Have you been raised and praised for sharing your feelings or have you been told that good girls keep their feelings for themselves and good boys don’t have feelings?
If I look around me, I would answer the latter without a single hesitation. I do realize that I am biased, living in Switzerland, where suppressing feelings is a national sport (to their defense, Swissness has been heavily shaped by years of terror under Calvinist rule and evolution is slow). But the Swiss are not so different from other Western cultures when it comes to sharing feelings.
Something has gone wrong with us and it’s high time we fix it. We need to connect back to our feelings, live within what they say to us and integrate them in our relationships to others.
Here are four learnings on my own path to peel the onion:
1) Change your hero from Inspector Harry with the controlled face of Clint Eastwood to Spiderman (at least he had a girlfriend). Next step is to be your own hero and then drop this hero thing. Life is not a fairy tale.
2) Disconnect the mental machine. Realize that we have been told a lie: being a wiz in math is not the ultimate sign of intelligence nor will it bring you happiness alone. Let go, step by step.
3) Put down “feeling time” in your calendar. I know it sounds like a therapy, it actually is. We have been distorted by centuries of imbalanced education. Connecting to feelings and learning to let go of the dictatorship of your mental brain is not going to happen overnight. You’ll have to work for it and it will be both hard work and great fun.
4) Find the right practice for you: an artistic activity which doesn’t solicit the brain too much; meditating on your feelings by observing them; yoga practice concentrating on the breath; endurance sports to disconnect the mind followed by meditation; outdoor sports concentrating on the nature or the breath. There is not one single answer. All that matters is to
- move your attention away from the thoughts and
- give space to your feelings to express themselves.
Now let’s make a test: How do you feel about this? You know you made your way to a balanced life when the answer to this question no longer comes from your brain.
So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it. Jiddu Krishnamurti
That somebody is also yourself.