Feelings are our individual internal reactions to people, events and situations. We become aware of feelings through a type of body sensation, often experienced in the abdomen. Examples of feelings which we have all experienced are: fear, anger, contentment, disappointment, uneasiness, exhilaration, joy…
Feelings may be defined as the fulfilment or frustration of our individual needs through our interaction with ourselves, others, and our environment. They are our relation to the “here and now”. It is through our feelings that we participate with others, and with our environment.
Feelings are individual. What is frightening for one person, may be exhilarating for another. Because feelings are individual, they can not be “wrong”. It is by acknowledging, owning and processing feelings that we learn about ourselves. This is the key to personal development.
Feelings do not need to be discovered through any magical process. They only need to be noticed and acknowledged. Holistic learning programs, and personal development programs, explore our feelings to help us understand our reactions to new ideas, to others, and to our experiences.
Sometimes new experiences, people, situations, or the unknown cause anxiety. As humans we prefer to think and feel well of ourselves so it is often easier to hide, project, or refuse to acknowledge, feelings. Some unprocessed feelings are connected with repressed distressed from the past, the personal hurt, particularly in childhood, that has been buried and denied so that we can survive emotionally. It is easier to project (pass the blame) these unwanted feelings, than to acknowledge them. Much of psychotherapy is about raising consciousness about suppressed feelings.
Holistic learning, and personal development, programs are not about psychotherapy. Rather these programs are about creating understanding. Understanding of ourselves, our reactions to others, and our reaction to our environment. These programs are about creating awareness, a necessary condition of trained professionals.
It is only by admitting feelings that we grow personally. A group develops through shared feelings. It is through shared feeling that we are able to empathise with others. That is, use our feelings to understand others.
In short, it is through feelings that we understand ourselves, and we participate with others and our environment. To be emotionally healthy, it is necessary for us to acknowledge and process feelings. Personal learning is often enhanced by acknowledging and processing of feelings in group situations. It is by sharing feelings that we understand each other and are able to effectively work together.