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  • Fe Robinson

Who's responsible for how you feel?

It’s common to hear people say 'she made me feel...' or 'he leaves me...' when talking about feelings. While it's sometimes a short hand to describe what happens within ourselves in a given situation, it's also a way of giving other people responsibility for the way we feel.

The trouble is, if others were genuinely responsible for our feelings we would be in big trouble. It would mean we were powerless to influence the way we feel, leaving us at the mercy of what others choose to do or not do.

Thankfully this just doesn't make sense. Feelings are messages, from our own bodymind system, calling our attention to something within our own self. They let us know how we, as a multi-faceted, complex organism, are responding to events.

Our feelings states are influenced by physiology, by the way we represent information to ourselves internally (e.g. through our internal imagery, sounds and felt experience), and by the filters we unconsciously apply (for example our values, beliefs, language patterns and preferences).

This is good news. We can influence our feelings by acting on any of these levers. We can use memories to trigger feeling states, we can move, stretch and breathe to change how we feel, and we can develop flexibility in our internal representations and our filters to receive and process information differently.

We may not be able to choose our initial feelings about the things that happen. We can manage our own well-being, and influence the way we feel through our self-care and our responses. The only person who can truly impact how you feel, is you.


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