Having grown up in the south, my mother taught me if you carried your feelings on your shoulders, you had better be careful or someone may come along and knock them off.
This lesson taught my siblings and me early on to be careful how we expressed ourselves to others.
My, how times have changed.
The world today is filled with people who are not only carrying their feelings on their shoulders they are being led by those feelings. Many times, it appears as if everything is contingent on how every decision is going to affect someone’s feelings. So much so, we see people and organizations distancing themselves from any person or rhetoric that is considered insensitive.
Living in a culture where everything is about, “feelings, nothing more than feelings” is exhausting.
I have to be honest, as a 61 year old, this is not only difficult, it is crippling at times as I try and navigate the treacherous waters feelings create. One thing I have learned about dealing with the feelings of another is, regardless of the situation or circumstance, there is nothing I can do about how someone else feels.
You see, your feelings are your responsibility, not mine.
So, how do we carry out our responsibilities as a spouse, parent, coworker, or a supervisor if we are always led by the fear we may hurt someone’s feelings?
Well, I have some news that may bring some relief to this dilemma.
We go ahead and accept the reality we will inevitably hurt someone’s feelings. It may occur when we are required to point out an area where correction is needed, or when we must hold them accountable for a mistake they have made, but it will occur.
Things such as poor performance, lack of ability and being unreliable all result in consequences, which even though justifiable, can lead to anger and hurt feelings.
Does any of this make it easier to see another person’s feelings hurt by what we have had to do or say? Perhaps not, but it should be freeing knowing whatever we did was the right thing to do.
Living our life based on “feelings, nothing more then feelings” is an impossible way to live. But one of the beautiful things about feelings is, sometimes we must care enough to risk hurting someone else’s.
Our feelings are our responsibility and there is so much more to life than feelings!
1 Peter 5:6-8, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”