Freedom #3: To Feel What One Feels and not what one “ought” to feel. It has happened to all of us. We are in a situation where we are “should” feel happy or sad, but really we feel something completely different. The reality is that there is no “should” when it comes to feelings. We spend a lot of time and energy denying what we truly feel or hiding our true feelings from others. Hiding or not accepting our true feelings can lead to shame or self-doubt.
You have the right to feel whatever it is you feel. In counseling we tell our clients that there is no right or wrong way to feel. Feelings are complicated and occur in layers. Often times we feel more than one feeling at once, even opposing feelings about the same situation! That is called ambivalence.
When we deny our true feelings, we are being dishonest with ourselves and those that love us. In your past, you may have been told, “You should not feel that way”. You may have been challenged,” how could you feel like that”? You may have been put down for your feelings, “I cannot believe you are afraid”! You have the right to have what feelings naturally occur. You do not have to defend your feelings to anyone.
Society likes to determine how people should feel and especially what people should not feel. But you do not have to buy into that. You have the freedom to feel whatever it is you feel. So embrace your feelings and express them honorably. Check back this week as we continue to explore our freedoms!
Adapted from Virginia Satire’s “The Five Freedoms”
Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT
Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapy, family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield