I can’t help but wonder why people go to so much trouble to apologize for feelings. I see and hear, again and again, people who are dealing with something emotionally who feel they have to say “sorry, I am just ____”. It’s such a bizarre thing to me, even though I am a chronic apologiser and guilty of this very thing myself.
It’s no mystery to me why we feel this way. Little surprises me any more, whether that makes me jaded or simply of a clear mind, I am not sure.
From a young age we program children as a society. We give them, whether conscious or not, cues as to what is and is not acceptable. We tell them what to like and how to behave and even how to feel. We project that girls should act one way, and boys another, and presume that all of life fits neatly into those little packages.
Life is far more complex than that.
One thing that seems to span, no matter what, is the idea of “good” and “bad” feelings and who is allowed to feel them. As they grow older, girls and women and female identifying people in general, are chastised for their more aggressive emotions. We are taught that being angry is unjust and means that people don’t need to listen to us. Our tears, while presumed because of our gender identity, are a weakness and at times merely manipulative tools. When we are sad or angry or frustrated, I see time and again flocks of people ready to tell us “oh, don’t feel that way” or “you shouldn’t be so angry”.
At the same time, boys, men, and male-identifying persons are taught that they are allowed to or are even supposed to react to life with anger and aggressive emotions. It’s not until they show vulnerability or even dein to shed tears that they are ridiculed and considered weak. They are called whingers and whiners.
The thing is, emotions make us who we are. The world around us insists that it doesn’t have to receive or accept anyone who is outside a very narrow definition of normality, and can be hostile to anyone who deviates from that. For people living on various axis of oppression, life can be especially enraging or depressing. It is only natural that we react to that hostility with feelings and emotions. It is part of being human.
Peeps, all of you, never apologize for your feelings (unless you really want to). I so dearly wish that no one out there ever had to say “I am sorry that I am sad and rambling” or “I am sorry but this just pisses me off”. Your feelings, your emotions are not hurting me or anyone else. You have a right to your feelings. You have a right to the way you perceive and view and react to the world around you. No one should shame you for having feelings. We all have them.
What does hurt people is what we do with those feelings. That is the point where we need to gauge ourselves and decide whether our reactions are going to help or hurt. Expressing your feelings, telling someone how you feel and why isn’t a hurtful act. It isn’t harming anyone. If you use those emotions to do harm, that is a different story. Simply putting voice to how you feel, how life has made you in this moment? That isn’t harming me or anyone.
Sometimes the best thing a person can do for themselves is to simply say “I am hurting” or “I am sad” or “I am angry”. Sometimes, just knowing that someone will listen and validate your feelings, or even just let you express them safely is all you need to work through them.
You have a right to your feelings.
Peeps. I am here for you. I care about your feelings. I validate your anger or rage or frustration or grief or helplessness. I have an Ask box and email and if you really need to engage or need help, I am happy to connect via chat. Never ever worry that your feelings are unjustified in my presence. I may not always agree with the reasons, but they are not my feelings to agree with. If you need to express them, I am willing to let you if it means that you can possibly heal. This even includes (I would hope that it especially includes) if I have somehow caused those feelings. Personally, I would rather know if I have harmed someone and try to work it out than to wonder why it is that a person would rather not speak to me any longer. You can’t fix a thing if you don’t know it is broken, and I value my friends enough to hear them out. I don’t hold back expressing mine.
You have a right to your feelings. Always, always know that.
I love you all.
Originally posted on my Tumblr.