Nobody Is Entitled To Tell Us How We Should Feel About Anything
We are the sole owners of our feelings. Nobody else is entitled to a claim on them. This is — or should be — self-evident, but it doesn’t appear to be for many people we may come across in life: from parents, friends or partners who might tell us how we should feel to religions, ideologies and leaders that seem inclined to do the same. Nobody can possess our emotions, not the most pervasive tyrant or the most charismatic cult leader. They might have an impossible influence, be in control of them, but they cannot own them. We might let them in, and allow them to dominate us, but the realm will still be ours when we wake up — if we wake up.
This is important to remember when so many seem inclined to influence our emotional state. Sometimes, this might come from a lack of empathy. It is hard to accept someone might be free to feel how they feel when we can’t detect it. However, some disregard other people’s feelings, convinced that only theirs matters, for it is the only one they can control. I believe these are known as sociopaths, and there might be more around us than we would like to admit.
On the other hand, another approach might be more insidious because it originates from a place of goodwill. Some seem to think their academic perspective gives them the right to lecture us on how we should feel about what has happened. In the face of disaster or grief, reasons are irrelevant. Academics are experts in the realm of rationality and should not meddle with matters of the heart. If we feel happy or sad about something, we are allowed to feel that way. We shouldn’t feel guilty or out of place. Nobody has a right to judge our feelings, only our actions.
The reality is that it doesn’t matter why we feel something, only that we do.
Written while listening to: ‘Orchestral Tape Studies’ by zakè. (Again.)
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