Actions Speak Louder Than Feelings
Your feelings are bulls**t. So says father-daughter authors Dr. Michael Bennett and Sarah Bennett of the book, F*ck Feelings, which purports to be a self-help guide for people who want to “put aside their unrealistic wishes.” In this 416-page profanity-laden tome, the psychiatrist-comedian duo explain that getting past your feelings is the first step to overcoming life’s problems. Wallowing in your emotions only holds you back.
In an interview, Dr. Bennett claims that the philosophy that he and his daughter espouse is nothing new — Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism have been making their point for centuries — which is essentially “being able to laugh at how much life sucks” and “not take it personally.” Even Jesus, knowing full well what he was sent to earth to do, asked God why he’d forsaken him in his final breath.
A neuroscientist will say that feelings emerge from our brain’s limbic system, while a doctor trained in Chinese medicine will insist different emotions emanate from specific organs.
This advice sounds all well and good, except there is no clear consensus on the origins of our emotions. A neuroscientist will say that feelings emerge from our brain’s limbic system, while a doctor trained in Chinese medicine will insist different emotions emanate from specific organs. None of the science is conclusive, and there is evidence for integrating both approaches to tackle mental health.
Regardless of medical tradition, recognizing that we are not our emotions is certainly empowering.
Regardless of medical tradition, recognizing that we are not our emotions is certainly empowering. And being able to circumvent negative or harmful actions is ultimately the goal. As Sarah Bennett puts it, if you can learn to rein them in, “You deserve to give yourself a pat on the back for living a normal life in adverse circumstances.”
As a start, you could follow the advice of famed psychologist Paul Ekman who suggests you can alter your feelings by simply changing your facial expressions.
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Daphne Muller is a New York City-based writer who has written for Salon, Ms. Magazine, The Huffington Post, and reviewed books for ELLE and Publishers Weekly. Most recently, she completed a novel and screenplay. You can follow her on Instagram @daphonay and on Twitter @DaphneEMuller.