It’s easy to spot ham-handed attempts at manipulation: threats, blackmail, fear tactics. Mentally, we’re prepared for them, whenever they pop up.
But our hearts are not so well prepared. They believe whatever they’re told – they always have, ever since we were infants… And mostly, what they were told was that feelings were unreliable… and therefore to be mistrusted… especially negative ones.
So we take the negative ones, hide them, and then pretend we don’t care about them. That we’re ok with ourselves… just the way we are. But the world isn’t buying it, not for a second. In fact, it sees right through us, and until we take care of our negative stuff, we are the most gullible suckers in the world.
Family, colleagues, movies, news, comedy, advertising… it’s unbelievable how much we are constantly being manipulated by others – made to feel guilty, ashamed, embarrassed, or inferior – on an emotional level. Up and down, back and forth, we’re played like a flute all day long. They’ve got us by the short hairs. Don’t make me feel those feelings… I’ll do anything you want!
Why? Because we don’t trust ourselves, we let others tell us how we should feel. So we have white people telling black people how they should feel, black people telling whites, christians telling atheists, atheists telling christians.
When we start to see through this whole charade (basically, when it makes us nauseous!), we’re finally ready to go within… and confront that hidden stuff. Anything but this constant, induced sense of anxiety!
And when we meet – and accept – our own guilt, shame, and feelings of inferiority… when we are finally able to FEEL what we are FEELING – whatever it is – FEEL it ourselves, FEEL it inside OURSELVES, without running away, without rationalizing, without anyone else’s input or expectations or understanding or approval… just rawly FEELING the raw feelings…
Two things happen. One, we find out that the feelings we were so afraid of won’t kill us… that they’re actually a beautiful part of us.
And two, we can finally trust ourselves! We can listen to our own feelings by ourselves, and don’t let others tell us what we should feel anymore.
And best of all, we become totally immune to emotional manipulation. That means no more traps.
That means… FREE again!