I’ve set an intention (as I typically do) to write more frequently. While I see the upcoming new year as a start, I thought that it would be good to try to get a head start on creating the habit. Over the years, I’ve done a lot of reading and research on religious trauma which translated in to presenting at several conferences, writing an article, and creating a mini-course. Religion is one of those things that can bring value and meaning to life. It influences the way that people see themselves and see the world. However, it can also be used as a weapon and inflict emotional wounds that are difficult to move past from. I think that there’s a need for more conversations around how to successfully navigate and integrate the values from that you were taught with the knowledge gained through experiences. Oftentimes, those two things aren’t congruent and are perceived as clashing; but in reality, our past experiences shape who we become in one way or another.
I saw the picture below recently and I have to say how accurate it is with the recent events of all the protests and the focus on police brutality. Many organizations and companies have pledged to financial support various initiatives related to supporting Black people but I can’t help but wonder how many dollars will actually impact them directly instead of being eaten up in “administrative costs.” Showing solidarity and support is suddenly the cool thing to do and while it’s nice I wonder if there will be any lasting and impactful change made. Honestly, I doubt it.
Emotional needs are something that many people ignore. The five love languages can be ways that we have our emotional needs met. There’s a concept that Gary Chapman refers to as a love tank. The idea is that we function better when our emotional needs are bring met and our love tanks are full. Chapman asserts that one of the main problems in relationships is that couples don’t do the necessary things to ensure that their partner’s love tank is full. That being said, many people live in the negative in this context. This means that they exist by living off bare minimums emotionally. So their love tank is never full. Instead it’s just a little above empty and stays that way. The almost empty tank becomes their baseline because they’ve had to adjust multiple times. They are literally living in the negative because the amount of emotional needs being met is incongruent with the amount of emotional needs that exist. And this is one of the reasons people can be in relationships and friendships without ever shaking the alone feeling.
One thing that I’ve noticed recently is how many of my fellow Twitter peeps (and myself included) have been all up in our feelings. Now this could definitely be either a good or bad thing. I think a lot of it is situational in nature and is largely dependent on some unexpected stressor that has crossed our path. Or, in my case, it just comes from the wonderful but also very uncomfortable mix of being emotional, analytical, logical, and a hopeless romantic all blended together. There’s nothing wrong with having feelings but one thing that I’ve realized is that we can’t allow them to rule our lives. While life is no fun being predictable and dry, there’s a need for balance between being realistic and emotional. Let’s face it, emotions aren’t always logical. Just because you “feel” a certain way does not mean that it’s realistic or even makes sense. Feelings can change as easily as the direction of the wind and while they may seem trustworthy, usually they’re not. At some point, good old common sense and responsibility have to trump how you feel. I read somewhere this week that one sign of a well disciplined person is that they wake up in the morning and just like they decide what clothes to wear, they decide how to feel during the day. That way, they can remind themselves if they ever deviate away from the decided on feeling and can change their thinking to come back into alignment with the day’s goal. While I can see the logic in doing that, I’m don’t know if I could ever do that. What’s life if you don’t feel various emotions through the day? We need some daily reminder that we’re human and having feelings definitely provides that much needed dose of reality.