Are feelings real?

Are feelings real? Are we feeling reality? Feelings are a fundamental part of our human experience as they guide our actions, shape our relationships, and influence our perceptions of the world. Yet, understanding the relationship between feelings can be complex. Are feelings reality? Or are they merely subjective experiences, distinct from the objective world?

Read on to learn more about the nature of feelings, their role in our lives, and their relationship with reality. Since we are talking about feelings, we will also discuss the potential dangers of repressing feelings and the importance of acknowledging them. We’ll also explore the idea of balancing following feelings and logical thinking, from the perspective of a couples therapist.

Understanding Feelings and Emotions

Feelings are personal and subjective experiences, and they are tied to our perceptions and interpretations of events. Emotions, on the other hand, are physiological responses, and they are universal and shared across all humans.

For example, fear is an emotion. It’s a response to a perceived threat. The feeling of being scared, however, is personal. It depends on how an individual interprets the emotion of fear. Understanding this distinction is crucial; it helps us navigate our emotional landscape more effectively. In essence, feelings are real. They are valid experiences, but they are not always an accurate reflection of reality because they are influenced by our personal biases, past experiences, and current state of mind.

Feelings vs. Reality: Navigating the Misconceptions

Feelings are not always a mirror of reality. They are subjective interpretations of our emotional responses. For example, feeling unloved does not necessarily mean you are unloved. It could be a reflection of your insecurities or past experiences. This is not to say that feelings are not real. They are very real to the person experiencing them. They can have a profound impact on our mental and physical well-being.

However, it’s important to remember that feelings are not facts. They are not always an accurate reflection of what’s happening around us. Understanding this can help us respond to our feelings in a healthier way, as it allows us to validate our feelings without being controlled by them.

The Impact of Repressing Feelings

Repressing feelings can have serious psychological consequences. It’s like trying to hold a beach ball underwater; it takes a lot of energy and eventually, it pops back up.

When we ignore or suppress our feelings, they don’t just disappear. They can manifest in other ways, such as physical symptoms or unhealthy behaviors. Moreover, repressed feelings can lead to a disconnection from ourselves, for we may struggle to understand what we truly want or need. As a couples therapist, I’ve seen how this disconnection can impact our relationships–if we can’t understand what we need, communicating it can be especially difficult! In the long run, acknowledging and expressing our feelings in a healthy way is crucial for our mental well-being. 

The Importance of Validating Feelings

Validating feelings means acknowledging their existence. It’s not about agreeing or disagreeing with them, but about recognizing that they are real and valid for the person experiencing them. This validation is crucial for emotional health. It helps us to understand and accept our emotional experiences, and fosters self-compassion and self-awareness. Ignoring or invalidating feelings can lead to emotional distress, and can hinder our ability to cope with life’s challenges.

In short, validating feelings is a key step towards emotional intelligence and mental well-being.

Feelings in Decision-Making: Emotional Intelligence

Feelings play a significant role in our decision-making processes. They can guide us towards choices that align with our values and needs. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage these feelings. It involves recognizing our own emotions and those of others. It also includes using this information to guide our thoughts and actions. In decision-making, emotional intelligence can help us to consider the emotional implications of our choices. It can also help us to navigate the emotional responses of others. Emotional intelligence is actually a crucial skill for making informed and empathetic decisions.

Logical Thinking vs. Feeling: Striking a Balance

In our daily lives, we often find ourselves torn between logical thinking and feelings. This is a common struggle that many of us face. Logical thinking involves reasoning and analysis, and it is based on facts and evidence. On the other hand, feelings are subjective and personal, and they are based on our emotions and experiences.

Striking a balance between these two can be challenging. However, it is essential for making sound decisions. By acknowledging our feelings and using logical thinking, we can usually navigate our lives more effectively.

The Role of Feelings in Mental Health and Relationships

Feelings play a crucial role in our mental health. They are a reflection of our inner state and can indicate our mental well-being. In relationships, feelings are equally important. They help us connect with others on a deeper level as they allow us to empathize and understand the experiences of others. 

Ignoring or repressing feelings can lead to mental health issues. It can also create barriers in relationships. Therefore, understanding and expressing our feelings is key to maintaining good mental health and strong relationships. As a therapist, I work with couples to work through this in order to help them feel more connected.

Managing overwhelming feelings can be a challenge. However, there are strategies that can help. One effective method is mindfulness. This practice involves focusing on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. It can help us distinguish between feelings and reality. Another strategy is to express feelings through creative outlets. Art, music, or writing can be therapeutic ways to release pent-up emotions. 

Feelings can serve us, because they can provide valuable insights into our needs, desires, and values. However, it’s important to remember that feelings are not facts. They are subjective and can be influenced by various factors. Therefore, they should not be the sole basis for decision-making. We should balance our feelings with logical thinking both in our own lives and in our relationships. Seeking professional help can be beneficial in finding ways to best strike this balance. Therapists and counselors like myself are trained to help individuals and couples navigate complex feelings and emotions.