I can't make you feel anythingOct 09, 2023
The statement "I can't make you feel anything" is a phrase sometimes used as a way to invalidate someone's feelings, and absolve oneself of responsibility for a negative interaction.
The sentiment is perhaps further epitomised by the phrase
"Sticks and stones may break my bone but your words can never hurt me"
said in order to try show that people can not be hurt by unpleasant things that are said to them.
Both which are, of course, simply untrue. Yet perhaps not given enough consideration in the world of healthcare
- where an individual seeking help can be made to feel like a product of system, prodded, poked, scanned, examined, scrutinised, informed and billed with little or no awareness of how this process can diminish the individual
- where practitioners are also diminished by the "machine". In an environment where their feelings are numbed they can become a cog, lacking the time, care and counsel those they serve need.
It's important to delve deeper into the biological and psychological aspects of human emotions to understand the implications of this.
- Biological Responses: It's crucial to recognise that our bodies respond to external stimuli and interactions. For example, when we receive a hug, witness a smile, or hear comforting words, our bodies release oxytocin, which promotes bonding, along with endorphins and other biochemical processes.This demonstrates that our emotional experiences are not solely contained within ourselves but are influenced by external factors.
- Basic Human Needs: Human beings are inherently social creatures with fundamental needs for connection, validation, recognition, and support. These needs have deep roots in our evolutionary history and are essential for our emotional well-being. Neglecting these needs can have adverse effects on our mental and emotional health.
- Desire for External Experiences: If we were entirely isolated from external influences, we would lack motivation to seek out new experiences, build relationships, or pursue personal growth. Our interactions with the world around us shape our desires, goals, and personal development.
- Vulnerability: Both therapeutic, work and intimate relationships often involve allowing someone to affect our emotional state and being vulnerable enough to share our deeper feelings and experiences. Trust is a fundamental component of this process. Without vulnerability, relationships can remain superficial, devoid of the depth that fosters true connection. It is this depth of relationship that is often required to get to the root of what is going on for the individual and improving a situation.
While others can influence our emotional states, we too can influence theirs.
We all possess agency and responsibility for our emotions and how we chose to influence the emotional states of those we choose to serve.
We can choose how to
- engage in self-reflection
- respond to external stimuli
- how to be an external stimuli
- address negative emotions arising in ourselves and others
Recognising the role others play in our emotions underscores the complexity of human connection and the importance of establishing healthy emotional boundaries and interactions.
In conclusion, this perspective highlights the intricate interplay between individual emotional experiences and the influence of external factors.
Remembering we are the creators of our experience and an external factor in the lives of those around us.