Feelings are the world’s universal language. Do you have feelings? Do you know where they come from? Or what caused them? Do they impact your life? Are they important to you and your life? YES should have been your answer for every question. Our feelings are us. They reflect where we are emotionally at the time we felt them.
And if you think a moment about feelings, have you noticed that everyone has them no matter who they are or where they are? People around the world laugh in the same way. They giggle or explode with laughter when something funny occurs in their sight or mind or hearing. We also cry and feel bad when something sad happens in our lives.
Each of us, as a person, is impacted daily by our feelings. Our feelings are also alive and well in our relationships with others and their relationship with us. Our partners, our families, our friends, and our enemies all generate feelings when we interact, some great, some just good, some sad, and some really create anger and hate. That’s us. That’s our feelings. And to live better lives, have better relationships and better family communication, we need to understand where feelings come from. We need to understand what they mean to each of us.
Our feelings are us. Just like my brain is me. I am my brain. My feelings are me. I am my feelings. Some folks don’t agree when we share those statements on a marriage encounter weekend. But over 40 years and several hundred weekends we have personally watched thousands of husbands and wives discover their feelings, learn to share and accept each other’s feelings, and often see their acceptances of each other. Their understandings of each other become acceptable and even desired as they personally learned how to find feelings, share feelings safely, build safe communication bridges between each other, and bond together in loving support.
Marriage encounter basically focuses on husbands and wives, but we urge them to share their new communication tools with their children, and we’ve had many share how successful their family communications became. Carolyn and I believe very strongly and emotionally that these tools will be very useful for our Kinship members and their families. We want to teach and share about feelings, emotions, and personalities, creating safe bridges of communication within a family, with the goal of helping all family members understand and connect with all their willing family members. Our family communication workshop is almost ready for use.
Let’s stop a few minutes and chat about feelings. What are feelings? Our Adventist theologist taught they were right and wrong, correctable good ones and devil-imposed bad ones. Our pastors had a difficult time accepting the real fact that “feelings are an instantaneous reaction to a person, place, or situation.” They are not right or wrong! They are how our brains react to various stimulus.
Feelings and their companion emotions are a new, vibrant topic being discovered in all relationships. Imagine a world without feelings! There would be no glue to bind humans together; life would be colorless and isolated. It was an honor to spend time with our Kenya Kinship members at Kampmeeting last summer. We laughed and cried over the same topics, over the same successes and challenges. Sharing feelings was a common communication tool that worked smoothly and successfully. We laughed and hugged throughout the Kampmeeting as they shared their journeys. Feelings are the same worldwide; languages are not.
Let’s learn about our feelings. Some of us must search for them. Others have them handy and visible. Let’s become comfortable finding them and sharing them. We can all grow stronger, visible, and successful in our desire and goal to enrich families, especially new families, as they find our Kinship path and join our journey.
Look forward to hearing from anyone with their feelings, thoughts, suggestions, and comments.