Our Feelings

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

17 June 2021

A feeling is defined as an emotional state or reaction. An emotion is defined as a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. A feeling is a reaction, and an emotion is a natural instinctive state of mind. Both definitions imply that our feelings and our emotions are out of our control. Our feelings and our emotions make us human. No two people will ever have the same emotions or feelings about every circumstance.

Generalize Shmeneralize

We love to generalize people into buckets. We do it instinctually. There are race buckets. Political buckets. Generational buckets. Musical-genre buckets. Social buckets. Economic buckets. And even style buckets. And while it’s nice to think everyone was born in a specific bucket and stays there forever, we also must realize people can change some of the buckets they’re in.

If we sit in one bucket, we naturally tend to agree and understand those in our bucket. If I love country music and someone wants to talk about the meaning behind a popular country song, I’d be excited and happy to do it. It makes me feel good. The same goes with folks in our similar political or race buckets. It’s easy to talk to them. We cheer each other on. We can be sympathetic to each other’s plights. And we can safely speak, knowing we’ll be understood.

But now, let’s look at the folks in the buckets around us. They may make us uncomfortable. If I love country music and people try to talk to me about the meaning behind the latest hip hop song, it might be hard to get on their level. It doesn’t sound like the music I want to listen to. It might make me feel uncomfortable. And the same can be said about political or race buckets.

Human Bucket

There will always be different people around us. We’ve grown up in different environments. We’ve had a different array of relationships throughout our lives. We’re learning on different curves. But we’re all human. We should recognize that we all belong to that bucket.

And while our feelings and emotions will always prompt our initial reactions, those reactions don’t have to be our final responses. We should try to figure out why we have the feelings we do and sit with them for a while.

And while we can remain steadfast in our buckets and deny the experiences of those around us, how do we feel when that’s done to us? Misunderstood and frustrated?

I think that’s a bucket we can agree we don’t like being in.