It’s easy for us to get over focused on whether we have a “right” to feel what we feel. Whether our feelings are “fair.”

Our nervous system does not care about “right” or “fair.” 

We feel what we feel. “Rational” or not. “Proportional” or not. “Fair” or not. 

We often— not always, but often— have choices about what to DO in response to what we feel, or how to EXPRESS how we feel. But we don’t choose our feelings. 

Our feelings choose us. 

Our feelings represent gut-level associations and survival instincts. They don’t exist to inconvenience or frustrate us. 

Feelings exist to tell us things we need to know— often things we’re not equipped to think or reason our way through yet. 

It’s not that our feelings are somehow “infallible.” Feelings, like thoughts and instincts, can be manipulated and are malleable in response to experience, especially trauma. 

Sometimes our feelings MIGHT be misplaced or disproportionate to what’s happening here and now. 

Sometime our feelings MIGHT be entwined with people and situations both past AND present. 

 The question isn’t whether our feelings are “right” or “wrong,” “true” or “false,” “fair” or “unfair.” 

The question is, “what is this feeling trying to tell me?” 

All feelings are trying to communicate something to us about what we’ve experienced and what we need. 

One of the reasons why it can feel good fo “vent” feelings, even if there’s nothing that can be “done” about them, is that by putting words to what we feel we are affirming that our experiences and needs are real and important. 

When we tell ourselves that we don’t have any “right” to feel what we feel— especially “negative” feelings like anger or disgust— we’re essentially telling part of ourselves that what it experiences or needs “doesn’t count.” 

Even if we don’t like what we’re feeling, it’s really important we validate the FACT that we’re feeling it.

Sadness “counts.” Anger “counts.” Jealousy “counts.” 

They “count”— they are important and meaningful— because they express something that part of us is REALLY going through. 

To deny our feelings is to abandon part of who we are. 

We can’t be denying, disowning, or abandoning ourselves. Not if we want to build and reinforce a stable, authentic Self to go out and function in the world. 

We don’t need to tell ourselves everything we feel is “right.” 

We don’t need to act on everything we feel. 

Sometimes we’re even  going to feel things that seem contradictory or nonsensical. There’s a reason for that time honored trope of the head doing battle with the heart. 

What we need to do, every day, is treat our feelings life with curiosity, respect, and compassion. 

We need to be clear that we cannot value ourselves and dismiss or belittle our feelings at the same time. Just won’t work. 

We need to be real about the fact that trying to push away our feelings indefinitely creates many more problems than it solves. 

So much of real life recovery is about refusing fo go to war with ourselves. So many of us are so used to instinctively attacking ourselves when we feel (or think, or remember, or perceive) something we don’t like. 

Refuse to attack yourself for what you feel. 

Be there for yourself, no matter WHAT you feel. 

It’s absolutely true that coexisting with painful feelings is a tall order for many of us, especially if we were punished or mocked for being “dramatic” or “emotional” when we were kids. 

It’s real important we don’t pick up where our bullies and abusers left off by shaming and attacking ourselves for our feelings. 

You can do this. You can break the cycle. 

If all begins with the commitment to self-compassion— no matter what.  

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