Overcoming Navel-Gazaphobia (the Irrational Fear of Feelings)

September 25, 2014 8:34 PM

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Overcoming Navel-Gazaphobia (the Irrational Fear of Feelings)

I recently attended a panel discussion on the topic of happiness. Early on in the dialogue, one of the panelists addressed what he considered the mistaken way that most people think about happiness, namely, as a state that is free from pain and difficulty. He explained that we need to view happiness as a state in which all feelings are present and welcome, not just positive emotions. He went on to say that it is important to be able to sit with our feelings and feel what is actually happening inside us, even if it is hard stuff. While not new or revelatory, this is a profoundly true and important teaching, and one that I have also spent a lot of time writing about. What was revelatory however, was the follow-up question from the American journalist/moderator.

Upon hearing his suggestion that we "sit" with our real feelings, the journalist immediately jumped in to ask the following: How realistic was it for most people to be able to "just sit around" and feel their feelings? Was this not an issue of class in that the higher socioeconomic classes could spe...

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