…Nothing More Than Feelings

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Feelings are emotional states or reactions.  They are an awareness or impression.  A sensitivity, sensibility or sentiment to something.  They are often emotion driven rather than reason driven.

We all have them

On a daily basis, I feel mostly joy.  I am not sure if this is a feeling or an attitude based on how I perceive life.  You and I could have the exact same circumstances and experiences but our reactions and feelings may be completely different.
 
I have been thinking a lot about feelings and what the rules are pertaining to them.  Can we express them freely?  Can they be hurtful to others?  Are we allowed to have them?  Are some feelings wrong?  
 
This past year as many of you know, I took a loved one out of a very dire situation and opened up our home to her.  I put myself at the very bottom of the pile and gave her my all.  I gave everything I had to give at the expense of my own family and my health.
 
The result was less than ideal.  It was in fact, more tragic.  More so because for the first time in her life, she had everything she needed to succeed at her very fingertips – but she rejected it, continued on her downward path and almost took me down with her.
 
As I have tried to recover from this very traumatic experience, I have been struggling with my feelings.   Specifically, the new ones that have taken over my existence.
 
On the front burner are feelings of anger, resentment and darkness.  I still feel damaged, burned and broken by this experience.
 
I am a more cynical person who has lost faith and who cannot trust, with full confidence.  I have hardened and I don’t like it.  
 
This new me is not reacting the compassionate and loving way she always did. Compassion always trumped all other feelings, particularly when it came to others.  No matter what the background or reasoning behind a person’s actions, the old me found forgiveness.  She found compassion. 
 
It is something others have admired in me for years.  “She is so amazing.  She is so strong.  She is so nice.  She is so kind.” 
 
Well,  this person is now lost.  The darkness is etched in ink, on her spirit.  Like leeches sucking the life out of her and going nowhere fast.
 
For the first time in a while, as I looked out into the horizon today, I believe I recognized something familiar, way out in the distance.  Something still too far to reach, but something that, dare I say, resembles Hope?  I don’t want to get ahead of myself but I am drawn to it and can’t stop watching it move ever so slowly, closer toward me. 
 
You see, feelings, I am learning – have their own existence. They are their own entity and are in full control of themselves.  We try, often unsuccessfully, to steer our feelings to fit into a specific “feeling” mold depending on the issue at hand.
 
If there is a death, for example, we escort the feeling of sadness to the front of the line, cutting in front of our other feelings.  We do this because sadness is the feeling that is expected to be highlighted – the one we are supposed to express.  And if we don’t…we think there is something wrong with us.
 
What gets in the way of our feelings?  Reason.  Reason is often the enemy of feeling.  Reason tries to manipulate our thoughts and emotions and tell us how we should feel.  
 
I am an adult.  I use reason and logic to understand how life works and how to navigate through the many bumps along the way.  I use my education and direction from experts to aid me in using reason.  There is a place for reason, but often, the timing is off.  
 
Feelings need to sit.  Feelings need to brew.  Feelings need to be.  Feelings need to be respected.  Feelings have a right to exist.  They are ours and ours to own.
 
I am beginning to acknowledge those feelings.  To let them exist.  To not fight them and not fight myself for having them.  They are real.  No one can take them away, no one can judge me on them, no one can force me to stop feeling them.
 
Feelings need time.  Feelings need nurturing.  Even when they don’t fit the proper mold, they are valid.
 
I am working on eliminating the “shoulds” in my thinking.  Watch me cross off some of these shoulds:
 I should be over it.  I should understand my loved one’s behavior.  I should know better.  I should behave differently.  I should not feel the way I am feeling.  I should be coping better. 
 
While I am at it, let me eliminate some I must be’s:
 I must be evil if I am having these feelings.  I must not be strong enough.  I must be weak and selfish to feel this way.  I must be troubled.  I must  be mean to have these feelings.      
The truth is that when it comes to feelings, there is no should or must.  There is no right or wrong.  What we do with our feelings, we may have control of but what those feelings are, we do not.  They just are.
  
I will sit with my feelings for a while until I am ready to let them go.  It will take more time for that Hope to reach me but in the end, it will.  And I will be ok. 
 

