meaningofstrife

Seeing the best in life's challenges

Feel, Think, Say, Do

on May 24, 2016

What we feel, what we think, what we say, and what we do are basic aspects of how we live life! Are we consistent with these four aspects or not?

It seems that, of course a person would be consistent, but think about it – if you observe yourself or other people, you can see plenty of instances where we are not consistent.

I would venture to say, that we are happiest when we are consistent, and not very happy or comfortable when we are not.

So why wouldn’t we always be consistent?

Let’s first talk about our feelings. We feel what we feel, but we have been taught that we “should” feel certain ways in certain instances. We have been told that our feelings are “wrong.” But this is not the way we are built. What we feel just is and so if our feelings are deemed acceptable, that’s great, but if we have feelings that are wrong or unacceptable, we feel shame and guilt, we conclude we must be a bad person or must have something wrong with us. So instead of feeling our feelings freely, we develop filters and get ourselves all mixed up about our emotions.

You don’t really have a choice about what you feel. Feelings and emotion just happen. You can pretend you didn’t feel something, but suppressing your feelings causes all kinds of problems. So what IF that feeling you have is inappropriate?

Well, that’s something to think about. This is what your brain is for. You know how you feel, you know your own situation, you can think through the implications of what you decide to say or do.

We always have a better outcome when we think things through. Thinking is where we pass judgment and apply all those rules where society tells us how we should be. Our brain also allows us to notice things, like how we feel, and it processes and ponders all the implications of how we feel, whether how we feel is acceptable, if and what we should say about it, and if and what we should do about it.

Because you DO have a choice about what you say and what you do. And THIS is where we can apply the ideas of what is appropriate and what is not.

Personally, I think we would all get along so much better, and we would all understand each other better, if we were able to apply this perspective. Because owning our feelings, and being able to be HONEST about our feelings, will help us to understand each other. If we insist on making the feelings of others “wrong” we will continue the judgment and resulting arguments, and never get anywhere.

So, pay attention to situations, and notice when we are not allowing someone to express their feelings, even if we think they are inappropriate. Instead, focus on what that person is saying or, more importantly, DOING and whether what they DO is appropriate or not.

How do we decide if someone’s actions are appropriate or not?

This is not always simple. But it has to do with whether they are imposing their will on another in a way that causes harm. This is not simple, because we don’t all feel or want the same things, so there are opposing forces at work.

But there are some straightforward examples.

And here’s a simple, but really difficult example that illustrates this exactly. Challenge yourself to take in this example without judgment, notice how you are judging feelings, then notice the thinking/processing, and notice the ABSENCE of inappropriate or harmful behavior.

Remember, I said this is a DIFFICULT one:

Watch this video at this link

Notice how Todd says, “no matter what we say or do, people are going to hate us anyway.”

Todd says he has never abused a child and never will. He totally owns his feelings, and he took a lot of time to think this through and process what those feelings mean, to him, to others, and to society. And he CHOOSES to communicate in an honest way, and CHOOSES to act in a way that will do no harm.

Yet we have a very difficult time knowing what to do with someone like Todd, because we consider his feelings to be bad. He knows that.  Is he a BAD person?

What you can say about Todd is that he is HONEST.  Think about this:  would you rather he hid his feelings, so you didn’t have to think about them?  Would you then think he was a “good” person since he has done nothing wrong?

Geez, if Todd can do this in his situation, can’t we all learn to embrace our feelings and work through them? Can’t we learn to allow others to do the same?

What if Todd’s situation is a lesson that each of us could embrace, which would help us all to be more real, more honest, and more caring about others?


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