We need to remember, it’s okay to feel.
For many years, I convinced myself that feelings weren’t something I wanted to get my hands into again. I closed the door, built a wall, refused to take myself down that path. I couldn’t feel anymore pain. I had been let down too many times, I was numb. It was just easier to not feel, to not understand, to not to try, to not risk. That way, I couldn’t hurt myself anymore or allow others in to hurt me.
I lived safe for many years. Just staring into the beautiful blue water of life that was in front of me, making every excuse not to jump in. But this past year, I decided to climb the wall and look ahead. I took the time to grow and heal. I took some risks, I took a chance—I decided to feel.
Nervously standing at the edge overlooking the water, I decided to be brave. I started to take down the bricks, one by one. Some were heavier than others, some had thorns and vines wrapped around them. Halfway through the deconstruction, I felt like I wasn’t allowed to feel because I still felt broken. But then I decided to let my broken windows open—it was time to let the light back in. So I just went with it—I started saying yes.
You own your feelings, no one else.
No one can tell you how or what you feel.
That feeling belongs to you and your soul. No one can tell you that what you’re feeling is wrong. And the same thing goes for the other person, you can’t know what someone is feeling, or assign a feeling to someone—unless they choose to share that with you.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone comes into contact with my resting bitch face…when they catch me in deep thought. They like to take one look and assign a feeling to me. “Why do you look so sad?” “Why are you mad at me?” “You look so tired.” These statements usually come from men who don’t know me, but assume that they do. Surprising, I know.
Did they ever think that maybe I’m processing a feeling? Maybe I’m daydreaming. Maybe I just got a really good idea and I’m trying to give it time to hatch. Maybe I’m realizing something. Maybe I’m healing something. Maybe I’m growing. Maybe I’m talking to God! Maybe I’m doing math. Maybe I’m deciding whether or not I want something, versus recognizing the need for it. Maybe I’m just hungry and I really want a taco. But, the people that assign a feeling to my resting bitch face, they will never know. Because they never asked the right questions. They never took the time to be selfless and show interest that they actually, really cared.
Here’s a new approach…
How about instead of assuming other people’s feelings, we simply started genuinely asking…
How are you today?
Are you doing okay?
What’s your story?
And if they respond with, “You know what, I could really use a friend right now…” We lend an ear, we be an actual friend. We take the time to find out what is happening in this person’s life, instead of assigning a feeling or simply assuming what they are feeling. How about we try to be more human with one another?
Take the time to process and understand your feelings.
You are not a child, nor are you an idiot for having feelings. You are a human being, you feel emotions, you feel things. There’s nothing wrong with feeling—feeling things is what makes you human. It’s okay to feel. But remember to take the time to process and recognize what you’re feeling.
Why am I feeling this?
Why did I need to feel this?
Why did I want to feel this?
Why do I not need to feel this anymore?
Take back your feelings. Don’t let anyone hold them hostage.
Other people’s feelings towards you…
Just like someone can’t assign or assume a feeling for you, you the feeler, can’t assume their feelings either. I’ve heard so many times people give excuses for the way people treat them. Saying things like, “Oh she’s just jealous of me” to justify that you’re better or that they’re not a good person. Hate to break it to you, but that’s still you assigning a feeling to someone.
Instead of assuming, take a moment and ask yourself, “What caused me to say that? Why is she really being mean?” I’m not doing anything wrong. No, you’re right. You’re not doing anything wrong if you’re just being yourself and holding yourself to your standards. In this scenario, that’s you giving an excuse for someone’s mean behavior towards you.
You could always talk to the person about how they’re making you feel and uncover their feeling instead of assuming it. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. But you’ll know when to walk away if they don’t want to share what their feeling, and instead start to make you feel worse. But however you approach them, make sure it’s in person as adults and not behind a screen. If they’re giving you a bad feeling about yourself, that’s not going to help you grow or heal. That’s going to trigger you to keep touching the wound and continue to build walls up that won’t allow you to see the beautiful life ahead of you. You need to surround yourself with people that make you feel good.
They may be super nice, I’m sure in some aspect they’re a great friend! But, when they say arrogant things, that doesn’t make them good people to be around. You deserve people that lift you up. There is a world full of beautiful people that deserve you. It’s okay to walk away from a bad seed feeling. It’s okay to look for better friends. It’s okay to decide, you know what, I’m not going to feel this anymore.
