Love, generosity, happiness. Hatred, greed, envy.
Gratitude, joy, satisfaction. Anger, suspicion, jealousy.
Or any other combination.
There are a lot of feelings available to pick from, and there might be some differences in what I deem good and bad, and what you judge good or bad. But generally, I think we have a fairly similar take on it. Only thing is, there’s no such thing as a good or bad feeling. It’s the story we tell ourselves about those feelings that make them appear positive or negative. Feelings just are. Neutral. It’s the action we take based on them, that makes us judge them as good or bad, positive or negative.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling hate, jealousy or envy. Just as there’s nothing wrong with feeling happy, generous or satisfied.
What makes us judge feelings as good or bad, positive or negative, is what actions they (might, could, often do) give rise to. If I feel happy, I might laugh, give you a hug, dance around in my living room. Whatever. To a large part, actions that serve me.
If I feel hate, what actions will I take that will serve me? What if I lash out at you, screaming I hate you, or I write a vitriolic comment on a Facebook post, letting all my hatred flow out through my finger tips, onto the social media platform. How does this serve me? What serves me, out of these actions? Do they serve me at all?
Sometimes, actions taken from hatred, will serve. Sometimes actions taken from love, won’t. I can’t say with certainty that all action I take from love will serve me. Just as I can’t say that any action taken from hatred won’t. The deciding factor lie in the moment and the chosen action.
Being conscious to what you feel, in the moment, and actively choosing your action, makes a much better basis for life, than painting the world in black and white, saying feelings are either good or bad. Because they aren’t. They are neutral. Once I grasped this, I started to become aware of the stories I’d told myself around certain feelings. And as my awareness rose, I could start to let myself feel what I felt, without beating myself up over it.
First published on my blog on February 7th, 2016: https://helenaroth.com/doing-gentle-4-understand-that-feelings-are-neutral/
Søren Lassen Andreasen – audio production
Olof Jennfors – soundtrack
Anders Roos – photography