It’s Monday. I’m having coffee with a close friend. We catch up and start talking life. As we’re talking my friend poses the question, “If you had kids what would you want them to know about feelings?” The question sparks a nice discussion. Here’s some of my thoughts and ideas from our conversation.

The number one thing I want the next generation to know is that they are loved. This is so important. Love may not solve all problems. But knowing you’re loved can take you a long way and help sustain you through many challenges.

When I say know you are loved. I’m speaking of knowing in your heart. A knowing that’s bankable. It’s solid. There’s no doubt. You’re sure you are loved, as sure as the sun rises in the east…you are sure. You know you’re loved ‘cause you feel it. You feel it because you know it. Feeling and knowing are one in the same. Knowing you are loved is a solid place. A place you can build upon.

If this knowing you are loved isn’t your core being, I encourage you to explore ways to embody this. Look inside to see what maybe blocking you. This exploration may feel tragic or painful. But you’re worth it. Focus less on blame and more on gain. Gaining the knowing you are loved will serve you far more than placing blame ever will.

No need to fear your feelings

Feelings are the language of your heart. They tell you how you are perceiving your situation at the moment. Feelings are your reaction/assessment of the situation. Listen to them.

Don’t be afraid of feelings, there’s really nothing to fear. You may not like the emotions you feel, but  allowing yourself to experience them will open your heart and mind to truly living life to its fullest. When you fear what you feel, you give your power away. Instead of feeling a flow of emotions as they arise, fear and anxiety become the dominant feelings. You feel fear by default, due to being scared to feel other feelings. Experiencing how you feel is nothing to fear.

With that said, understand that just because you feel a certain way doesn’t necessarily make it so. For example, you’re in Las Vegas and get a feeling on the next number while playing roulette. That feeling does not make it so. Your feeling doesn’t necessarily dictate how “it” is.

Imagine your feelings are hurt completely by accident or without any intention. The feeling of hurt is yours. The action that caused your hurt is your reaction or interpretation. With awareness and experience you’ll learn to listen to your gut.

Do your best to allow yourself to feel. Allow yourself to interpret, assess and react. Feelings color the experience of your life. The more you feel them the more colorful your life will be. The more you avoid, shut down or repress how you feel. The less color you’ll experience.

Feelings don’t last forever

Feelings are not a permanent state of being. You don’t stay in a feeling for the rest of your life. You won’t stay happy forever. You won’t stay sad forever. The point is to allow the feelings to flow. Enjoy them when they’re good. You’ll be okay, when they’re bad. Both good and bad have their role to play.

Learn and grow from all your feelings. While time may seem to pass slower with bad feelings. Bad feelings help you identify and clarify your values. For example, if you feel sad, what did you lose? What about that loss was important? Learn what is important to you. Looking at bad feelings from this angle they become a way to understand yourself better. Take advantage of them

Feelings are the language of humanity

Feelings are the universal language spoken around the world. A smile is a sign of happiness on every continent. Feelings are how people relate to each other. When you see someone happy, you can relate. When you see someone in anguish you can relate. Through your feelings you relate and have compassion for people you don’t know. Feelings help bring people together. Feelings are a way for people to get to know each other. How you feel and how others feel is important. Your feelings matter, as do the feelings of other people. All of these feelings are worth consideration. Feelings aren’t always the most important factor when making a decision, but they’re worth considering.

Share feelings to create closeness

When you want to develop a closer relationship, it’s important to share how you feel. Sharing how you feel helps the other person understand you. How you feel can be a point of connection. How you feel can create an opportunity for the other person to share how they feel as well. Sharing how you feel doesn’t always mean how you feel in relation to the other person. Sharing how you feel can also mean what excites you. What you find heart breaking. What you’re passionate about. What pisses you off. Sharing how you feel opens yourself to others and allows the person to know you better. While it’s important to share how you feel with people you want to be close to. It’s important to make an effort to understand how they feel, too. Listening, relating, and understanding how the other person feels is part of the feelings exchange in creating closeness.

I want you, and the next generation, to know that they’re loved. Allow yourself to feel. Feel all of your feelings. If you are a parent encourage your child to feel their feelings, to share their feelings, and to be unafraid of what they feel. Words of wisdom are great but when words are combined with modeling, those words become even more powerful. Color your life with all the colors in the box. You are loved.