11 thoughts on “Four Truths About Feelings That Will Set You Free

  • March 13, 2019 at 11:48 am

    The idea that no one is responsible for your feelings is just as much crap as saying that if someone punches you on your face and you get hurt, the physical feeling of pain is no one’s responsibility but yours. Just because the wound is psychological it doesn’t mean that you can’t hold the other person responsible for saying something hurtful, especially when it is intentional.

    I believe that such false sense of responsibility is what allows abusers to continue abusing — “hey, I called you a dumb bitch, and that hurt you? That’s your responsibility, not mine!”

    Also, any article that proclaims to be the “truth” about anything, is probably the furthest from the truth.

    • March 13, 2019 at 4:00 pm

      Thank you so much for your comments Tapti. I wholeheartedly agree in personal responsibility for both feelings and behaviors. I may not be able to control whether or not someone punches me in the face, but I am responsible for how I feel about it and what I do next. I can’t control how people feel about my blog posts, but I am responsible for my response. Thanks again for taking the time to share your opinion.

      • March 14, 2019 at 9:47 pm

        Hi Nathan, I thought about this a lot over the past day, and I still disagree strongly with your position.

        The article says “They may have done something despicable which needs to be dealt with. Still, they did not cause your feelings.”, and then, “Your feelings are a unique product of how you interpret what’s happening around you”

        My point is that, no, sometimes people do bad things that cause other people feelings of immense hurt. Within reason, we *are* responsible of the feelings we evoke in other people. Without that, there’d be no accountability. Of course, how the other person acts do resolve their feelings is their responsibility. But when I’ve said something to hurt another person, because I was either careless or insincere, I’m responsible for the feelings I cause in them. This is why it is so important to learn how to apologize correctly.

        I’m curious, what you think — if there’s no responsibility, is there any need to apologize for emotional distress, and to make up for emotional distress?

        This is probably digressing from the original topic, but sometimes I feel like, we are so focused on emotional independence, that we burn the bridges of emotional interdependence that are healthy and necessary to be human. That is how I feel about this whole idea of being the only ones responsible about our feelings. It seems to be about taking back the control other people have on our emotions (if we’re the only ones responsible of our emotions, no one else can hurt us). To me, it seems to be about the fear of letting go of control. I think though, that it is healthy to be affected by other people’s actions and words. It’s fine to think that other people are responsible for our feelings of hurt and pain, as long as we have the resilience to heal our wounds, within ourselves and with the support of the people who care about us.

      • March 15, 2019 at 10:37 am

        Tapti, thank you so much for your thoughtful comments and questions. I am delighted at the dialogue this post has generated. It’s absolutely OK for you to disagree with what I write. For those who find support and benefit from it, I’m grateful. For those who don’t, it’s fine. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, I would recommend my book, Conflict Without Casualties, or the great work of several other authors including Victor Fankl (Man’s Search for Meaning), and Brene Brown. And, I’ve written over 20 posts prior to this one that give context to this subject. Have you read any other articles in my blog? These resources will speak in more depth to your questions. All the best.

      • March 15, 2019 at 7:11 pm

        Hi Nathan, I did read three of your other articles, titled “Maya Angelou Had It Wrong”, “Resourcefulness: Compassionate Problem Solving”, and, “Persistence: Compassionate Accountability”, after I posted my previous comment. I find myself agreeing with the ideas in the last two articles, and disagreeing with the first one.

        Before I try to explain from where I’m coming from, let me say that I do see how believing that no one else can make us feel anything, except for ourselves — can indeed be very liberating. I’ve used that technique when inconsequential people (for example, people who I interact on a superficial level at work) treat me in a way that I think isn’t cool. Of course, I’d hate to let everyone I meet have that kind of power on me — where their behavior can make me super upset or angry, or whatever. It is the generalization of this technique (of believing that we’re the sole entities in charge of our feelings) to *all* relationships that I have a problem with.

        I’ve watched a few of Brene Brown’s talks and a lot of what she says resonates with me — especially on the topic of vulnerability. I’ve found that in order to connect with people, in my personal relationships (friendships or romantic relationships), I have to be open and vulnerable. And being open and vulnerable involves giving the people, who I love and trust, some of that kind of power over me. And believing that they won’t misuse it intentionally. And if they do so unintentionally, it is my job to tell them that they hurt me by doing ____, and trust that they’ll hear me out, and we’ll together come to a resolution that works for both of us.

        I find that this is also true in some professional relationships. As an instructor to high school students, it is definitely my responsibility to make sure that I’m not being dismissive of any student in class, or making them feel like they’re not “good enough”, or “smart enough”. If I do, it’s definitely my responsibility to fix that (within reason)

        Interestingly, what Maya Angelou said about people not forgetting how you made them feel is what drives me to connect better, and generally do better, when it comes to teaching. Sure, it is possible to take this attitude to an extreme and believe that *all* of our good and bad feelings are a result of other people doing good and bad things to us. But every thing taken to the extreme is bad 🙂

        Thanks for the discussion, it was nice to discuss this with someone who holds a different perspective.

    • March 13, 2019 at 6:14 pm

      There needs to be more truthful comments on the internet like this one !!!

  • March 13, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Crazy-making author, probably more than likely works for the military.

  • March 14, 2019 at 9:01 am

    I see it as an overgeneralization. To a degree no one is responsible but me but when you grow up for 60 years you acquire a lot of conditioning or automatic reaction. If I’m black and somebody calls me a stupid nxxxxx it’s pretty hard not to react with anger and hurt. I Can work on my reaction but not much more.

    • March 14, 2019 at 12:05 pm

      Deric, great point. Conditioning is one of the strongest forces that teach us these habits. For me and the many people I work with, the more we strive to believe these four “truths,” the happier and more capable we are.

  • March 16, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Thank you for your comments. Could you please add LinkedIn to your reposts so I can share your information there?


Join the Conversation!

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us what you think in this public forum. Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. A first name or pseudonym is required and will be displayed with your comment. Your email address is also required, but will be kept private. (Please note that we use gravatars here, which are tied to your email address.) A website/blog/twitter address is optional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *