Feelings vs. Truth

This is going to be a very different kind of post.

One concept I have learned in 5 & 1/2 years of therapy, is that feeling are REAL, but feelings are not TRUTH. We feel what we feel, but it doesn’t mean it’s true.

Abraham Lincoln said “I have noticed that most people in this world are about as happy as they have made up their minds to be.”

Notwithstanding things like medical depression, anxiety, PTSD, or another diagnosis, a traumatic life event, or a natural disaster, I agree with the 16th President.

Now, I’m much happier living at home and not the hospital. I feel better and stronger when I sleep for more than 7 hours. I like when my car works. I like when the internet works. But in general, we experience joy, anger, sadness, fear, disgust ( remember the movie Inside Out?).

Another concept over the last two years I’ve learned is that no other person CAN MAKE us feel the emotions we feel. Think about it. We can be talking and I say, “I want you to get really angry. Now. Get really angry.” Did you get angry? I hope not. We get angry when we perceive someone has mistreated us ( and it must have been on purpose!!).

Another reason is that we have unmet expectations. For example, I call my husband on his way home from work and tell him I’m making pasta for supper, but I don’t have very much cheese at home. He arrives home with no cheese. I got angry because he didn’t think to stop for the thinly sliced Italian 6 blend cheese mix. Now, should have stopped? Possibly. But, I should have expressed my need for him to stop to get pasta cheese. He didn’t make me angry, I chose to be angry, or more accurately, disappointed that I won’t have cheese with my pasta.

A third reason can be plain miscommunication. Did we read into the message we received? Was it an email, text, phone call, a quick exchange? Face to face communication when both parties are willing to remain calm is the best setting to correct a miscommunication.

A lot of our emotions are in our control.

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