Fact or Feeling?

“Your feelings are valid, but that doesn’t mean they’re true” is a phrase I learned very early in my Buddhist journey when I struggled with my own mindsets and emotions.

Emotional validation is a very important part of life’s journey. When we’re taught from a very young age that our opinions, feelings, and perspectives are not valid, or we’re gaslit and lead to question our reality, it’s hard to accept, honor, and even sometimes feel our emotions as we get older. That being said , it doesn’t always mean that our feelings and reactions to situations are true.

At first glance, I do understand how that sentence can read and feel as if it’s gaslighting you, the reader. How can I say “Your feelings are valid,” in the same breath that I also emphatically say “but that doesn’t mean they’re true.” Doesn’t the latter negate the former? No, and here’s a personal example as to why:

Here’s the thing – everyone goes through a lot at times, thus they may deny a lot of personal requests. Remember this and don’t get your feelings hurt when one too many requests get denied or ignored. Their denials have nothing to do with you, given that they’re struggling with many human issues themselves. It’s hard but its human and yes it will hurt.

Remember your feelings are valid and you get to have them, but you should also strive to understand them. We are all allowed to miss our friends or wish we could see them more. We can even be emotional about it if we want to and that’d be perfectly fine, but their absence isn’t about you, and making it about you isn’t fair to them. Feelings aren’t facts, and in this situation if I treat my feelings as such, I can cause more harm to my friends who are already in sticky life situations.

Trying to discern our feelings from facts can be hard. Personally, I’ve found that going through the following process helps both in the moment when I’m feeling the emotions, and also whenever I decide to communicate them externally:

  • As objectively as possible, what is the reality of this situation? Ask yourself this question, and if you need help seek an objective third party opinion. You want an unbiased outlook (which is hard) at what is going on around you.
  • Sit with how you feel in relation to what happened. Sit with it. Journal it. Talk about it. Whatever you have to do to confront those feelings healthily!
  • Ask yourself if your feeling is “true” or if it’s just a feeling. Remember, it’s valid regardless, but coming to that realization can potentially save you unnecessary conflict.

When we hit rough spots in life, we do need to learn to understand our emotions regardless of if they’re disordered or not. Having emotions and feeling some type of way about a situation, relationship, job, etc., isn’t wrong or bad. It’s what makes us human. However, there’s a certain responsibility that we need to take for our reactions along with a certain nuance we need to maintain that if overlooked, can create more chaotic and emotionally unstable relationships in our lives.  

We can do both — validate our emotions, while also being honest and objective about the actual situations that we have feelings about. We have self-centered minds which get us into plenty of trouble. If we do not come to understand the error in the way we think, our self-awareness, which is our greatest blessing, can also be our greatest downfall.

Peace and Love, Jim

#feelings #thedailybuddha

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