“It is so many years before one can believe enough in what one feels even to know what the feeling is.” W.B. Yeats
This quote struck when I came across it the other day.
It does take a long time to believe our feelings. I think I’ve lived most my life distrusting them. Feelings are reactions. Ergo, irrational. Ergo, not to be trusted. And so, off with her head!
I’ve lived in my head and ignored the stomach aches, the ugghhh! feelings, the drabby black and whiteness of life in my mind’s eye when, CLEARLY, things aren’t right. And my feelings are falling over themselves to wave flags at me.
It’s an imprecise sport, learning to believe feelings. Messy. Is my anger at someone about my being angry with them. Sometimes, when I truly feel into it, it’s regret. Or it’s disappointment in myself because their action reminds me of a failing of my own.
When people say, “what are you feeling right now”, it shits me. I don’t always know. I’m still learning to trust that they work. And it conjures such loose, sappishness.
It takes refinement. It takes playing with them. It takes being flexible to what they cough up, and being surprised.
I’m only just starting to distinguish excitement from nervousness (this is handy when you think you’re dreading something scary…perhaps I’m actually excited!? cool!). I’m starting to know joy (!). Joy is very specific. It’s not high-octane exhilaration; it’s a smooth, even uplifting that signals I’m on the right track. I’ve had to tease it out, away from exhausting exhilaration. So it can sit on my emotional plate alone. There. Joy!
Believing our feelings is a practice. We build the interpretive muscle. It’s also a sport. At least it can be.
And, frankly, I just like it when it’s confirmed that some things just damnwell take a long time. As they ought!
How do you see/feel your feelings? I liked this New York Times article on perception…it points out that in the 1950 most people saw their dreams in black and white. Now most people seem them in colour. Or so they say. The explanation? When expressing what our dreams feel like, we refer to references like movies…which of course were B and W back in the 50s….