Owning Your Feelings

If someone is mean to you, gets angry at you for no good reason, how would you feel about it? You might feel calm and pitying towards the angry other, or instead you might feel upset. How you feel or react depends on alot of factors. Those factors are tied up with how you are triggered, depending on your past experiences, your biography, and how you have learnt to react. So you see, your feelings, or your reactions in that moment, really are not as dependent upon the other as you might think.

Moreover, you do have a choice about how you react, how you feel about any given situation. We will react to life according to our perspective in any given moment. The practice of “owning your feelings” depends upon your understanding that no-one and no situation is responsible for how you feel, and how you choose to react. What is it, to own your feelings? When you refrain from blaming, when you say: I feel angry, but in this moment I am choosing to see that my anger is my problem and not anyone elseʼs. My going to the place of anger is a choice I made – I will take responsibility for how I feel.

In this realm, we as human beings are truly free. We are free to choose how we see things, and therefore how we feel. But how often do we exercise this freedom? I sometimes feel at the mercy of my inner storms of emotions, and there are days when I just seem to have gotten out of the wrong side of the bed. How then in those situations am I free? First I have to understand the concept – I am responsible for how I feel, and no-one else is to blame – and then I have to practice it, I have to do it. When my children are fighting and we are late for school, I am very challenged to own my frustration and my irritation, and not yell at the children. When I am weak, then all my practice of striving to own how I feel and not make it anotherʼs fault, projecting how I feel into a swift act of blame, comes to bear. Owning how we feel is a capacity we practice, and the more we do it, the better we get at it.

How can I justify saying that the person who yelled at me for no good reason is not responsible for how I felt in that moment – outraged, upset, and then angry? Surely they created the problem in the first place, it was their fault. How also can I justify that the person who persecuted, bullied and traumatized another didnʼt therefore cause them to still feel terrified, bitter, and deeply angry, many years later? It is their fault!! These are key questions – what does taking responsibility really mean?

My point of view is to say that the place where you have the potential to be free, is in what you choose to do with what you have been given. Years later, when looking back on life experiences that were traumatic, you still have a choice about how you see them, how you inwardly think about, and understand them. Imagine if you had the opportunity to get inside the head and heart of the one who bullied, and it was made plain to you their own suffering, their own unmet needs for recognition, love, and gentleness, it is entirely possible that with this new insight, you are fully capable of feeling nothing but compassion towards the one who bullied you. Now here is a new implication: having insight into the persecutor, into the situation, and why it happened to you, is going to help you a great deal in owning your feelings. Moreover, where there is compassion and empathy, there is no longer room for anger, blame, shame, guilt or anything else. Empathy is the supreme healing force of the heart.

One comment.

  1. Excellent

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