I'm not sure where that saying originated, but what I do know is that it makes me think about how we as humans train ourselves to perceive things in interesting ways.
Have you ever been told to view the glass as half full, instead of half empty. Or smiling takes less muscles than frowning. Or don't be so sensitive and you won't get hurt.
As we go through life, we experience different events. Some events are positive, like the birth of a child. Others are negative, like the death of a loved one. Some create joy, like the feeling of love. Others create sadness of not being loved. At times we get angry, and other times we are content. Each one of these emotional reactions originate within our spirit. How we process them is a result of our current and past experiences. That's how we are designed as a species. Homo sapiens, thankfully, came with emotions built in. Those built-in varying, and sometimes volatile emotions, are one of the key traits that have kept us from going extinct.
Often though, we are told we shouldn't feel a certain way. Don't cry because men are supposed to be tough. Don't get angry because it isn't nice. Don't show love because you will just get hurt. Or, don't get too excited, something is bound to go wrong. Don't smell the roses because you will end up pricking the end of your nose if you get too close.
The other thing that happens often, especially through social media, is the endless posts of positive comments and sayings. Each one telling you that you should feel a certain way. With no reasoning, justification or process of feeling the way they say you should. Just feel that way because they say so.
The merry go round of emotions begin when you are told to feel a certain way, and you just don't feel that emotion. Why are you feeling a certain emotion when everything and everyone is telling you that you shouldn't feel that way? That merry go round is very unfair. If you stay on that merry go round long enough, your life turns into a circus. You begin to disbelieve yourself because you are continually confronted by all these other people, and sayings, telling you that you shouldn't feel the way you feel. You loose faith in yourself. You begin to think you are lying to yourself and all these other people and sayings are the truth. The circus grows.
Your feelings are your feelings. They don't belong to someone else. They belong to you. You own them. You are responsible for believing them. You are responsible for controlling them. It's your duty to deal with them in an honest way.
If your feelings are your feelings, and not someone else's, then they become the truth. They are what they are because they are what they are. We are supposed to feel certain ways at certain times. We are going to feel hurt when something hurtful comes our way. We will be happy when something good comes our way. And we may feel anger when something doesn't align with our beliefs or our values. Feelings are a part of life. They are one of the things that separate us from all other creatures on this planet. They are what makes us human, and if managed properly they keep us humane.
The problem isn't that we have feelings. No one should tell you how to feel and how long to feel that way. We each need to shamelessly accept the way we feel.
A problem can arise when we remain in that state of feeling for too long. Especially if those emotions limit our growth. When we carry the baggage of growth-limiting emotions, and we aren't able to let go of the heavy burden, we will eventually die spiritually, and maybe even physically, within that baggage.
The most challenging step for us is recognizing when we are holding onto that baggage for too long. Awareness is the key, but it is a key that is often lost, just like our car keys. Awareness gets set aside, and all we can do is frantically dwell on the emotion that is keeping us locked out of moving along with our life. Restricting and limiting our growth.
The awareness key unlocks your ability to be aware of your emotional state. It allows you to honor your emotions. By honoring your emotions, you allow yourself to feel the way you feel. You give yourself permission to feel the way you feel. You are able to justify your emotions, even though others aren't honoring them by discouraging you from feeling the way you feel.
Honoring your emotions is the key to moving on. It's being honest to yourself. To progress through a deep emotional state requires honesty in how you feel. It also requires honesty to the reason why you feel the way you do. This honesty allows you to move on to the next step. It allows you to progress through the emotion and not live within it. Honesty to yourself allows you to have truthful, unsuppressed emotions that are healthy. Honesty will also keep those emotions from spiraling out of control, keeping you in control and keeping your life from becoming a circus.
As that awareness is unlocked, and is set free to be what it is, you will be able to find gratitude in what you experienced. Acknowledgement and recognition of things that you are grateful for is another key on the key chain that will help you move on, to find balance.
Sometimes, setting yourself free from this emotional circus requires help. Especially if the emotions are extreme. Getting unstuck on your own is difficult. Spinning your tires just digs you deeper. Connecting with a Life Coach is like calling a tow truck driver when you're stuck in the snow bank. All you have to do is say 'I'm stuck and I can't get out'!
After my Dad was killed in an accident, a close friend and mentor told me that allot of people will tell me they know how I feel. He said that only you will know how you feel, only you know the true meaning of your feelings, don't let others tell you how to feel. That was twenty three years ago, and it's advice that I reflect on often.