-judgments and create new, self-supportive beliefs. Hallelujah – then we get to genuinely be filled with those exalted feelings that we were longing for all along!
So here’s my challenge to you (& myself): Be aware of how you are using “think” and “feel” when you share your own experiences, when you ask your kids questions, in the workplace, with your spouse. Start to notice your patterns and if they are serving or hindering your desired connections to yourself, others and Creative Law. Start to delight in the magic and intimacy that is created when you and a beloved share your feelings, and celebrate that clarity that comes forward as you accurately name what you think, believe and feel.
Heather King has a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology with additional study in Soul-Centered Leadership. She has been helping people learn to love and forgive themselves for 15 years. She is a co-founder of www.TheMetaphysicalMamas.com and is a writer and producer with www.WatermarkFilms.net. She is happily married and blessed to be raising two daughters, a preschooler and a ‘tween.