“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou (American Poet, b.1928)
During a nice conversation over lunch today with my wife, Pauli, she reminded me of something I think is true but don’t always remember to live by: feelings are never wrong; what I feel is what I feel, what matters is whether I pay attention to those feelings, ignore or—worse(?)—deny them.
What sort of feelings am I talking about?
Today, it is the feeling of dreading a conflict with a loved-one (or two) I feel is inevitable. The feeling that I do not want to hurt someone I love but at the same time I want to acknowledge how I respond around this person; these people.
My feelings aren’t wrong even though they express a conflict; I care for others but must care for myself also. Though whom do I have the power to change? Only me.
When I google-stumbled upon Maya Angelou’s quote I found it on actor/musician Jeff Bridge’s website. Along with it were a collection of others he has decorated one of his pages with. I liked them all but this one stood out for me today too:
“Do not fear mistakes – there are none.” Miles Davis (American jazz musician, 1926-1991).
Like feelings ‘mistakes’ are part of life and I agree with Miles that philosophically speaking there are none. We do what we do; we do our worst and we do our ‘best’ even when our ‘best’ seems sloppy, lazy, thoughtless or cruel to others.
We feel what we feel.
Feelings are never wrong.
But you can learn to change them by understanding where they come from and where you would like to go. ‘Feel Good Land’ sounds like fun. I might visit. Shit, I might move there.
Before I go, I’d like to share one more poignant quote Mr Jeff Bridges has also shared. This pearl of wisdom comes from comedian, Steven Wright:
“OK, so what’s the speed of dark?”
Jokes play with our thinking—they change it.
Feelings can change too.
But they are never wrong.