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My Feelings

It is 2014.  I started blogging in 2004.  A decade of life and words have passed, and I am still here, still blogging.  Some.  In this almost ten year span, 2062 posts have been written at one or the other of this suite of blogs.  I've never been a daily blogger.  The writing has been driven more by events and the reactions to those events than it has been by the turning over of the days of the calendar.  Most of what is back there in the archives is wrapped up around me, my thoughts, my reactions, and my feelings about all of that.

Lately, I've tended to eschew writing about my feelings, and with that, I've written less abundantly.  I have not stopped having feelings and reactions, but I have come to believe that, really, no one cares about my feelings -- at least not as much as I do.  In fact, I have learned that no one really cares about anyone else's feelings all that much.  There's some freedom to be had from that knowledge:

  • My feelings are mine.  Completely.  I can feel what I feel; hold on to whatever feelings I find to be true and real for myself; cherish them, and keep them close.
  • I can act for myself by myself.  the choices are all mine.  The responses that I choose to have, based on the feelings I have, do not require the endorsement, or agreement of anyone else.
  • I do not have to take on anyone else's feelings.  If my feelings are mine, then, it follows that no one else's feelings are mine.  If another person has feelings, those feelings belong, entirely, to that other person.  I may choose to empathize with that person's feelings, but they remain "not mine."
  • It is irresponsible and manipulative for me to spew my feelings all over the place in the expectation that others must needs respond to them.  Infants and children operate from that very direct linkage between need and emotion and external response. It is appropriate for the helpless young to expect that adults will perceive their emotional expression of need, and then supply what is needed.  As we mature, it is necessary to learn to understand our own feelings, and then take action to respond to those feelings.
  • Knowing that no one really cares about my feelings fixes my perspective.  I am not the center of the universe.  I've always espoused the notion that I am about being a good animal, but knowing that I am just not as important in the grand scheme of things as my internal melodrama might suggest helps keep me aware of just where I actually stand.  I am just one small, relatively weak animal, living on a small planet, orbiting a pretty ordinary star, at the edge of a moderate sized galaxy, in an inconceivably vast universe.  Nothing that I experience, and nothing that I do will alter the course of the stars one jot.
  • I do not need to be afraid.  I can fall on my face.  I can go out in public with my hair all spikey and uncombed.  I can sport an adolescent zit, right on the end of my nose.  I can wear last year's style trends (or last decade's), I can say the wrong thing, take the wrong turn, be politically incorrect or socially uncool.  None of it matters, because no one is looking at me.  No one cares.  
  • None of the social measures of success matter either.  Awards, notice, recognition, wealth, popularity, ...  meaningless!  What matters; what has always mattered; and what will matter, going forward, is what I think about who I am and what I do.  What I feel matters to me, and only to me.  I don't need boxes full of plaques or a host of admiring fans.  What I need is the certainty, in my own heart and mind, that I am good enough for my own self.
  • I approve of me.  I don't need your approval.  I know who I am and what I am about (mostly).  When I have no idea what I am about, I am really OK with being sort of lost and without my bearings.  It is OK.  Gravity works, and I will not fall off the planet.  Being someone's "good girl," "good wife," "good parent," "good church member," "good employee," "good friend," or "good customer," is just not that important.  Sure, I like hearing that I did something right now and then, but if I screw it up, I'm not going to fall to pieces.  Most of what is screwed up can be repaired.  
  • I've been the Princess of "What If" for most of my adult life.  I am fairly perceptive, but sometimes my gift for reading people launches me off into my own personal brand of science fiction.  All of the private fears and fantasies work to make me totally crazy, but the fact is that almost nothing that I have feared -- or fantasized about -- has panned out.  All of that "what if" stuff depends on everyone around me looking at me and focusing on me and acting with regard to me.  Knowing that probably 99% of the interactions I have in any given day are with people who just do not care takes the power away from those "what ifs."  I can stop worrying.  
  • I can do what I want.  I can say what I think.  I can dance, however badly, if I feel like it.  I can wear stripes with plaid if I am in a mood.  I am me, full grown, and my feelings belong to me.  I can live my life without regrets or fears or limits.  No one cares.

1 comment:

  1. You know sue - I am still working on the "nobody cares" (if I actually understand/get what you mean)

    I could never go out anywhere without having my hair just right, my clothes just right, my make up just right.

    I am slowly learning it just doesn't matter. The last day that I was painting W insisted on taking me out for lunch. I was hot and sweaty and paint splattered....... but W insisted. I didn't even get to change my clothes

    AND no one cared - no one even gave me a second glance.

    Lesson learned - or maybe - more correctly - learning in progress.

    You put it all in words so much better than I could have - thanks:)


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