Feelings, Nothing More than Feelings …

1 Apr

Since you know that Carl Jung was a psychoanalyst, you might well suppose that he dealt with feelings, and you would be correct! Many people say they are sad, or frustrated, or disappointed, as if that particular feeling were all-consuming and would stay with them for the duration. Actually, though, feelings come and go. With my patients I often refer to the “dark green feelings.” These are the feeling colors of wintertime — hurt, guilt, loneliness, sadness, etc. — which will eventually yield to the pastels of spring.
Feelings go hand in hand with thoughts. If you think about someone who has been a victim, the thought experiences you portray in your mind will yield feelings of hurt, shame, sadness but possibly go to outrage! If on the other hand, you think about relaxing on a porch swing on a summer’s day, your thoughts may go to contentment, peace and overall well-being.
In general, we need to realize that we can let go of disturbing feelings and replace them with more supportive, confident feelings. This process will enable us to improve our physical health as well. I will write more about the process in a later blog. Right now I want to return to what Jung called the “opposites” of Feeling versus Thinking.
Jung noted that human beings usually act on either thoughts or feelings, so that either one of these modalities is a motivator for action. The values we hold dear (consciously or unawares) propel us to action.
In the case of Feeling, a person will hold certain RATIONAL but SUBJECTIVE values, which will guide his/her actions. For example, a person might prize courage and act in the workplace against injustice as a whistle blower. Or a person might be motivated by compassion to serve the needy or homeless. Jung emphasized that Feelings are rational motivators to action, but they are subjective to the individual who prizes courage, compassion, honesty or some other value.
The Thinking person prefers to take action or make judgments based on universally held values; that is, RATIONAL and OBJECTIVE values. Such values are widely held by large numbers of people. At the extreme, the values which derive from mathematical equations can be said to be universally true (depending on which type of mathematics one espouses!)
Thinking persons are those who calculate their path using principles which are widely held by a majority of people. They prefer using the logic of the head, the prefrontal cortex, to solve problems. In the economic world, Thinking persons often arrive at their final decision based on the cost of one alternative versus another. Thus in a Thinking world, people become statistics who can easily be “let go” if a business has a downturn.
Feeling persons, on the other hand, utilize as tools whatever they value most (for example, compassion) to make their decisions. In that sense, Feeling persons are more independent in their value systems than those who prefer Thinking. Although holding firm to principles is important to Feeling persons, probably these “heart-based” persons seek above all else Harmony in their lives and in society.

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