To feel is to fully live

In the moment of assenting to a feeling of profound sadness, we are allowing our will to take the plunge, to follow through in a judgement and a movement previously only glimpsed.

In this movement of the will – feeling the feeling – the sadness or fear is realised – made real – to us in the fullness of our being: intellectually, physically, and volitionally. Imagine a person who experiences a violent accident but suppresses and avoids feeling the emotions and “processing” the trauma. It is as if they are unable to move forward, unable to be the person they have already become through this experience.

As human beings with a will that chooses, and which makes its choices manifest in our “feelings”, we cannot be said to fully live our will if we do not fully feel it. This means that the unpleasant experience of sadness, grief, fear, despair – but also the pleasant experiences of joy, love, hope, and pride – need to be accepted and felt, so that they can make their mark on our souls and shape us for what is next to come.

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