Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Letting Go - Part II - Emotions

Yesterday, I talked about non-attachment to results. That it is impossible not to care about outcomes, but that I should not be attached emotionally. So what emotions are okay?

If you ask my closest friends about me, they'll say I'm an emotional person. That means I say when I'm hurt, angry, upset, scared, sad, whatever. Most of my friends are not that forthcoming . Either they don't have the same kinds of reactions as I do or they choose to keep them private, or they are not aware of what they are feeling. That last one has gotten me in deep trouble in the past, because I am extremely intuitive/sensitive to other peoples' feelings, but if they're not aware of what they are feeling and I comment on it, the usual result is anger towards me.

There is no right or wrong about this. We each need to find our own way in the world of feelings. For me, I spent so many years shut down from my feelings, that it is detrimental to my well-being not to express them. Of course, I had to learn when and how to express my feelings in appropriate ways. I'm still working on this one.

Last night I had my monthly Girls' Night Out dinner with four wonderful friends. The five of us have been doing this for six years now. I've been slightly off-center the last few days. My hubby was out of town. I was alone all day long and evenings as well. Didn't talk much to anyone. Spent the time on the computer or reading. I found I had nothing to contribute to the conversation. Left the evening early, saying I was tired. Sometimes I worry that if I continually tell people how I am really feeling, they will get tired of it and me.

So when is it important to tell the truth and when is it okay to tell little white lies?

Hmm, this topic of letting go is more complex than I realized when I first started writing this blog. Guess I'll have to continue this series on Telling the Truth Tuesday.

Till then,


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

As I mentioned yesterday, this topic is very interesting to me. I'm one of those people who doesn't pick up on social cues. Odd, since I write characters who exhibit social cues. But I don't pick up on them at all. In fact, I've made a BIG POINT among my family and friends with that fact--if you're upset with me, tired, angry, sad...you have to tell me. I just can not read them. There's something missing there with me. This works very well and people are very forthright with me where they aren't with other people (even people who hide their feelings will be forthright with me because they know I won't pick up on their hints.)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Marvin D Wilson said...

Interesting and subjective topic. I'll tell little white lies if I feel the truth would hurt someone unnecessarily, or if they are too sensitive to handle the truth. (Just thought of Jack Nicholson in "A Few Good Men" - lol)

but if it's a matter of right or wrong in a situation that has direct impact on someone's well being or not - ya gotta come right out with the truth - even if it hurts you or them.

That's The Old Silly's two cents. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm like Elizabeth - sometimes I don't pick up on stuff. Usually when I sense that I am that focused inward and not receptive to others, I simply retreat from a social situation. (If I'm in selfish mode, I'm not doing anyone else any good anyway.)

Marvin's description of when to tell the truth is my view as well.

L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

Kara said...

Very interesting subject. I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve and I usually pick up on the feelings of others pretty easily. But I always try to make others feel comfortable, so sometimes it is difficult for me to know when to spill the beans or just cover up so others feel at ease!

Martha Nichols said...

I agree, this is a very interesting topic. I'm pretty intuitive, but sometimes I think I read too much into other people's responses (or lack of response). I also worry that my closest friends and family members will get tired of me talking about my feelings--I don't think I dump on people or treat them as free therapists, but I've come to accept that many people aren't introverts and don't interpret the world through a lens of emotion and sensitivity.

Basically, I think that's why I'm a writer. I suspect the same goes for you, Karen.

You might be interested in my current post on Open Salon, which is tangentially related. It's about the ethics of writing about your children, what to say, what not, and everything in between:


(P.S. We've updated the Talking Writing blogroll, and your blog now appears there. Perhaps you could also include Talking Writing in your list as well? Thanks.)

Helen Ginger said...

I think I tend to hide my emotions. I'm sympathetic to the emotions of others, though, and would cry for friends' pain more than my own. Don't know if that really applies to this conversation, but it came to mind.

Straight From Hel

Wend's Place said...

Wow well written.

I have been this way. I write about my feelings.

Your feelings can't be wrong or criticised. Our need for approval makes us scared of upsetting others who are still repressing their feelings inwards.

Often other's find talking about their feelings really frightening because of the responses they have had in the past. It can make people feel vunerable!!!

Recently I have learn't to look inside of me and centre on my core rather than worry about what others around me are thinking doing or not thinking or not doing!!

Trusting life and trusting myself and accepting myself and all my quirks rather than expecting myself to be perfect (I am only human after all) rather than making mistakes I can learn from!

The controlling the mind and grounding ourselves is great for working with our emotions.

Karen Walker said...

Thanks, everyone for these thoughtful responses.
This is where blogging is a bit more cumbersome than email, because I'd love to "talk" to each of you about what you've written here.

Thanks Kara, Wend's Place, and Martha, for stopping by.
Martha, I will definitely check out your piece on Open Salon and I will definitely add Talking Writing to my blog roll.

Nice to "meet" all of you.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Very interesting subject and one I am giving much thought to...Great post...

Hope you will stop by and visit my new Christmas blog. There is a great giveaway that ends Monday night...

Bob Sanchez said...

When my son was a boy, he asked me (in front of a group of people!): "Dad, when do you lie?" Of course I said people should never lie, but he persisted: "I know, Dad," he said, "but when do you lie?" That was awkward. I certainly couldn't claim I'd never lied, so I said now and then I might lie to stay out of trouble or avoid hurting people.

A while back, I created a fictional character who believed that any lie that didn't make the world a worse place to live in was okay. That was intended as a character flaw, though. My response to my son is what I feel. Sometimes the sin is in telling the truth.

Bob Sanchez

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm fairly sensitive to vibes and sometimes pick up on things others don't see or feel. As a result, I keep a lot to myself, especially if I feel there's no benefit to telling something I "know" or sense is true. Is that the same as not telling the truth? Probably. So I guess I'd say little white lies are sometimes better than cruel truths.