Saturday, May 19, 2007

Expressing Feelings

I have been discussing with people in my community about expressing our feelings. We realise that it's easier for some than the others. For me personally, I think it's extremely important for us to share so that we understand more about others, and let others understand us more.

Norman Wright divides the communication of people into five levels:

(a) The lowest level is simple greetings. For example: “how are you?”, “good morning!”, “goodbye”, “have you eaten yet?”

(b) The second level is exchanging information. For example, “who and who has just had a baby girl.” “just now I saw two groups of young people fighting.”

(c) The third level is to express some opinions. For example: “who and who has just had a baby girl. In this day and age, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a boy or a girl, the most important is that the child is healthy.” “just now I saw two groups of young people fighting on the street. Recently there are many incidents like this, happening amongst Asian young people. I think it could be because they can’t adapt to the new society, and can’t find their new identity, so have learned from other friends out of frustrations.”

(d) The fourth level is to express personal feelings. For example, “who and who has just had a baby girl. I am so excited for them, they have been waiting for this child for a long time now.” “just now I saw two groups of young people fighting on the street. I was so frightened, when I saw them fighting like that, I was very sad and shocked.”

(e) Lastly, the highest level is to share personal feelings without reservation. For example, ‘who and who has just had a baby girl. I am so excited for them, they have been waiting for this child for a long time now. Seeing their smiles, I am so happy for them, and I can sense their satisfaction and happiness.” “just now I saw two groups of young people fighting on the street. I was so frightened. They are so young, yet fighting each other, on one hand I was very sad and shocked, on the other hand I felt sorry for them. If they have good guidance, and warm family to help them focus their energy on studies, good entertainment and social life, then this kind of thing will not happen.”

We also realise from the Bible that God is a God of feeling. God expresses His wrath to the evil every day (Psalms 7:11); God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5); He is a God full of love, He loves the world and sent His only Son to them (John 3:16); He loves His citizens (Isaiah 62:5).

We are made in God's image, and we are to be Christ-like, so I believe expressing our feelings is important. What do you think?


Corry said...

Great post, Kitty. I think you only scratched the surface with your question on this subject. This prolly goes much deeper than just asking if we should express our feelings, another part of the question would be "When"?

From experience my answer to your question is Yes, we should. It's very important in a relationship, that the other one knows how you feel and why. That insures that they get to know you and can make good decisions as well, based on care and love, taking your feelings in consideration. Also, it may very well be, that our feelings are based on a false believe we may have which, in that case, needs to be changed. That also only can happen by expressing them. After all, we are responsible for how we feel and when it's generated by a false believe, we need to change it.

Another thing I found out is, that negative/bad feelings need to be expressed in words and not in actions, while positive/good feelings should be expressed in both word and action.

Then there is the question when to express those feelings. The levels you described, kind of indicate the "relationships". Every one of those levels is a step up in intimacy. Should you express your feelings in level 5 to the lady behind the cash-register, who you just met, and asks how you are doing today?
And should you express your feelings when someone else is telling you about theirs, or should you set your feelings aside at that point, in order to listen and consider, to be a help to them and express your feelings afterwards?

I think there is so much more to this subject that should be taken into consideration.
The above is all in a nut-shell and we prolly could go much deeper into each one as well.

Sorry for the ramblings, but these are my two cents, hehe.

Have a very blessed day, dear sister. :-)

God's Grace.

Ross McPhee said...

I agree with what Corry said. The extent to which you share your feelings with others is determined by your relationship with them. I've found you often need to exercise discretion. I must say that the apostle James' counsel about being slow to speak and quick to listen is something that I've found helpful. Not everyone who tells you about their personal struggles is looking for advice, so don't give it if it's not asked for. Lending an empathetic ear is often more effective anyway.

Kitty Cheng said...

Dear Corry, I agree that this is a question which can go much deeper than what i've written here.

I really like what you said about expressing negative/bad feelings in words, and positive/good feelings in both word & action. I think it's such a wise advice.

You have a blessed in the Lord too deary sister :-)

Kitty Cheng said...

Ross, Norman Wright's five levels of communication indicates the importance of sharing feelings based on the relationship.Thanks for the reminder from the apostle James, surely listening is much more helpful than speaking, and that we have two ears and one mouth. But it shouldn't give us the excuse of not sharing if the need arises.

audrey` said...

Yeah! I like you, Kitty =)

Corry had written very well. I like her too =)

Sabrina said...

Personally, I think the culture of affirmation in the society depends on what background we come from. For some, it would be very easy to just encourage one another as how the bible wants us to. On the other hand, some culture will be restricted to giving encouragement to one another. For me, I feel it's awkward sometimes to express my feelings especially towards those whom I'm not close with. But I'm learning to now.. =)