The Importance of Feeling

Psychotherapist Kellum Lewis explains the importance of feeling our emotions

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 | 9:37 pm

I’m constantly amazed when I hear someone say they have “no feeling” about such-and-such or downplay their in-the-moment experience as “just a feeling.” Some people talk about “removing” feeling from important decisions and being “completely objective.”

These people don’t realize that every decision we make, every interaction we engage in, every experience we have day in and day out heavily involves our feelings! Even when we make decisions based on facts, we still have feelings about those facts!

A lot of people will say their main goal in life is to be happy. This seems logical; who would say their goal in life is to be miserable? However, the drive to be happy can obscure and cause us to neglect many important other feelings and shades of feelings, which, if appreciated and given adequate attention, can produce a richer, more colorful and more satisfying experience than we have when we prop up one feeling to the neglect of others.

As previously split-off feelings become better integrated into the personality, the subjective effect could be like going from watching a silent movie to watching a movie in 3D-IMAX — or more.

Some people wallow in their feelings, of course, especially the “bad” ones. These folks seem addicted to their misery. This can happen when our early environment directs or demands we make specific choices in order to get the support we need to survive as infants.

Even then, before consciousness has a chance to grab hold and become self-reflective, our instinct leads us to mirror our caregivers, the logic being to “do as the Romans when in Rome.” In other words, some part of “knows,” even as a tiny baby, that another human will respond positively to being mirrored because, as humans, we like being seen! Recent studies at UCLA describe the function of “mirror neurons,” brain cells which when stimulated by positive attention, aid in the development of empathy. I suggest that people who disparage their feelings have not received the kind of interested attention as children that would support them in developing a sense of empathy for themselves or others.

Two of the skills I practice in my work are empathetic listening and humane, non-judgmental regard, the effect of which is growth of the personality.

One of my goals is to assist people in relating better to their feelings, which not only helps them in their relationships with others but also can produce a more grounded and secure feeling inside.

With a better-grounded sense of confidence, new energy is released to accomplish greater goals. If you’d like to discuss how working with me could help you achieve a better sense of inner security, develop a greater ability to relate to other people in your life or better focus on your needs, please give me a call for a free 30 minute chat at 323-860-8782, email me at kellum@kellumlewis.com or visit my website at www.kellumlewis.com.

Whether or not we ever meet, I hope you’ll consider the possibility that your feelings matter and that they deserve your interested, curious and non-judgmental attention.

Kellum Lewis is located at 95 N Marengo Ave. Suite 205, Pasadena. For more information, call (323) 860-8782 or visit www.kellumlewis.com.

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