You have a right to your feelings

Our feelings, it should go without saying, are always what we really feel, and, while we are feeling them, they are beyond right or wrong. We have to be gentle with our feelings as we consider how to move forward. They send us important messages our monkey minds can’t always perceive through cleverness alone. What we feel is what we feel, and acknowledging that is much healthier than pushing emotions down and pretending we feel some other way.

When you tell someone, particularly a friend or family member, how you feel, you are hoping for understanding. We are sympathetic to people we care about who are aggravated, worried, afraid, in pain, otherwise in need of comfort.

Compare and contrast:

I’m exhausted…”

That’s not hard to understand, you’ve been working your ass off, and working on short sleep, plus you’re worried, and that takes a toll on your energy too. Hopefully you’ll have a long, restful sleep in a few hours.

I’m exhausted…”

How come?

I’m exhausted…”

You shouldn’t be, it’s your own fault, why do you go to sleep so late and wake up so early? You don’t take care of yourself, I don’t know why you do this to yourself. A healthy person knows how important a good night’s sleep is. I always get at least eight hours of sleep, no matter what.

The first two replies are expressions of empathy. The third is not.

So what the fuck is that third response? An inability to empathize? A need to feel superior? A need to have the last, authoritative word? Obliviousness? Moral idiocy? Fuck if I know.

The only thing I can tell you is that when you get this response from somebody a few times, listen to what your roiled guts are telling you – this is fucked up. No matter how nice we pretend to be, it is not right to be treated this way. It is intolerable.

If you dispute somebody’s right to feel the way they feel, you dispute their right to be an autonomous person with as much right to express themselves as you claim for yourself. You can call it love or friendship, but those things both feel much different than whatever the fuck this is.

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