Many years ago, my partner, Peggy Bielen and I got into trouble for putting “A feeling isn’t right or wrong, it just is!” into our self-esteem program. Our point was that feelings exist, and

it is what you do with a feeling that matters. You may heal, ignore and change negative feelings.

Every person has a right to have his/her own feelings and express them. It takes a conscious decision and lots of practice to master the art of expressing feelings without taking away the others right to do the same.

Political beliefs have divided our friendships and families. I don’t believe the same thing that my sister and her husband believe. Rather than street fighting every time we talk, we have banned any conversation about politics. Her feelings are very strong as are mine, and I have a commitment to connect with my sister because I love her dearly. There is plenty for us to talk about as we both have children and grandchildren.

An arena that can set people who have intense feelings about is people who are gay. Decisions are made (that being gay is a choice one makes, that being gay is disgusting, that being gay is wrong, that your judgment about something you don’t understand is righteous,) and that people who are gay can change their feelings. People who are different from you aren’t good or bad, they just are!

How about being a black person? Those individuals have feelings just the same as you do. We ignore their feelings and both condemn and judge them. The old saying, “When I bleed, my blood is the same color as yours,” is so true. Is a feeling that blacks are lesser humans not right or wrong, I just is? It isn’t the feeling that needs focus, it is what you do about that feeling that matters.

Honor your own feelings. Respect other people’s right to have feelings even when you abhore them. And choose to live in a way that not only respects feelings, but respects differences as well.

Please share with family and friends.

Scott A. McDaniel photo.