If you know me, then you know I’m a huge advocate of sharing feelings. It’s an integral part of the human experience and sharing feelings allows for others to understand our life experiences and strengthen our bonds of love and friendship. If you don’t share your feelings then you can expect things to pretty much to stay the same. Expressing feelings is how relationships grow. Not just romantic relationships, but work, family, sibling, children, etc.
Expressing feelings is how relationships grow. Not just romantic relationships, but work, family, sibling, children, etc.
Lately, I have noticed a strange linguistic trend in how people are expressing feelings.
When asked about a certain topic, their response begins with “I feel like”. A neutral example would be asking someone their opinion on the new neighbor that just moved in next door, instead of responding with “I like them”, instead they say “I feel good about them, because they seem like a stable family.”
To clarify, this is how one expresses feelings:
I feel elated.
I feel excited.
I feel hopeful.
The troublesome use of “I feel like” looks like this:
I just don’t feel like that’s right.
I feel like that isn’t a good fit.
I feel like maybe there’s something that would work better.
However, last I checked these aren’t emotions:
Those are assertions, opinions or, perhaps beliefs, but they are certainly not feelings. When asked about a certain topic, those that have fallen victim to this trend begin responses with “I feel like fill in the blank”.
I know it seems harmless, but opinions and beliefs are not facts. They are all the beautiful and diverse ways that different people experience different things. When expressed properly, we are given the opportunity to learn about and understand each other in ways that endear and inspire us. We fear vulnerability and “I feel like” instantly offsets that vulnerability. Unfortunately, without vulnerability we cannot connect. I know a couple, and they are both lovely people, however, they are also both opinionated and lousy at compromise. When they argue, he tends to express his point of view in an opinionated, loud and bullying manner. How his wife responds to this overbearing voice is before she expresses her opinion she says, “I just feel that isn’t right”.
Now what is he to do? She has just shut him down. He can’t argue her feelings, and further, she has offered no options and no solutions. To further stake out her ground she adds, “I have this intuition. You will just have to trust me.”
“I feel like” is employed to dodge uncomfortable confrontation, but at the same time, as exemplified by our couple, it severs any rebuttal or chances for productive discussion. “I feel like” serves to protect our egos and pushes others away. By offering our beliefs and opinions as feelings, we remove the ability for meaningful connection because feelings cannot be proved or disproved. Feelings cannot be “wrong” and if feelings cannot be wrong, whatever we are saying we feel therefore cannot be argued. It cannot be leveled against us. We not only take away others’ ability to respond to us authentically, often unaware, we don’t have to see issues for what they really are. If I don’t use these two words anymore then I have to look deeper and with more honesty as to what the person is saying. You have to be okay with it or you have to say why not. Don’t take the ‘out’, this is a necessary process.
This conversation is apropos particularly in this coming month of Cancer with all the energy this sensitive water sign embodies. This energy asks us to think about the ways in which we communicate today. As we know, New Moons are the beginning of the Hebrew month and their power gives us the opportunity to set the tone for our experience for the entirety of that month. Cancers, like all water signs, are highly emotional and possess a nurturing energy. This is a time of coming together, of family gatherings, and of enjoying community in whatever ways this exists for us; ultimately creating a perfect space for us to look at how we show up, or don’t, in our communication with loved ones.
This is a time of coming together, of family gatherings, and of enjoying community in whatever ways this exists for us; ultimately creating a perfect space for us to look at how we show up, or don’t, in our communication with loved ones.
Cancer is considered one of the “negative” months of the Zodiac. This doesn’t mean that we need to expect tumult or plan for disaster. It can best be described in the kabbalistic belief of direct Light and returning Light. Direct Light is what is offered us in the first three months of the Hebrew calendar, beginning in Aries with Passover, when the Light from our Creator is most available. As we transition from Gemini into Cancer, we are invited to return that Light in the form of our communication, relationships, and our specific gifts.
The antidote to the unintentionally narcissistic way of expression above, is an opportunity for precisely this type of presence. Let’s ask how often we catch ourself saying “I feel like” to “hide” what we truly believe. What comes up for you when you express your beliefs honestly? The answers may vary, but I know that they will all stem from the same place: fear. Fear of being misunderstood, of being wrong, of being judged, of being vulnerable.
The good news is that there is a simple solution and the atmosphere of this month is perfect for this work. As I said before, we are in the first of three months of returning Light which can be viewed as challenging, because it requires us to look within. The belief that Cancer brings with it “negative” aspects really means that it brings us circumstances that invite us inward. That invite us to look at the ways we show up in relationships, how we communicate with our family and community, how we communicate with ourselves. This type of curriculum requires sensitivity and simply begins with inquiring.
In the days leading up to the New Moon, and throughout the month, observe how often you begin statements with “I feel like”. What topic does it surround? How does that topic make you feel vulnerable? Do you express yourself this way with many people or a specific few? These questions are deep and the answers may be difficult, but ultimately they will be the key that unlocks our Light. We are here to give of the Light that the Creator gave to us and there is no better place to begin to give than in our families and communities. This is the invitation of this New Moon.
Thought to Action
In what areas do you protect yourself by not fully connecting to your opinions, beliefs, or thoughts?