When We Have the Wrong Feelings
Many life events are traditionally associated with strong feelings; grief is associated with the death of someone close to us; joy is associated with the birth of a child and anger is associated with betrayal. But what happens when we don't feel what we think we are meant to feel? Are we really having the wrong feelings?
‘This is what I'm meant to feel, right?'
Often people feel the emotions that they believe they are meant to have when they experience life's major events. When they do, they can feel like they're in good company – they're another happy mother with a baby, another grieving relative, another proud parent. When others around them reflect the same things they feel, even when the emotions are hard to tolerate, they can at least feel like they're behaving appropriately and they are normal.
‘But I was expecting something different!'
However, a significant number of people find that their emotional reactions are different to what they were expecting. The death of a parent might bring relief; the birth of a child might bring confusion, regret and depression, and being betrayed might lead to them feeling self-blame and guilt.
When we feel things are out of step with what other people feel and what we think we should feel, we can become confused and uncertain. We find it hard to talk about what we feel; instead, we go through the motions, showing the emotions we think we're meant to show and all the while we're doubting ourselves; doubting what we feel, doubting that we even can feel.
What you feel is right.
The only way out is to actually feel what we feel because that's our truth. It's only by accepting the actual feelings that we can take the time to explore them and work out why we feel what we feel. When we do this, often the feelings on the surface give way to some other feelings; and these can be more familiar, recognisable and ultimately acceptable to us.
– Tim Hill
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