Thursday, April 24, 2008

How Does It Feel?

Therapy is supposed to help you to get in touch with your feelings. Were you jealous of your father? Did you lust after your sister? Therapy will show you how to find out.

Strangely enough, the culture of therapy has convinced us that we need an expert to tell us what we really feel

Therapy does not limit itself to past feelings. It will also tell us what we really feel about the people in our lives. Does she love him because he reminds her of her father or because he has a great personality? Does he love her because of her curve appeal or because of who she is as a person?

But then, are they really in love? Perhaps they are in lust. Do they desire each other or are they desperate. When you crave his or her touch, does it mean that you really, really want it or that you are desperate for attention?

These distinctions are not self-evident. It is almost a commonplace to say that true love feels like an obsession, even a mania. Are you that sure that you can tell the difference?

If you choose a mate on the basis of how well you read your emotional temperature then you are betting your life on your ability to differentiate love and obsession.

Surely, there are differences between love and obsession. Similarly, there are differences between romantic love, friendship, and charity. And we ought to know the difference between desire and desperation. The question is whether you can tell the difference by looking into your heart, or whether there is another way.

I will examine some of these issues in further posts. For now, when someone tells you that you really need to get in touch with your feelings, turn the question around. Ask him or her: When you want to get in touch with your feelings, where do you put your hands?

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