Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Ramble on Emotional Truth

Today I had to stop by my old home to speak with Miss Daughter. As I was pulling out of the drive, I saw Soon-to-be-ex coming out of the tractor shed. A smile lit up inside me. I was happy. Happy because I didn't have to be there. Happy that I had a place free of the oh-so-very-negative atmosphere I had lived in for so very long.

My current home does not even closely resemble what one would describe as a "dream home". It is just an old worn out mobile home that has seen better days. It needs repainted, a new front door, and so many other things. I left all of my furniture at the old house, so we make do with furniture that is one step up from being ready for the trash heap. But this home, my home, has something my old home hasn't had for years and years. It is a home that contains an ambiance of contentment, of happiness, and ease. There is joy, smiles, and laughter more often than negative words or emotions. Even when we are all cranky, ready to throttle one another, underneath it all is laughter waiting to bubble forth. My dreary looking little home, is anything but dreary on the inside.

As the day wore on, I didn't spend much time contemplating that earlier feeling of contentment, I was busy cleaning, and, running errands. But, this evening on my way home I had the radio on. My usual stations weren't satisfying me, so I turned to a Country and Western Station.

Timing is everything sometimes.

I heard the song Broken Wing by Martina McBride, I don't recall ever listening to it before.

~Broken Wing~

She loved him like he was
The last man on Earth
Gave him everything she ever had
He'd break her spirit down
Then come lovin' up to her
Give a little, then take it back

She'd tell him about her dreams
He'd just shoot 'em down
Lord he loved to make her cry
"You're crazy for believin'
You'll ever leave the ground"
He said, "Only angels know how to fly"

And with a broken wing
She still sings
She keeps an eye on the sky
With a broken wing
She carries her dreams
Man you ought to see her fly

One Sunday morning
She didn't go to church
He wondered why she didn't leave
He went up to the bedroom
Found a note by the window
With the curtains blowin' in the breeze

And with a broken wing
She still sings
She keeps an eye on the sky
With a broken wing
She carries her dreams
Man you ought to see her fly

With a broken wing
She carries her dreams
Man you ought to see her fly

* * *

As I listened, I remember thinking...A year ago this song would have made me so sad, even six months ago this song would have made me cry. I would have been thinking...this has been my life for so long.

But not anymore. I may not be an angel, but I am ready to fly, so much less fear fills me, I really do feel freer. And once again I remembered how I felt this afternoon.

The lyrics, my earlier feelings of freedom, this juncture in my life...led me to thoughts of emotional messages, how we receive them, and how we give them. Thoughts of how powerful emotional messages can be in determining or shaping our emotional truths. There is a psychological theory based on a philosophical view by Sartre (I think it is Sartre). A viewpoint which intuitively feels right. We are in charge of our emotions, we own them, we aren't controlled by our emotions, we may allow them to control us, but it's a choice we make.

Unfortunately there are people in this world who believe that others control their emotions. What we do or don't do, what we say or don't say, causes them to feel happy, loved, sad, angry, and so forth. Even the way we communicate our emotional responses points it out. We often verbalize our feelings with sentences that begin with, "You made me feel..."

So, yes, I believe I own my emotions. When I feel an emotional response rising within me, it is my thought processes that determine what occurs next emotionally and cognitively.

This led me once again back to my relationship with Soon-to-be-ex. There were decades worth of words, actions, and emotional manipulations directed toward me. All conveying the same message. My actions, my words, my behavior determined how he felt. If I failed him in supplying the necessary responses he felt he needed, then it was my fault he was unhappy. Needless to say, I always seemed to not be able to give the right response, or do the right action, or behave the right way to keep him feeling loved and secure. So, I didn't measure up.

Those are his cognitive/intellectual and emotional truths though, not mine. Not anymore. But after a few years of this constant barrage, I eventually came to believe him. Funny thing...I never thought he was in control of how I felt...but in one sense I allowed him to be. He shot me down, I believed him, instead of what I felt my own emotional truths to be.

So then I started pondering how we internalize our thoughts and compare them to how we are feeling. I have contemplated this before...we have a thought, we emotionalize it, we ride the waves of the emotion to the point the emotion feeds more thoughts. The feelings and the thoughts feed upon each other...until one or the other gains control. It is our choice whether we want to ride that huge emotional wave until it is out of control, or we become cognizant of the direction we are flying off into and decide to take some time seek the basic emotional truth of it all.

When it comes to interacting with others, there are different types of truths. One is intellectual truth, just the facts of the matter at hand. But as a part of the interaction, underlying the intellectual, there is also emotional truth.

One of the hardest things for any of us, is to have our fears, our concerns, our worries dismissed. Being told they are not important, or wrong.

I have been there so many times. Once my thoughts, my beliefs, my emotions and dreams began to be judged and dismissed, I began to question myself. I didn't trust myself anymore. I didn't trust my self-perception, nor my perceptions of others. His emotional truth and my emotional truth were two completely different truths. I soon began to believe that my truth was the false one.

Our feelings matter, they always will, that fact is not going to change, as long as we live, our feelings do matter.

We all bleed. We all know pain. We all know fear. We all feel.

Even though we are in charge of what we do with our emotions, there are times in our lives when we need those feelings acknowledged. There are moments in which we need someone to say, "I know you must feel sad or distressed or frustrated or ..." It is not a time for life lessons to be taught, it is not a time to be judged. It is time when we just need listened to. Simply that. Someone to listen, to give a warm embrace, a shoulder to lean on, we need our feeling validated. It doesn't matter what, when, why, who, or how, not at that moment...we feel is our truth.

When our emotions are acknowledged, something pretty great often happens. Just knowing someone listens, and, accepts how we feel, ends up begetting good feelings, and many times the negative feelings are diminished.

It seems so simple, does it not?

Yet some seem to have a problem with simply listening without voicing their judgments upon us.

We are all so different, unique in so many ways, but we are all also quite similar. In thinking of basic wants, and wishes, I am sure my own are very similar to those of many others.

We all want love, truth, respect, genuineness, sincerity, patience, dignity, compassion, empathy, joy.

We want to be listened to, we want to experience genuine interest. We want to be accepted for ourselves, whoever that self is.

It makes sense to me that we have to give that type of emotional truth to receive it. But, sadly, even though we may give it, we don't always receive it.

Thus a relationship ends.


deb said...

This was good.

I've come to understand these past couple of years that just because I think something or believe something, doesn't mean it's true. And I can change how I think which in turn, changes how I feel.

Sounds like you're on the same journey.

Feels like a Second Spring.

X. Dell said...

In a relationship between adults, especially, dismissal has terrible conseuenses. A lot of times, however, this is a mechanism of control. The dismissal is an attack on the other person's confidence, a reinforcement that the other person is incapable of excercising judgement, or putting things into their proper perspective. Thus, the hoped-for reliance upon the controlling party to do these things.

You sound free. You'd probably sound freer if you could get someone to mow that lawn for you:-)

Sunny Delight said...

Thank you, I too have learned to be more cognizant of where I had been allowing my emotions lead me.

I like the journey.,
I can see it now as a mechanism of took me a long time though...

The Mowing? Job is to visit?