"Why do you always have to be so up in your feelings?" she asked me. Pointedly.
I wish I had a witty comeback. But I didn't.
Because I don't like the alternative?
My work is about the suffering that happens when people don't know how to, or don't have permission to, be all up in their feelings.
Because I've never seen much of an upside to not feeling?
What I see is people who snap with anger. What I see is the perfectionist who's always trying to control everything. What I see is people ruin relationships, and get to the end of their lives with profound grief from never having really expressed who they were.
That's emotion, unspoken.
Feelings aren't like unwelcome guests who will go away if you just ignore them. No, they turn into life-long residents when you don't take time to greet them. They'll even go hide down in the basement if they have to. But they're gonna stick around until you say hi.
People disparage feelings - in themselves and others - because they're afraid:
Will life come to a screeching halt? (Maybe, for a bit. But not forever.)
Will I fall down and need help getting up? (Possibly.)
Will I feel sad too? (Would that be so bad?)
That's what happens when we're around people who feel all the feelings. We start to feel our own.
But the fear that feeling something means it will never stop - is not how feelings work. They come and go all the time. Like waves on the ocean. They change direction. Stormy, then calm. But feelings that are accepted move through. Instead of getting stuck.
In my work as a professional conversationalist, I haven't yet met a person who says they wish they felt less. Everyone wishes they had someone who gave them permission to feel more.
That someone can be you.
Maybe it's actually okay for you to be all up in your feelings.