A real relationship is a two way street.
But it’s also not a contract. You can’t demand someone to share something deep with you if you tried reaching out and shared something deep with them. Sharing parts of your soul with people is a good thing. It makes you human. As human beings, we crave connections. We want to tell our stories, we naturally want to help people—we want to be there for people. That doesn’t make you crazy; that makes you kind and loving.
You can’t rush someone’s timing on processing a feeling. All you can do is offer an ear, a cookie, a hug, a coffee, a beer—a get-out-of-jail-free-card that says:
I know you’re not ready to talk about this, but if and when you are, you can cash this in, because I’ll be here for you.”
Sometimes the other person won’t give you a chance to explain your feelings, and that’s okay. It’s your feeling. They might be involved with the feeling, but at the end of the day, the closure that you seek is within you. Don’t confuse the feeling of needing to reach out to explain yourself, with why you need to process and understand that feeling. That need to reach out, is you just wanting someone to understand. And that closure you seek, is you screaming out to you, saying:
Feel this. Understand this. Grow from this. This is what I want you to heal from this. Talk to me, not them.”
Act on your feelings for growth and healing.
About a month ago, I acted on a feeling. I was brave, I took a chance. I wasn’t wrong for acting on impulse, I wasn’t crazy for allowing myself to have feelings for someone. I might have not known them very well, but we met a few times, words were exchanged, feelings were developed.
It was something that needed to happen, to heal a part of my past and to grow to understand the reason for my feelings. So, I took some time to ask myself those questions…
Why did I need to feel this?
Why don’t I need to feel this anymore?
I learned what was leading me to feel that way, why I needed to go through that. And after taking the time to process everything, I felt so powerful. I finally understood the bigger picture. But I had to feel something in order to learn that, I had to allow myself to feel, in order to heal that wound and grow into a better understanding person. I needed to have a better understanding of my feelings, no one else’s.
You cannot heal or grow without feeling. Your soul doesn’t work that way. If we spent time trying to find closure within ourselves to understand our feelings better, I think we would all live happier and healthier lives.
Assigning or assuming a feeling to someone, that’s easy. We don’t have to actually know how someone is doing or know how their day went, we get to sound cordial without doing the work. We get a pass for just being nice. But nice isn’t always good. Assuming feelings has become society’s easy button. And we need to take the time to actually talk to each other face to face if we’re ever going to make real connections. You’ll start to find that some people won’t always stay in your life forever. Sometimes we need to reevaluate those who make us feel worse about ourselves. Because, that’s a feeling we need to learn to recognize immediately. We need to remind ourselves that we are lovely, kindhearted human beings, and we might have to just walk away.
No one can tell you that what you’re feeling is wrong or unhealthy. You have to be the one to process those feelings, to realize what about those feelings led you to grow and heal, why you had to feel them. Because, it’s okay to feel things but there’s no need to dwell in them. We need to learn how to turn those feelings into growth, into healing. But, you do really need to feel it. Or else, it will never really leave you. It will stay inside you and rot. It will sneak up on you and be triggered by other things that you have yet to resolve. I like to think of the pair of lungs they would show us as kids during D.A.R.E., to show you what it looked like internally when someone smoked, how black and heavy the lungs were. Disgusting to look at. And you’d think to yourself, how could someone let the thing that holds your breath, keeps you alive, get that dirty, that poisonous?
Think about that in the sense of you holding back your feelings. They’re going to grow as thorns around your heart, they’re going to weigh heavy on your soul. They’re going to consume you, and you won’t be able to compartmentalize them because it will be too late. The more you hang on to it, the more tar will make it feel heavy and bitter, instead of pure relief. The more you don’t allow yourself to understand, the more the vines will tangle and you won’t be able to tell the difference between the feelings they hold hostage. You won’t be able to grow, and you won’t be able to heal. You need to allow yourself to feel, before you can start to grow or heal.
So, don’t hold back from feeling. It’s okay to feel the growth you’ve healed. It’s okay to have feelings, they’re bound to teach you something. It’s okay to seek closure within yourself and understand what you’re feeling.
You are a lovely human being—You. Deserve. To. Feel.