 

29 thoughts on “…Nothing More Than Feelings

  1. Hear hear! This was amazing to read right now, Maria – thank you! It’s one of those things that I’ve always known, logically – accepting feelings is the best way to process and cope with them – but had never been able to do until very recently. It’s so liberating.

    Keep hope alive!! 🙂

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  2. Maria, you have been on my mind a lot in recent weeks, since I read the first post about this situation. Above all, I think you are a very loyal person, and that always makes us try one more time, do one more thing, make one more effort.

    Your feelings are normal, and they are probably magnified by how hard you tried. Grieving a failed relationship is part of letting it go. You have earned the right to grieve, to be angry. If you shortchange that process, it only prolongs it. At least, that’s how it has always been for me.

    I will keep you close to my heart in the coming days and weeks and hope the positive energy helps you heal. Xo

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    1. Andra, I don’t know how I missed this comment from you a while back. Your words mean a lot to me and you are so very right. I am finally feeling better and getting part of my old self back although some of the tough feelings remain and linger too closely. I know I’m on my way to a better place. 🙂

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  3. I hurt for you when I think about what you went through…are going through. I went through something very similar and I still hurt years later…I still question myself and my part. The only advice I can give you is to try and move on and close that door. I am still working on mine, too. Hugs to you.

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  4. Maria, you said it yourself: you gave your all. You depleted your storehouse of strength. Now you need time to heal, as Jill mentioned. I don’t think anyone blames you for these feelings. After a massive amount of giving, you need to be restored. None of us is the Eveready Bunny–we can’t always keep going and going and going.

    I’ve been depleted myself. I had to quit teaching and giving for a while. There are seasons when you need to pull back and recharge. Give yourself permission to do that as you wait to heal.

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  5. Feelings are indeed complicated, slippery things… and very worthy of respect. I’m so glad you can see some hope on the horizon – healing on its way. I’ve been burned by a friend in a similar manner, and I am still trying to make sense of it all, and the pain and anger. While still having them float in and out of my life… *hugs* to you

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  6. Thank you for reminding me that feelings need nurtured. I tend sometimes to ignore my own feelings, or when I do acknowledge them, this is quickly followed by voicing (even if silently to myself) that I can’t feel them too long or then it is just “all about me, and I need to think of everyone else.” I’m making a promise here and now to nurture my feelings more, to live with them and explore them.

    As I read your post I could not help but think about my own experience opening up my home to someone who needed help, and suddenly I had a thought. What if during our offerings of support, those we were giving it to found themselves in a battle of emotions. What if being in a position of having everything they need to pull themselves out of the muck and head in a new positive direction they feel fear? What if they have no clue how to handle not scrapping and clawing their way through each day? What if that puts them in a place where they literally cannot function?

    Now I realize I could well be putting my own spin on that perspective, but it gave me pause. I know in my case, that my step-daughter’s life was always a struggle from a young age, and I know that her ADHD makes her impulsive, and her processing of emotions is not even keeled, its more of an all or nothing situation. So if she was afraid, was fearful of having so many resources at her disposal, and her vacillating need for drama kept rearing its ugly head, its no wonder we were not successful with her. We were focused on helping her see the definition of a correct decision, when maybe we should have broadened that focus to include dealing with fear of the unknown. And you know that leads me to new feelings for me…feelings that will help me, even all these years later continue to heal.

    That hope will come back to you, and when it does just sit back and let yourself be surrounded by it. 🙂

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    1. Yes! As I educated myself on my loved one’s illness, I learned that one of the important skills is to sit with your emotion. Let it be and process it. It not, you will immediately go to another emotion (typically anger) and make things worse. It does not mean we have to sit with it for months and years, but at least allow yourself to truly feel it before moving on. 🙂

      You have some very interesting insight on what your step-daughter could have been feeling. It is easier to see once you are not deep in the midst of the situation.

      And regarding the hope that will come back to me, I plan on inviting it in, offering it a drink and partying all night with it!! 🙂

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  7. I so love this!! You totally rock! You, my dear are such a loving and caring person, and even though I’ve only fairly recently “met” you, am so tickled by your process. I have learned over the past few years that if we remember to honor our emotions and let them move through us (rather than deny them, leading us to create energy blocks in our bodies), it is the healthy (emotionally AND physically) thing to do.

