By Brianna Wiest

“Feeling culture” is a big phenomena right now. In teaching us that our inner selves “just know” things, we become paranoid. We assume that every emotion we experience is true, and needs to be sat with and processed for as long as it is present.

The validity in this is obvious (you can’t ignore your emotional life and expect to feel good) but the major issue is not as apparent, which is why it’s so insidious. The part of the lesson we’re leaving out is discernment. We’re inadvertently instructing people to let their emotional children run free without telling them how to ensure a mental parent is guiding them.

Your emotions are the child, and your mind is the parent. The emotional child over-responds to things it doesn’t understand. It can be selfish, illogical, impulsive and impatient. At the same time, it’s full of wonder, awe, inspiration.

Your mental parent won’t exist, or be able to do it’s job, unless you cultivate and train it to. You’re born with your emotional child – your mental parent is something that matures.

If left to it’s own devices, your mental parent would not be able to tell the difference between your emotional child’s feelings and reality. It would worry about everything. It wouldn’t know to ask questions, to consider alternative possibilities, to imagine different circumstances, and then choose them. It has to be cultivated and instructed, and most of all, exercised.

Without both of these aspects of you working in tandem – the emotional child exploring, feeling, experiencing and the mental parent discerning, deciding and choosing action – you become stuck.

The mental parent needs to be grounded in present reality without closing off to the idea that things could change – be different, or better. It needs to be able to see things for what they are. The emotional child needs to be validated, but not followed without logic, reason and resolve.

The mental parent needs to know when to push the emotional child, and when to ignore it. Ignore your feelings? Yeah. Ignore your feelings. At least some of them, some of the time. It’s up to your mental parent to determine which ones, and how often, and for what reason.

It’s also up to your mental parent to determine a course of action when the emotional child tells it: “this is what I love, this is what I want, this is what makes me feel good.” It’s up to the mental parent to believe, act, work.

Your mental and emotional lives need to be separate but working in tandem. The problem may not be that you’re not attuned enough to your feelings, but that you don’t know how to discern, process and determine which need to be given energy. It may not be passion that you are lacking, but structure.

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