What Are You Feeling?

This is a part two of my series on Mental Health Awareness month. You might be wondering: why are you talking about feelings when it is mental health? Like any good counselor, I aim to discuss the entire human psyche, not just individual pieces.

For some inexplicable reason, perhaps due to too many Hallmark movies where the female protagonist must choose between her “head” – the same bet and her “heart” – the adventurous man. It is really the same script, just change the actors and the locale. You can tell by now that I don’t have a high opinion of those movies.

In helping my readers to be mentally health, I suggest you also check your emotions too. Why? There is a feedback loop between our thoughts and our feelings. The stronger our feelings are, the more they affect our thoughts. The more we think about something, the more likely we will act.

Negative example: road rage. Sunday night, as I was driving home, I saw one car changing lanes at over 90 mph. A second car was chasing it and mirroring its every move. Unless I had stumbled onto the filming for the next Fast and Furious movie or yet another illegal street race, it’s more likely it was yet another case of road rage. Those drivers’ anger must have short-circuited their higher reason since they obviously don’t care if they crash into someone else. They had to get even, whatever the cost.

Positive example: love. The more you have strong feelings about a person, the more you think highly of him or her. You compliment your love; you buy gifts for them, you find ways to share a loving touch, etc. Just read The Five Love Languages. Author Gary Chapman uses the analogy of a fuel tank in a car; you need fuel to make your car go and you need the right love language to make a relationship go.

Thus, mentally healthy people know how to process their emotion. I didn’t say suppress them or give them free reign.

This is what Robert J. Morgan has to say: “Maturity can be described as the ability to keep one’s passions under control. My two year old granddaughter has little control over her emotions. When she becomes happy, she is happy all over, racing through the house like a tornado, laughing, playing, screaming. Other times she is angry top to toe, screaming, crying, and stomping her feet.” (The Red Sea Rules, pg. 59)

Thus, yes, be angry, be sad, be happy; your emotions are real. Just don’t be all over the place. Above all, don’t let emotions be your guide to make critical decisions.

“But you’re an ISTJ on the MBPT! Of course you don’t put high values on emotions.” I heard that before.

I have many friends who are “NF”s in the MBPT and we get along just fine. My friends also have the emotional maturity to process their feelings. Not just on issues of love and dating, but also family crises, financial decisions, housing, careers, and all the other decisions we face on a daily basis. My friends vent, cry, and ask for prayer for God to help but then do their best to come up with a wise course of action.

What are you feeling? What you feel is natural. It’s from within you.

Unfortunately for some, feelings have become the sole arbiter in decision making and evaluating life and circumstance. That is both emotionally and mentally unhealthy.

That’s the choice we all face; fruits and vegetables or donuts and Cheetos. Process your emotions, or let them run wild. Your choice.


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