Your feelings matter too. I remember the day a friend uttered these words to me. It was a liberating moment as honestly, before then I had not considered it important at all. Your feelings matter too. YOUR feelings matter too. It was a moment where I realised that I had some issues to confront because, before this, I genuinely did not think my feelings mattered much at all.
Let us set one thing straight. I do not believe that feelings are not a mantra to live life by. What are feelings? Feelings, in my opinion, are often a response to a happening or situation and therefore, feelings can change at any given moment. However, I do not believe that feelings should be ignored either, they can sometimes point to something deeper that we need to address. If you feel sad because of hearing some bad news – that is a normal, human response to a situation. However, if that sadness becomes prolonged and persistent, it is something that should be addressed. Basically, we should not ignore our feelings, but we also should not be dictated by them to the point that what we do is dependant on how we are feeling in any given moment.
Generally, growing up I was someone who NEVER spoke about my feelings. I always would portray an image of being “fine” no matter what was going on within me. As a result of this, people around me also thought I was fine and had it all together. That then made it even more difficult to even try to speak about some of the sad and dark feelings I was having when I began struggling with depression. This then meant I was alone with these thoughts and feelings, giving them room to grow and become worse. It was only when I was so deep in that I cried for help. This could have all been avoided had I just spoken about what was going on. Hence, “your feelings matter too”.
My feelings mattered but I did not think they did, and I have had to ask myself the question – why did I feel that I did not matter? What was really at the root of those thoughts. I know now that those thoughts were rooted in a fear of rejection. I did not want to be open about what I was feeling because I did not want anyone to see the real me because well, what if they did not like the person I was? What if some of the feelings I was experiencing were too much for them and it chased them away? Who genuinely wants to be around someone who is sad all the time?
The truth is, I have had to learn and understand that how I feel matters too. I cannot hide behind a mask because of a fear of being rejected. Instead, I must confront that fear and speak up. Those who care, will be there. That is something that you must know deep down inside of you. And you must know that there are those who care, there are those who want to see you whole and to see you succeed.
If we go through the Bible, there are many “one another” commands – love one another, live at peace with one another, pray for one another. The concept of “one another” is important to God and, therefore, it should also be important to you. One verse that always reminds me to embrace the concept of community is James 5:16 in the AMPC.
“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].”
To confess, according to Cambridge dictionary, means to admit that you have done something wrong, or to admit unwillingly that something is true. This definition tells me that confession is not always an easy thing, confession makes you vulnerable – you are being honest and exposing truths about yourself or a thing which you may not willingly want to admit. However, as you read in the latter part of the scripture, the result is worth it.
Confession is something that involves communication – speaking and listening – and it involves “one another”. Simply, you must have another person with whom you are confessing to. I don’t believe this to be anyone and everyone you meet but you must get to a point in life where you have one or two trusted people with whom you can be vulnerable and open about things. What exactly are you to confess? Your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins). This could include any number of things from lying, to giving in to fear, to envy. Essentially, anything that is contrary to God’s word and His way.
But it is important not to stop here at confession, what we do when we either confess or receive another’s confession is of great importance. We are commanded to PRAY for one another. There is no use being on the receiving end of someone’s confession if you then do not pray for them because, without the prayer – according to this scripture, the healing and restoration do not take place. More so, through confession and prayer, you find strength in others, you find encouragement and the power that comes through prayer.
So, when my friend told me “your feelings matter to”, essentially, they were telling me – and I am telling you – do not hide behind a mask, be open and honest. EMBRACE community, let yourself be vulnerable and ask for help when you need it. Help others and be there for others but do not then suppress what you are going through. Remember, to be there for others, you need to be the best version of yourself.