Feelings are there for a reason, but so often we are shamed for showing any emotion. We are taught that we should bury our emotions deep and always remain stoic. Feelings are seen as a sign of weakness in business, and especially for men, yet they are a natural part of life. They serve a purpose in our lives. Feelings let us know when something is wrong, and they are the strongest indicator of our internal temperature.
On the topic of feelings, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“We have been trained to shut off and freeze our feelings. We have been told that feelings are weak and irrational and if we want to be a success in this world, we must be able to control our feelings. The models for success are persons who never have any visible feelings.
Yet when we do this, we find that we are making ourselves more vulnerable, not less. When we push feelings down, we never know when or how they will erupt, and we can rest assured that it will be with greater intensity than if we had acknowledged the original ‘feeling moment.’
Also, feelings are our natural, built-in alarm and information system. It is our feelings not our minds that warn us of danger, that tell us that someone is lying to us, and that tell us of subtle nuances that allow us to discern differences and make decisions. Without this internal information system, we can never truly be free.”
Allowing ourselves to express our feelings is one of the most freeing experiences in this life. It is so refreshing to be honest with people about how you feel rather than conceal your true nature in an effort to seem strong, capable, and to put the people around you at ease. It is hard to fight that urge to hide your true feelings though, as it is so ingrained in us that in order to succeed we must never show any emotion. Feelings are so often lumped into the women’s domain, and as such, they are labeled as trivial, inconsequential, irrational and weak. It takes great strength to admit your feelings to others though. Being honest about your feelings is an act of bravery that should be commended. Feelings are a natural part of being human, and if we ignore them and write them off, we only end up damaging ourselves. I’ve been working on being honest with people about my own feelings. No, I am not fine. I am having a difficult time. I feel sad, scared, angry… all of these things are okay. It’s okay to admit we need help. Being honest with others and ourselves about our feelings, and giving ourselves permission to feel them, is true freedom. In doing so, we make ourselves vulnerable, but we also open ourselves up to the opportunity for others to lend their support.