One of the first introductions to a Spiritual life for me, was the statement: “You are responsible for your feelings.” It has been 25 years since I first heard that statement, and I still don’t like it at times. Life is not so easy when you have no one to blame.
Before being introduced to Spirituality, it was as if the world was happening to me. Everything was somebody else’s fault, and I was angry at everyone. You name it, family, friends, the school system, the government, my cruddy life was the fault of the world, but certainly no fault of mine. Needless to say, I was going down the tubes. School was impossible, work was becoming impossible, there were family troubles, my relationships were past the “toxic” phase and into the “nuclear” phase, it was all bad.
One thing that is good to know though, is that typically, the feelings we have are appropriate. As a matter of fact, I find people’s feelings to be correct in most every case. How you feel is how you feel, and your “feeler” is probably not broken. Where I most frequently see trouble, is how we deal with feelings and how we react to other people according to our feelings.
Lets take this scenario: Someone cheats on you, and you have the appropriate feelings. However, you “forgive” them, you will be understanding and let it go. For a time things are better, and so you feel better. But then, the inevitable happens and they cheat again. You again have the appropriate feelings but now you are getting confused. The person is very sorry and won’t let it happen again, but you are really hurt and it takes a few days before you agree to continue on. Clearly what is happening here is not to do with the feelings you are having, which are appropriate, but with what you are doing with them. Your feelings are telling you that you are hurt, that the person cannot be trusted, but what do you do? You go back. Then you wonder why you feel so angry and confused. This is not only true with relationships, it is this way with everything. I have worked with people who hated their jobs, but they had been working there for a long time. These people say “I couldn’t find a better paying job” or “I don’t know how to do anything else”, and so they continue on in a job that they don’t like.
So remember this; when you are unhappy with something and you keep on doing it, whatever it may be, your unhappiness will grow. So the challenge is to listen to your feelings! Decide that you are going to do something different, even if you don’t know what it is. Start looking! Put a stop to whatever you feel bad about. I know that this is a lot easier said than done, but if nothing else, remember that your feelings are appropriate. If you feel hurt, you probably should, if you don’t like something, then you don’t like something, if you feel cheated, or if you feel like something is wrong, you are probably right about that.