Welcome to guest blogger and Connection Messenger Dr. Niamh Clune (see her bio below). It's a fascinating piece that will, I hope, encourage you to reflect on your own “Emotional Fitness” and realize how the balance between thinking and feeling impacts all our relationships. We welcome your comments below.
Time to put on my “Doctor” hat again and invite you to talk about feelings…I want to raise the issue of thinking versus feeling…
Does your partner profess to being logical, rational, reasonable, in control, whilst declaring your outbursts as emotional, illogical, irrational or unbalanced?
You get the picture…
You try to express yourself, explaining something that you feel. You try to explain a subtle event that passed between you that, on the surface, seemed perfectly logical and reasonable to your partner, yet hurt your feelings, made you feel dismissed, patronised, misunderstood, alone, untouched.
The more you try to explain whatever-it-was-that-hurt-you, the more entangled becomes the argument, the more heated the emotional responses, the more you feel exposed, like a thing being observed at the end of a microscope.
If this is how you feel, your partner despises emotion, disrespects the world of feeling and meaning and has made of the intellect a god. In your relationship, thinking and feeling are polarised, and it is possible that both partners in this dance have something to learn. There is a huge divide between you across which, you must build a bridge.
The fact is, according to Jung, the ‘feeling’ function is the other rational function to ‘thinking.’ What Jung meant by ‘function’ is something that should work for us. It helps us relate to, sift, sort, and separate emotion.
The feeling function is an organ of consciousness through which we can say, “I feel,” and then define what it is we are feeling. For example, “I feel anger, I feel hurt, I feel sorrow, sadness, joy, loss, despair, jealous, depressed, lonely, happy, included, excluded, love…” “I” is consciousness, the part of you that maintains objectivity, yet is enabled to enter the feeling domain to experience the emotion, remain aware of it, remain separate from it, whilst also, well…feeling it.
Through the feeling function, we are enabled to develop a relationship to our emotions rather than being swept away by them, or losing consciousness because of them. A person with a well-developed feeling function is able to enter into the wider field of indwelling, resonance, presence, empathy, unity, and being. Without these qualities that deepen our humanity, the world is reduced, our experience of it limited.
Learning how to relate to our emotions is essential. I call this developing Emotional Fitness. Wouldn’t we like to teach emotional fitness skills to our children? Some of us are more emotionally fit than others. It falls to us to pass on those skills to those who might be so out of touch with their emotions, that for them, relating to emotion means to enter an alien world which is frightening, overwhelming and impotent-making. In those predominantly “thinking types,” emotional responses such as fear, feelings of impotence, or frustration are usually completely unconscious and undifferentiated, and instead of being felt consciously, are usually converted into rage…the most irrational of all responses.
“Emotional Fitness”is a pending trade mark.
Photo credits: “Mask” photos by Felix Atsoram, Argentina via StockXChng
Dr. Niamh Clune is the author of the Skyla McFee series: Orange Petals in a Storm, and Exaltation of a Rose, which is soon to be released. She is also the author of The Coming of the Feminine Christ. As founder and CEO of Plum Tree Books, Niamh recently produced an anthology of happy and sad stories from childhood: Every Child is Entitled to Innocence. The proceeds of this book go to Child Helpline International. This was followed by a second anthology of poetry, Song Of Sahel, to raise funds for the plight of those in Sahel. During her career as a psychotherapist, Niamh worked in Africa for Oxfam and UNICEF. She is an award-winning social entrepreneur, environmental campaigner, poet, author and singer/songwriter.
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