Why do we put down “feelings”?

People don’t think any more, they feel.  ‘How are you feeling?’  ‘Oh, I don’t feel comfortable.’  ‘Oh, I’m so sorry, we the group were feeling…’

Do you know one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas?  Now thoughts and ideas, that interests me.  Ask me what I’m thinking…

– Margaret Thatcher in the film, The Iron Lady (2011)

Hello everyone,

Once upon a time, in a place not far from here, a group of Darfur, anti-genocide activists went to visit a Congressional aide.  When a member of the group delivered an impassioned plea for intervention and tears came to her eyes as she expressed her heartbreak and anger that innocent children were being bombed by the Sudanese government, contempt for feelings ruled the day, and arrogance reigned supreme as she was told by the aide, “these decisions need to be made by grown-ups”.  A few sentences later, the aide added platitudes, referencing the role of the U.S. government as “we’re doing all we can.”

Having witnessed the above exchange, I couldn’t disagree more with Ms. Thatcher that, “…one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas.”

Why are we so afraid of feelings?  Why so much disrespect and suspicion of them?

I don’t know what happened in Margaret Thatcher’s life that led to such contempt of feelings, but she is not a rarity in her perspective.  Yet, she is targeting the wrong enemy.  Feelings, per se, are not the culprit.

It is a myth that we lose the ability to think rational thoughts, have sound judgment, choose wisely, or are ‘less adult’ when we are emotional.  Feelings are not irrational, immature or mere ‘fluff’.  There would be no warm, empathic relating, or enjoyment of life without them.  Feelings are a necessary companion on the path to knowing who we are and in the pursuit of compassionate wisdom.  They take us beyond the dry and dull to infuse ideas with passion and ‘life’.  Feelings contribute the heart and essential humanness so that we do not fall victim to the cold, calculating, slice-and dice, cut-off automaton influences of a left-brain-only, logical, linear thought process.

Where we get into trouble is when we are not in a well-regulated state, or lack sufficient groundedness in our body.  Then we are at risk to be unable to contain our emotional states.  Feelings can become overwhelming, hi-jack our senses, and unplug the rational.  Chronic stress, and unresolved traumatic experiences only make it worse.

We live in a society that over-values the head at the expense of the heart.  We pay too high a price if we just go along with that.  To counter-balance this, able to feel our feelings and keep our heart open, we’ve got to be able to stay in tune with the body’s sensations.  But how?

That is what we will be working on in our upcoming body group series – Sometimes ‘a head’ just isn’t enough: Bringing the body back to life.  All details are below and on our website.  I hope you will join us.

Warmly and with feeling,

Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

.* * *

Sometimes ‘a head’ just isn’t enough

Bringing the body back to life

Sometimes ‘a head’ just isn't enough

Why is there so much resistance to feeling our feelings?

Why do we have such a love/hate relationship with our bodies?
Why do we obsess about how we look rather than how we feel?
Why is it so hard to slow down?
Why don’t we stop to feel our tiredness?
Why do we pursue success and accomplishment at the expense of relationships?

Living Ubuntu Body Group
February – May 2013
6 sessions on Sunday afternoons (2p-4:30p)

Orange County, CA

Starts Sunday, Feb 24th
see all dates »

Find out more at

Questions?  Please contact us at (949) 891-2005 or info@livingubuntu.org



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