I’ve been thinking about feelings this week.
I believe that I am responsible for my own feelings. It’s my job to pay attention to how I’m feeling and my job to feel my way through any negative or less-than-desirable feelings that surface. If I’m feeling out of alignment, or generally not joyful, I take responsibility for those emotions and look for lessons, insights, and behaviors that will allow me to move through the emotions and ultimately return to joy.
I also believe that relationships serve as mirrors for us and an additional resource for growth, joy and connection. They offer an opportunity for feelings and experiences that differ from those that we can create alone. Relationships allow me to practice taking care of my own feelings regardless of what others say or do.
Thirdly, I believe that I have a responsibility to ensure that I am being treated with dignity and respect from the people I share time and energy with. That means that I will not allow others to bully, manipulate or disrespect me. It’s my job to take care of my inner child and protect her from mistreatment from me and others.
So, to reiterate:
- I’m responsible for my own feelings
- I understand the role of relationships in my journey
- I accept the job of setting boundaries of acceptable treatment
Here’s where I’ve been getting confused… I believe I am responsible for my own feelings, and I feel it’s my responsibility to protect myself from any perceived abuse. So, do I have an expectation from those around me, or don’t I?
I don’t need anyone to take care of my feelings. That is my job. I do however, feel that I have a need to surround myself with people who care about how I feel. It does not feel good to me to have people in my circle that don’t care about my feelings. I do not want anyone to put my feelings above their own; I do want to feel that there is a compassion or understanding to the fact that I have feelings too. Yes, the feelings are my responsibility and I chose what they are, and it’s important to me that others acknowledge and accept their existence.
Here’s what I’m concluding for now. I can care about how you feel (compassion, empathy, understanding) without taking any responsibility for your feelings. Your feelings are perfect and I don’t need to fix them. You can care about how I feel without “taking care” of my feelings. In fact, I think you must. If you don’t care about how I’m feeling, the basis of the relationship feels flawed, and I then need to take responsibility for protecting myself from mistreatment.
I’m enjoying the exploration of this subject, and I welcome your thoughts and insights. How do you understand the dual responsibility of owning your feelings and protecting yourself?