February 10, 2013

Feelings have memory but no conscience

At times, although one is perfectly in the right, one's legs tremble. At other times, although one is completely in the wrong, birds sing in one's soul. ~V. V. Rozanov

In many ways, human beings are perverse creatures. Some good behaviors~like apologizing~may give us bad feelings. Likewise some very bad behaviors~like telling someone off~may make us feel very good indeed. That's why we can't allow our feelings to dictate our behavior.

Of course it's important to identify our feelings. Feelings tell us a great many things. A big part of emotional health is coming to understand and respect how we feel. But too often feelings are blind guides to what is right or wrong.

Because feelings are habits, they wind around old behaviors like iron filings around a magnet. Anything we do often enough we will come to feel comfortable doing. The worrier is comfortable worrying; the workaholic, working: and the liar, lying. But no matter how comfortable we feel, it doesn't necessarily follow that these behaviors will lead to a full spiritual life based on positive self-esteem. It's important to know how we feel. But it's even more important to know that our feelings have memory but no conscience.

As I practice healthy behaviors, my feelings will follow along.

H/T: Believing In Myself

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