A couple of weeks ago I was told I didn’t feel things deeply. (Wow, didn’t see that one coming.) It came from someone who promotes being self-actualized to the public and because of who it was, I was unprepared, it struck a chord with me.
Initially hurt, I realized that this person thought they knew me. They certainly don’t. It said more about them I think than me. I remember thinking at the time, “Just because I do not express my emotions like you, doesn’t mean I don’t have them.” It’s not a competition is it? They’re working on the assumption that if I acted the way they did and wanted to see, then my feelings would then somehow be real. But it would not be authentic for me. I’d be acting or I guess “over-acting”.
It’s kind of a horrible thing to say to someone, “You’re unfeeling.” Ouch.
I am not a drama queen, an over-the-top expressive and not a fan of gossip. I don’t blurt out – well most of the time anyway, whatever thought and feeling I’m having in the moment. Feedback I’ve received is that from outward appearances I’m not riled easily. I love deep meaningful conversation.
And yes, I do feel things deeply. I also express my feelings, in private and through different ways. Because I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve, it doesn’t mean I don’t have one. My outward expression of emotion does not equate to how deeply I feel.
I know I am not alone as there’s lots of us out there. There is a difference between having emotions and being emotional. Just because I do not express myself the same way you do, doesn’t not mean I’m not feeling something.
It niggled at me though.
Was I making similar judgments towards others?
I had to fess up that I had and this whole conversation brought elevated awareness and compassion for how others choose to/or not to express how they feel.
It is natural to feel connected to those who are like us. If we’re brought up with the perception that more expression = more feeling, then I totally get the perception that less expression must mean (to them) less feeling. Then again that’s a belief. Not necessarily the truth.
So all-in-all, the challenge of being unfeeling evoked an insightful exercise, with greater awareness and reminder that people feel. Deeply. How they express, when they express and to whom they express is unique.