From the Couch
FEELINGS AND FREEDOM
If we don't know how we REALLY feel, we don't know who we really are. Consequently, we are prone to make some bad decisions and choices.
Some of us think, act and talk as if our current partner and relationship mean very little to us, yet when our partner eventually leaves us we feel a great LOSS and promise to do anything to get them back (even counselling!!).
Some people go from one unsatisfactory relationship to another without ever getting in touch with the real motivations behind their self-defeating choices.
Some of us are depressed for years without being aware of it. We can be quite self-defeating, yet blame others, or the system, for our plight. If our feelings are watered down, we can stay in unfulfilling jobs, or relationships, for years without realizing how bad it really feels and how unhealthy it is for us. People in touch with their feelings very quickly realise that the job or the relationship, does not feel right and move on. But to do this we need to know how BAD it feels.
Instead of learning about ourselves from our feelings many of us want to wipe out our feelings with legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, or other distractions such as keeping ourselves excessively busy. People feel down because a relationship ends but instead of exploring their feelings and emotions to learn how to 'deal' with pain, they resort to 'masking' it until the pain passes and they are ready to repeat the cycle. For some people, all that seems to matter is to avoid pain, discomfort and anything that takes time and effort. They SHOULD feel good, constantly and instantly.
If I am not deeply enough in touch with my feelings, it is hard to decide if my bad feelings in this relationship are due to my emotional immaturity, and therefore something I need to work on, or whether the other person has problems that I would be better off not getting involved in.
Our most important freedom is that of being ourselves in the world. The more deeply we feel and accept our feelings, the freer we become to be who we are, rather than who we SHOULD be, according to our self-idealized images. Gradually, we can give up our images with their shoulds, and claims, false pride and self-hatreds. We become less defensive and accept ourselves with much deeper insight into our real motivations. With the deeper freedom of OUR feelings, we become much more aware, and accepting, of the feelings of OTHERS.