I was in a coaching session with a client who is in process of ending her marriage. We were discussing her happiness and well being. She said her therapist said the above. And I had to stop the session and write it down. That is gold! Fucking gold!
I related immediately. Feelings have always been possibilities for me. I mean, I have liked to believe I was in charge of my feelings and that if I didn’t like one, I could just create another and in so doing, create some other reality that was more to my liking.
My first thought when she told me this was, “Yhat is an amazing therapist!” My second thought was, “Ouch! That hits a little too close to home!”
And the trouble of being in charge of your feelings and the idea that one can float them like they are possibilities instead of emotional states based upon life experience, allows for the delusion to persist that feelings are malleable and manipulatable. It fosters and grows this idea that feelings are not based on real life and can just be conjured up whenever one is bored, or sad or whatever and cause some other feeling to occur.
Floating feelings as possibilities isn’t honest and does everyone involved a great disservice. I feel this statement at the core of my being. This idea I can manipulate and control my feelings to create a better ,more to my liking, possibility for myself. And the rub, and there is always a rub, is that feelings are there for a reason to tell me things that I perhaps find inconvenient, hard, stuff I would rather not deal with…but they are based on the real life I am having. When I float my feelings as if they are up for grabs or can be altered better to suit the situation or the way I want the situation to go down, belies and undermines the life I am actually living.
Feelings are not facts but they are signposts and indicators of where you are emotionally. And when you float them like they are possibilities instead of taking a beat to see why you are sad, angry, upset, hurt, etc. you miss an opportunity to see yourself in clearer light and with more compassion.
It would be just lovely if we could all feel good all the time…but that is not reality. Life doesn’t work like that. We all must go up and down, repeatedly. So feelings, I believe, are there to help us access ourselves better. To see where we are, how we are acting, what is our satisfaction level with life as we are living it. When we float them we put our emotional well being up for grabs and make our internal state under the control and whim of whomever we are floating them for…and that causes us to become detached from who we are, what we need and want and how we show up for this amazing life we have.
I still somewhat buy into the delusion that feelings really are just possibilities, but I know that just isn’t true. Feelings are a driving force of living. But they are also red flags to help me see where I am leaving me, where I am lost, where I am out of control, where I am giving away my center. Understanding and accepting my feelings does create possibilities in my life, but floating them out there like if I can just manipulate, deny, control, and manage my feelings, so I can continue to engage with the people I am all tied up with, only undermines my ability to be present, available, and emotionally healthy.
Feelings are not possibilities. They are insights into how you are, where you are and why you are where you are.