Big thanks for these thoughts from guest blogger and associate, Dr Linda Craig, author of Everyday Mental Health:
Feelings. They’re everywhere. All the time. But how often do we answer “How are you?” with, “I’m fine”. Is anyone ever really ‘fine’? Seriously, find me someone who can honestly say that they don’t feel any sadness, worry, self-doubt, or annoyance.
Equally, we want our kids to be fine. We try to protect them from their own feelings. We cheer them up and distract them from their upset. Sometimes I get the impression that everyone is walking about with their feelings, trying desperately to make it look as if they don’t have any feelings. What is so terrifying about feelings that we are compelled to be rid of them?
But if we’re so intent on not feeling, why exactly do we feel? What’s the point of these emotions that plague us so?
Today I ask you to pause and wonder WHY do we feel? Look at babies around you. We feel before anything else. Before we walk, talk, think, or write; we feel. If you’re not convinced, watch this video of the baby who is scared of his mum blowing her nose. That kid is feeling for sure.
Believe it or not, there’s method in the madness. We feel for good reason and when we understand why, life is easier. So, what do our feelings do for us?
Influence behaviour: Feeling have ‘action urges’ hard wired. You quickly jump back from the bus speeding towards you; thank you fear. You recoil from the pile of vomit; cheers disgust. You spend more time with the people you care about; hello love. Look out for action urges this week; in yourself, your partner, your kids. Maybe behaviour will start to make more sense.
Send messages: Facial expressions and body language say a lot about how we’re feeling. Often we’ve screwed up our faces in disgust before we’ve registered what we’re so appalled by. Whether you realise it or not, emotions influence how other people react to you. Anyone with resting bitch face will tell you how unpleasant the world can be.
Give information: Without feelings we wouldn’t know when something was wrong, what we like, or what matters to us.
Imagine a world without feelings: bland, boring, full of meaningless activity, and packed with dangers that we wouldn’t jump away from. Would that really be better?
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