    Regarding your loved one, you have been through a big trial. I have experienced something similar with a friend, who I tried and tried to help, over and over. I finally realized that digging herself out of a hole and taking responsibility for her life is HER job, HER journey; not mine. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. From my experience, I learned that I had not set healthy boundaries, and thus, I became a doormat. However, the ultimate lesson I’ve learned is to forgive myself and not judge myself. I am a work in progress.

    So, my wish for you is to forgive yourself because we’re all learning all the time and doing the best we know. And I see that you get it!! Honor yourself as I do!!

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    1. Reading your words has put a big smile on my face. Thank you. I think your point about boundaries is a critical one. You have to set them from the beginning in order to protect yourself. They work as a shield to protect you from losing yourself and from falling into a deep hole you can’t get out of.

      I have definitely learned a lot from this experience. The more I heal, the less anger I feel and the less personal it becomes. Thanks for honoring me! 🙂

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  8. Maria, as you so aptly pointed out, feelings have a way of taking on a life of their own. You’re still the same beautiful, sensitive woman. I know this for fact, because you introduced yourself to me in the process of doing a kindness for one of our fellow bloggers. (Which means that part of you isn’t gone…it’s simply more selective.) You’ve been disillusioned and you need time to reconcile that and to heal. There’s grief that comes with disillusionment and lost innocence. It sucks. I’m sorry someone abused your kind heart. *hugs*

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    1. Oh, Kitt. I’m so humbled by your words!! I usually let my heart lead my actions and most often than not, it leads me to wonderful places and people. Unfortunately, it also makes me more vulnerable to pain and disappointment. You are so right about the loss of innocence. That’s how I feel, like I lost a trusting and holistic side of me and that it’s gone for ever. I feel angry that it took a chunk of that part of me right off and I am worried that it won’t grow back!

      “Paciencia y Fe” (patience and faith), that’s what I need to keep telling myself over and over again. Thank you so much for your kindness, Kitt! 🙂

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  9. Time is a true healer, Maria. I do believe, in time, she’ll come around.

    “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

    You made her feel loved, she’ll never forget that.

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    1. I love that quote, Jill! It makes a lot of sense and reminds us of what really matters.

      I have decided not to focus on her at all. Part of the healing process is to get my healthy self back. For a year and beyond it has monopolized my thoughts and actions, so I need to let it go and focus on myself and my little family. I know I still have love for her and always will – but I cannot give to her anymore and I have to accept the feelings that linger. I was not prepared for the intensity of these feelings nor the effects of this experience.

      I am just glad that I am dealing with the emotions better and not beating myself up so much for having them. Thanks for always being there, my friend! xo

      The only way I can do that right now is to focus on

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  10. You are so right about the feelings part. I passed a sign today that said thoughts are character. It scares me a bit but it’s true. We have to think of silver linings or a future without this trouble in order to pass through it. Stay strong!

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    1. That sign is very though provoking! I see what you mean about it being a bit scary. Feelings and emotions can be scary, especially since they can appear without warning or beyond our control. We try to push them away and force them out of our minds but that does not work. Thank you, I will stay strong but if I feel weak, that’s ok too! 🙂

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  11. First I want to apologize for my long absence. I know I’ve missed a lot, including the actual big day (Happy Belated Birthday!).

    Now to the serious stuff. This is an incredible and honest post. I think that sometimes those of us who are labeled as “strong, always kind, yada yada yada” too often subsume our feelings. We want to be the way people perceive us. But the reality is that we all have dark emotions sometime. We all want to scream, cry, rant, etc. We all get lost in the anger, sadness and pain, especially when we face an injustice that makes no sense like a loved one rejecting help.

    You said it yourself, there are no shoulds or musts when it comes to emotion. There just is the emotion, that we all have the right to feel and express.

    I’m here to hear your emotions, acknowledge them and help you accept them.

    ❤ Lisa

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    1. Thanks for the birthday wish, Lisa!!

      But mostly, thank you for your kind words, understanding and encouragement. I am beginning to accept the way I feel and to let it be. It most definitely feels more liberating and peaceful to at least acknowledge the feelings and accept them. This allows for less internal struggle and guilt. The rest will have to come when the time is right. 🙂

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