I love word-play, so – in my mind – that line *pointing* has six different meanings. Like, for example, Asshole. Demisexual. Masturbation. Eminem. Cocktail. Sex toy.
For now, let’s focus on the most obvious definition – that (other people’s) feelings don’t matter. I know someone who thinks political correctness is stupid. In his opinion, if we can’t discuss things, we can’t fix them. So, if nothing is taboo, then nothing is a problem. People should be allowed to say whatever they want to say.
‘But … what if it hurts somebody’s feelings?’
‘They’re just feelings.’
I didn’t quite agree with his assessment. At least, not at first. But then I gave it some thought. Feelings are a powerful thing. But at the end of the day, they’re just feelings. They’re not broken bones or life-giving elixir. They’re just … feelings.
I was in therapy for almost a year, and I learned something similar. There’s nothing wrong with feelings in themselves. The real challenge is what you do with said feelings. How you respond to them, how they affect your actions.
Feeling like a cow doesn’t give you milk.
Feeling like shit doesn’t make you smell.
But … feeling like a cow can leave you open to bullshit.
Here’s a more concrete example, depression isn’t about feeling low. It’s about how you react to the lowness, both consciously and sub-consciously. That’s why in some people, depression manifests as substance abuse, or isolation … or even suicide.
I don’t think it’s okay to hurt somebody’s feelings on purpose. But … I find the idea of ‘just feelings’ liberating. I’ve learned that it’s okay to feel bad, or mean, or even suicidal. I can’t really control my feelings , but I control what I can do about them.
I can’t switch my feelings on and off, but they can’t manipulate me either. Just because I want to shoot my ex doesn’t mean I have to. And, it turns out, feelings can’t buy a gun and shoot him for me either. Only I can do that, and only I can stop it.
I can drug or drink myself into oblivion. I can deflect and focus on something else. I can vent in a way that doesn’t hurt (myself or) anyone (else). I can talk to someone about it. I can suppress them until they explode. I can sit still and do nothing at all. I can express them with passion and destruction, or pretend they aren’t to start with.
I have all these options, some better than others. But I do have them, these choices. I can do whatever I want, whatever suits me best, whatever does the most – or least damage. I can deal with my emotions. After all, they’re just feelings.
The biggest thing I took from therapy is this – there are always options. If you can’t see them right now, give it time. It has a way of opening your mind, your heart, and your spirit to new inspiring paths. You’ll find a way out. And it doesn’t have to lead you straight to hell. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Also, unrelated, f*ck periods.
♫ Hello Cover ♫ Sam Tsui, Casey Breves & Kurt Schneider ♫