Feelings: Can You Trust Them?
n one occasion when the famed opera singer, Jenny Lind was performing to a crowd of 20,000 people in New York, her audience seemed unappreciative and unresponsive compared to what she was used to in other places. She sang many of the classics, some of which were very popular at the time, but applause was much less than enthusiastic.
Then she began to sing the strains of "Home Sweet Home." Hearts were touched as emotion swept through the audience. When she finished, thunderous applause followed.
Feelings. What would life be like without them? Like flowers without fragrance. Night without moon or stars. Food without taste. Grass and sky without color. Skin and hands without a sense of touch. Everything would be black and white. Deadly dull and boring. We'd be little more than computers.
Fortunately our society is acknowledging that we are much more than body and mind. We are spirit as well with a deep capacity to feel. Also, integrating our emotions with body and mind is essential for healthy and wholesome living.
But unfortunately, many of us still have buried or repressed feelings. As such, we have limited emotional vision and are unable to see with our heart. We also lack compassion and cannot love with all our heart. We may be very knowledgeable, but lack true wisdom. Knowledge is a matter of the head. Wisdom is a balance between the thinking mind and feeling heart.
To relate meaningfully, people
need to relate heart to heart.
It has been claimed that eighty percent of life's satisfaction comes from relationships and I would suggest that about eighty percent of meaningful relationships are a matter of the heart. The mind is important, but we love with the heart.
In marriage, for example, to relate meaningfully, people need to communicate heart to heart. When "relating head to head, like marbles, they ricochet off one another." They contact but don't connect. They may go through the motions but lack emotion. There may be chemistry but no intimacy. And chemistry, being physical, can become little more than animal connection. This is fine for animals but dehumanizing for people. Where lust is mistaken for love, love doesn't have a chance.
With the denial of emotion comes the death of love, and the feeling partner dies a little every day within the prison of his or her unmet longings. Eventually either partner or both may become ill, withdraw, fight, look for love and affection elsewhere, or leave! And the non-feeling partner wonders why!
Unfortunately, this is too true in too many relationships. Many of us, especially we men, have no idea how to communicate heart to heart. Many of us were taught that feelings weren't important. We were taught that big men don't cry. So we became stoic, developed a false sense of masculinity, and became human doings rather than human beings!
And those of us, men and women, who grew up in dysfunctional families don't know how to relate intimately because as children we weren't allowed to trust, feel or talk intimately. We never learned to communicate openly and honestly. To survive we had to deny our feelings. However, to live fully as adults, we need to get back in touch with our emotions and learn how to communicate them creatively.
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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