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It's OK to feel whatever you are feeling. Really.

Message 15, January, 2021

Dear Guest,

Let’s talk straight about feelings for a minute. This is coming from my years of experience as a coach, but also as wife, mother, entrepreneur and caregiver, and it’s coming from my heart, too.

I’ve been through a lot. I do a lot of hard things, I make plenty of mistakes, and I see the world differently than most people I know. For my entire life, this has opened the door for folks to disagree and criticize me.

For most of my life, my reaction to this unplesantness was to stuff down my feelings. I would shame myself if I thought my emotions were incorrect or inappropriate or wrong. And that was really painful. I inflicted a lot of suffering on myself by telling myself I was broken for being a human with human feelings.

And that’s the basic thing most of us get wrong. We think we are supposed to deny our normal human emotions.

And there are no “good” or “bad” emotions.* That idea is a load of garbage.

We are human, and it’s OK to feel whatever we feel. But we don't really believe this because we are taught to have negative reactions to our own so-called bad feelings. We're taught this by the people we love, by our school system, by our bosses and colleagues, and by any other system we buy into, whether it’s a club or a church or a civic organization.

For the most part, people don’t know we get this wrong. And most of the people we love aren’t teaching us to stuff down our feelings intentionally. They probably don’t know any better, either. It’s just part of our culture. (That's not an excuse for the people who tell you that you shouldn't have the feelings you do have; I choose not to hold it against people who don't know how to do better yet.)

If someone in your life doesn’t like the way you feel or thinks you are wrong to have your feelings, you don’t have to tell that person about your feelings. I’m not saying you should deny your feelings, though! You can acknowledge the emotions you have inside of you without sharing them with a person who doesn’t agree with you. That’s your choice, and not sharing is NOT the same thing as stuffing your feelings down. You can definitely find somebody else to share your emtions with instead. 

Feel whatever you need to. It’s part of being human. Do not let anyone shame you for feeling your feelings; do not buy into it when someone tells you your feelings are bad or wrong. It’s not up to them to choose your emotions for you or to judge the emotions you have. Nobody has authority over your feelings.

I can't wait to send you the next message, because I get to talk about how to feel the emotion we call “hopeful” again.

Please let me know if you can relate to this, or if you have any thoughts or  questions, by leaving a comment here.

Kay Coughlin

*This confusion about naming emotions as bad or good causes at least some of the emotional grind of caregiving. If you’re ready to free your mind from this pain, take a look at my book From One Caregiver to Another - Overcoming Your Emotional Grind here.


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Copyright 2020, Facilitator On Fire, Galena, OH, 43021, 614.426.8062

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