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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Not a Feeling


 

Take a look at the above-indicated artificial intelligence (AI)-generated image. What feeling do you imagine this imitation of a woman is experiencing? Might she be surprised, joyous, or terrified? Could she be experiencing pleasure or pain?

 

Perhaps you imagine she’s stubbed her toe and now has a throbbing sensation in her appendage. Maybe she’s walked into a room wherein discovery of a surprise party is correlated with a tingling feeling in her gut region.

 

Still, you may imagine that the AI woman is experiencing something along the lines of, “I feel like you weren’t expected to arrive until next month,” as her best friend surprised her by arriving from an out-of-state trip earlier than projected. So, what do you conclude when viewing the AI image?

 

So far, I’ve identified feelings which relate to emotions and bodily sensations. One may feel joy, fear, anger, sorrow, disgust, surprise, and so forth and so on. Likewise, one may feel a throbbing toe or what is colloquially called “butterflies” in the stomach.

 

Moreover, one may experience pleasure or pain that involves a mixture of emotions and bodily sensations (e.g., an orgasm). However, one does not feel as though a person isn’t expected to arrive until a later time.

 

Although oft-misused in common parlance, words like “feel” or “feeling” which may better be explained by a thought, suspicion, or belief are as fictitious to proper word usage as is the AI-generated image of a woman depicted above. Misuse of this sort does not represent actual feelings.

 

Given the manner in which I practice Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I maintain that the words we use matter. This is an especially important lesson to remember when using the ABC model.

 

REBT practitioners maintain that from a psychological perspective, Activating events which are accompanied by unhelpful Beliefs are what cause unpleasant Consequences. As such, the outcomes of our unproductive assumptions often manifest in the form of emotions, bodily sensations, and behaviors.

 

If one were to haphazardly conflate elements of Beliefs with Consequences, unnecessary confusion may result when working through the ABC model. As an example, saying, “I felt like he wasn’t listening to me,” when describing a Belief and then concluding, “So I felt angry,” when expressing the Consequence of this self-disturbing assumption, doesn’t make sense.

 

One of the main functions of REBT practice is to foster rational living. By promotion of irrationality—falsely assuming that elements of Beliefs and Consequences are inseparable, one would essentially promote a method of irrational living.

 

Given that the words we use matter, and considering that the major aim of REBT is to practice rationality, I discourage the misuse of “feel” or “feeling” when one actually intends on discussing thoughts, suspicions, or beliefs. Granting that the reader understands this distinction, consider the following:

 

Activating event – You’re on the phone with a customer service representative, trying to resolve an issue with a particular service. Rather than listening to your concerns, the man on the phone attempts to upsell you by offering others products and features which are of no interest to you.

 

Belief – Your assumption about the man’s behavior is, “I believe he isn’t listening to me as well as he should and I can’t stand this awful treatment!”

 

Consequence – Because of your irrational Belief, you feel angry, feel tightness in your shoulders, and you begin to yell in order to relieve the uncomfortable feelings you experience.

 

Rationally outlining the ABC chain of events is the first step to reducing self-disturbance. The next step would be to Dispute the unfavorable Belief so that a more adaptive and Effective new assumption could replace the irrational attitude that caused the unpleasant Consequence.

 

In REBT, the Activating event and Consequence aren’t Disputed. This is because, from a psychological perspective, there is no Action-Consequence connection.

 

Accordingly, the inflexible Belief is Disputed, because this rigid assumption is what led to an unpleasant Consequence in the first place. In this way, there is a Belief-Consequence connection.

 

This is why it’s important not to misuse feelings-based language. I can challenge one’s unhelpful attitude though I’m not contending with one’s actual feelings. After all, I can’t invalidate your feelings (e.g., anger), though I will Dispute the Beliefs which caused the feelings.

 

Earlier this morning, when working out and listening to music, I heard a song that prompted the current blogpost. From the 2022 album Tru​-​Vir2ue (Looking Forward) by TruWerdz and King Vir2ue, the track “Feelings” caught my attention.

 

The chorus states, “Feelings, they got me caught up in my feelings,” as the song is filled with misuses of this sort. Many thoughts, suspicions, and beliefs are expressed, though no identifiable feelings.

 

While working out, I thought (not felt), “When will the feelings be expressed?” By the time I’d decided that I’d write a blog entry about the matter, the outro stated, “Aye, yo, King Vir2ue. I hope they don’t really think I’m in my feelings.” Got eem!

 

There I was, sweating and preparing to analyze the song line-by-line and TruWerdz admitted that he wasn’t really in his feelings. Whether or not the rapper intended on correcting himself according to the REBT principles discussed herein is of no consequence to me.

 

The end result is still the same. Not a feeling was described in the entire song. As such, I laughed to myself and kept lifting. Nevertheless, I appreciate the motivation for a blogpost and I decided to discuss what feelings are and are not. So, how do you feel about this post? (See what I did there?)

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As the world’s foremost old school hip hop REBT psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

 

References:

 

B Dub. (2005, January 26). Got eem. Urban Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=got%20eem

Bandcamp. (n.d.). Tru​-​Vir2ue (Looking Forward). Retrieved from https://tru-werdz.bandcamp.com/album/tru-vir2ue-looking-forward

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Blog – Categories: Disputation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/blog/categories/disputation

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2022, December 2). Low frustration tolerance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/low-frustration-tolerance

Hollings, D. (2022, March 24). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2024, January 4). Rigid vs. rigorous. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rigid-vs-rigorous

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/should-must-and-ought

Hollings, D. (2022, November 9). The ABC model. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-abc-model

Hollings, D. (2022, December 23). The A-C connection. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-a-c-connection

Hollings, D. (2022, December 25). The B-C connection. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-b-c-connection

Hollings, D. (2022, November 15). To don a hat. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/to-don-a-hat

Hollings, D. (2023, November 23). Validation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/validation

King Vir2ue. (n.d.). King Vir2ue [Official website]. Retrieved from https://kingvir2ue.com/

TruWerdz. (2022, July 31). Feelings [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/TXHoZEzPniE?si=cQgBMomufiEkI0t2

TruWerdz. (n.d.). TrueWrdz [Official website]. Retrieved from https://truwerdzmusic.com/home

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