When I was in high school I sensed a major change in everyone’s overall attitude that began to filter into the culture. Music changed and attitudes in society began to change. Looking back over many years, I believe this way of thinking is still very much with us. What I am referring to is the idea that how you feel is more important than what you do (how you behave).
Even the sciences were affected by this in that an outdated form of psychotherapy was based on the idea that how you feel is who you are. The term “cult of feelings” described this belief that emotion was more important than just about anything.
I am not sure if it is research or just plain common sense which has weakened this doctrine greatly, even though there are so many who are still suffering from the results of living under its weight. Many still do not know that emotions are simply something that your mind experiences and digests; they are not “you.”
Some forms of mental illness, bad relationships, and all kinds of emotional disability are made worse by misunderstanding emotions, or giving them much more power than they deserve. On the other hand, many in this culture believe that they should avoid, at all costs, any emotional discomfort.
Since we are humans, we will feel all kinds of emotions over time. When we are debilitated by a set of emotions we will probably need help from a counselor who will not try to turn off the feelings, but help us to experience them without fear as part of the process of letting them go. Being heard and carefully listened to is an important part of this process as well as being encouraged to do practical, healthy things that enhance the healing process.
If you feel extremely depressed, irritable, or angry, call your counselor. It does not matter if you can or cannot describe how you feel. He or she will be happy to spend important time with you by listening, teaching you some things or don’t know, and reminding you of important things that your emotions might have helped you to forget. The sooner you call, the faster you might not only feel better, but behave in a way that is better for everyone.