In the previous blog, we talked about what love looks like in contrast to what love feels like. So in the next two blogs, we will look at what love feels like as well as explore just what feelings are and where they come from.
I think most of us would say, “Well, yeah, I know what love feels like.” We might even say, “I don’t really feel love or loved very often, but I know that feeling.” We might even say, “I feel love and loved all the time with my grandkids,” and some of us may even be able to say, “I feel love for or loved by my partner.” And we might be able to go even further and say “I love God and know that God loves me.” (And if we can't make any of those statements, hey, we're in good company! Believe me.)
Each one of these statements is pack full of information, and typically we do not take the time to unravel the information. We just sit with the assumption that we know what it feels like to love someone and or to be loved by someone.
And what most of us do not stop to grasp is that a feeling, whether we name that feeling love or we name it something else like hate, anger, jealous, hurt, sad, intimidated, happy, joy, sexy, is generated from within our own skin. Feelings come from the inside and not the outside.
This is a good place to stop and meet Bunny and Bear!
I initially purchased these stuffed animals from Mervyns back in 1987. They were part of a personal experiment to heal my attachment wounds, and consequently, they soon became very real to me and I named them. Yes, Bunny and Bear. And I refer to them all the time as Bunny and Bear. The names may not sound very original or creative to you, but it is who they are and what I call them and their names make them real to me. Sometimes, they live in my home and sometimes, they live in my office.
When I first adopted Bunny and Bear, I took them with me EVERYWHERE! And if I was presenting a class or workshop, I would “invite” (actually force!) the participants to hug both Bunny and Bear. Then I would ask everyone what it felt like for them when they hugged Bunny and Bear. Some folks had the courage to say, “I didn’t feel anything.” That response is grist for an entire blog of its own! Most of the time, folks would say they felt “warm, cuddly, and soft.” Some folks went so far to say they felt “loved.” And yes, that’s grist for a blog all of its own as well! Then I would ask everyone the big question. "Where do those feelings come from?" After a moment of that deer-in-the-headlight look, I would say, “Those feelings obviously aren’t coming from Bunny or Bear!"
So when we say “I know she/he loves me, I can feel it,” we typically do not stop to register that that feeling we associate with someone loving us is coming from inside of us. Yes, inside of US. And no sooner do we feel loved than we feel dismissed or rejected by that very same person, who is now standing there stunned because he or she has no clue as to what they just did to cause us to go from feeling loved to feeling rejected or dismissed all within record breaking time.
Have we had these kinds of experiences before? Do we have them on a regular basis? Do we go through this roller coaster of emotions every day when we come home from work or every night when we crawl into bed?
Sometimes, we say something like, “I’m really sorry, I just don’t have those kinds of feelings for you,” and there is an implication that there is something missing inside the other person, and we don’t stop to consider that whatever is missing may very well have not been planted in our emotional brain from the very beginning of our conscious existence. Or if the person is someone we did have those feelings for once, we don’t really get it, that if the feelings were there once, they can be there again. Whatever got triggered the first time can get triggered again. Again, the feelings come from inside of us. Our feelings are ultimately ALL about US and tell us very little about the other person.
So some of us may be too tired to go any further with this exploration. We are convinced that we know what it feels like to love and be loved and that’s all that is necessary. And maybe we are equally convinced that when someone loves us, they give off a kind of vibe, and we can tell, we can pick it up, we can read their body language. Of course, in picking up vibes from other people, we also know when they do not love us us and we often grow to hold back with other people, basically mistrust others, because what they give off toward us seems to change ever so quickly. And we can have all kinds of explanations for that phenomenon. He or she got up on the wrong side of the bed....it’s that time of the month....having a bad hair day....having a bad day period....down in the dumps, preoccupied, overwhelmed, too many pans in the fire. Or we might be less compassionate and conclude that people in general are just assholes. In either case, we learn to protect ourself, we learn not to wear our emotions on our shirt sleeve. We learn to keep our heart guarded with emotional armor. Isn’t it interesting the difference between amor and armor? One little letter!
The other piece we often miss or just are not aware of is that many of the feelings we experience on a minute-to-minute basis, particularly in relationships, are OLD feelings and have more to do with our emotional history and often almost nothing to do with our current experience or our current experience of the other person. Not sure what we are talking about here? Well, think about the last time we said something like, “She’s/he’s just like my ex....just like my Dad...just like my old boss.... Sometimes those folks are not anything at all like our ex, our Dad, or our old boss, but it feels like they are. Those are OLD feelings getting triggered. Or if those folks are just like our ex, our Dad, or our old boss, then we want to ask ourself why we keep picking those kind of people! Laugh! Or Cry!
So what’s going on here? Well, this is what we want to explore and get a good grasp of so when we feel what we name “love,” we can know for sure if that is, in fact, what we are experiencing and know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this feeling is coming from inside of us. And perhaps, more importantly we want to grow to a place where we can literally choose to love another person whether we feel like it or not, and we can choose to be loved by another person whether we feel like it or not because ultimately we are lovable and so is he or she. Wow! What a concept!
So we will stop here for the moment and pick up this exploration in the following blog. Don’t want to wear out our brains, our interest and curiosity by going on and on and on here! There is much more to explore.
Thank you so much for reading and leaving your comments, Be sure to talk about your thoughts and feelings about this post with your special someone.
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If you have a question about relationships, please leave the question in the comment section, and I will answer the question here on this blog. Or you can email me a question at email@example.com.
|Our feelings are our very own fireworks and they're on the INSIDE!