In defense of the woo-woo, the feeler, the "overly emotional" personality

I am a feeler. I can emote on cue, off cue or pretty much on any cue. I can also feel you. If I sit with you for a few moments and you let me in, I can feel what you're feeling. Sometimes I can help you make sense of what you're feeling. I can give you words for your feelings. I can help you identify what's really beneath all those words you're saying. I am highly intuitive and sometimes I know exactly what you're thinking before you say it. I use my feelings to connect with you on a deep level. One of the scary parts about being a feeler is that we live in a society that values black-and-white, rage-and-blame, just-the-facts-only. People who feel their way through life are called "crybabies" or "too sensitive" or "overly emotional." The only people who are openly permitted to be feelers are those who can make a living do it; ie. actors, TV personalities.

The rest of us who are "afflicted" with sensitive natures are required to apologize for being, you know, weak. We are not consulted in matters of great import because we might have an "emotional reaction" to the decision at hand. Many times people refuse to tell us the full truth of a situation because they think we "can't handle it."

Many times we feelers have heard the phrase: What you don't know won't hurt you.

May I just say? There are many ways of knowing things and not all of them require hard, empirical, facts. Even if you think you're "protecting" us by not telling us the full situation, we feelers are able to detect what you're not telling us. Actually, keeping us in the dark is MORE hurtful than "protecting" us.

Here's a simple example of how feelers are compared to thinkers: if a thinker gets the facts wrong, they are faulted for being uniformed whereas if a feeler gets the facts wrong, they are faulted for being who they are; of course she got it wrong, she's emotional!

I think it's particularly difficult for American men to admit their feelings because the societal norm is for men not to talk about their feelings. And God forbid a man makes a decision based on his feelings!

Especially in Christian circles, people are frequently warned against listening to their feelings. Feelings are viewed suspiciously and must be controlled. Christians like to say things like: "Nobody makes you feel anything. You are in control of your feelings."

It is so harmful when someone casually dismisses my way of processing the world. When my feelings are invalidated, I wonder if I'm going crazy. When I was in fundamentalism, I was often told that what I was feeling wasn't real. That damaged me. That didn't just hurt my feelings, it broke my feelings.

I think the reason many people are apprehensive about feelers is because they view feelers as impulsive and irresponsible. Sure, feelers can be impulsive and reckless. But not because they are feelers but because they haven't learned how to feel their way past the initial reaction.

There is a difference between a fully developed feeler and a baby feeler. Baby feelers may act on initial reactions. More fully developed feelers allow themselves to feel the initial reaction AND require themselves to feel the consequences of acting on that reaction--BEFORE they act on it.

For example, a developed feeler will allow herself to enjoy chocolate chip cookies in moderation because she pauses long enough to remember what over-eating feels like afterwards.

But just because I am able to moderate myself doesn't mean I'm not FEELING my way through it, it just means I've allowed myself to fail in the past (probably while the stakes were low). I remember what that felt like and I don't feel like repeating it.

The true gift of a feeler is that they've given themselves permission to fully embrace the human experience. The feeler in your life is capable of providing you with a deeply intimate connection. Perhaps instead of trying to smash that feeler into a thinker box, try appreciating the color, vibrancy, sparkle and emotional support the feeler brings to your life.

Chances are, the feeler admires your qualities and is more than willing to learn from you--after all, you present a side of the human experience they aren't naturally attuned to understanding. Appreciation and affirmation go a long way for a feeler.

Maybe we'll never make a pile of money, but that's OK because money isn't that important to us. For a feeler, connection and relationship are everything.

All we ask is that you spend time being with us!

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