"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Feelings, Nothing More, Nothing Less

Today I am grateful for sobriety and the recovery wisdom others share with me. I am also grateful for
the feel of cool air on my warm skin after a run this morning.

On my run yesterday morning, I got an idea that it was time for another A-Z list. I was thinking about apathy, feeling apathetic. So let's go with an A-Z list about feelings.

As I thoughts about feelings, I thought of the old Morris Albert song "Feelings."  Feelings, nothing more than feelings. Feelings, wo, wo, wo, feelings.  A fairly successful single when it came out in 1974, it was a song about losing love that people loved to hate for its overly sappy sound. Nothing more than feelings, but nothing less.

Our feelings, our emotions are crucial. Identify them, rather than deny. Experience them rather than suppress. Emotional health is as important as physical, mental, and spiritual. They are interwoven.
It is actually healthy to know a range of emotions, to be able to name them for what they are, and to give them time to work their way through. That is true of joy and of sorrow. That is true of feeling satisfied as well as feeling frustrated. We can't be happy 24/7. We wouldn't appreciate it or give it back. Yet, we shouldn't be experiencing painful emotions 24/7 either. That is a sign that help is needed.

It also brings to mind a visual that I used with students when I was an elementary school counselor. Actually two visuals-a gift bag and a Pringles chips can. I used the gift bag to talk to children about feelings as gifts. All feelings are gifts. They are telling us things are right, or that something is wrong.
If we never let those tough feelings through, if we never talk about them or admit them, it is like stuffing that Pringles can with those negative feelings. And what happens if we stuff for too long? The can bursts. It's a visual young people can understand with a lesson still as important for us as adults.

What are you feeling today? Honor those emotions. Be grateful for them. Then take right actions to help the positive emotions keep flowing and to stem the tide of negative emotions before they sweep us away.

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