Why We Need to ‘feel’ – and Not Just Think

We often say we ‘didn’t get on too well’ with our father or that our mother was ‘slightly neglectful’ thinking we have a solid grip on events. However it is these compressed, ready-made, affectless accounts that stand in the way of properly connecting with our past and thereby truly knowing ourselves in the present.
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“One of the great impediments to understanding bits of our lives properly is our overly-ready assumption that we already do so. It’s easy to carry around with us, and exchange with others, surface intellectual descriptions of key painful events that leave the marrow of our emotions behind. We may say that we remember — for example — that we ‘didn’t get on too well’ with our father, that our mother was ‘slightly neglectful’ or that going to boarding school was ‘a bit sad.’…”


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Produced in collaboration with:

Natalia Biegaj

Title animation produced in collaboration with

Vale Productions


24 thoughts on “Why We Need to ‘feel’ – and Not Just Think”

  1. one the biggest mistakes of my life was to completely supress and ignore my emotions. once i started learning how to let go, to cry if needed, to take a breath when i feel anxious, i started feeling much better about myself. it's an ongoing battle, though, i am still trying to un-learn the toxic habits.

  2. I think I feel too much. I think about painful memories and cry a lot but I can never get over anything and forget about the past.

  3. This semi aligns with this practice – I figured I would share.

    As a child into my teenage years my mother had a very strong sentiment to never be vain. (We were not religious, it was just something she felt strongly about). She would remind me of this, not constantly, but frequently enough that it stuck with me. I would feel a strong sense of guilt if I looked at myself in the mirror, her words would come to my conscious.

    One evening I asked her if she would help cut my hair, I was 14 and wanted to shave the side of my head. I faced the bathroom window as she trimmed away, and when I turned to look in the mirror I was so excited that I blushed. Her immediate response was “don’t be so vain!” It hurt me deeply, the immediate joy I felt for having cool new hair became a sudden sense of shame and guilt within myself.

    Fast forward to present day. I’m 25 now. I was on the phone with her a few months ago and brought that moment up to her, how it had carried with me. She apologized and explained her reasoning was that she didn’t want me to be conceited. Understandable. It definitely worked! Haha

    A week or so ago we were on the phone catching up and she brought it up and said she’d been thinking about it and wanted to apologize again. I had totally forgotten about it! It was like a demon had been expelled after telling her about that moment.

    What I’m trying to get across is – There are these things that happen to us in our developing years that deeply impact us. And to say it out loud, to the person that caused it, or even just acknowledging it to yourself is so important. I can’t tell you how crazy it was to know I’d bottled it up for so long, and to finally say it out loud, it’s like the memory no longer exists. I am also incredibly grateful to have a mom who is willing to listen and understand.

    Say how you feel. Feel it all. And soon that memory will no longer rise to the surface. It’ll still be there on occasion, but it will be a lot more quiet.

  4. Thank you for the video. I'm having trouble feeling after my father's passing 5 days ago. I was able to say goodbye but now the grief feels just out of reach…

  5. I agree that resolution requires us to make peace with the past. But you can't dwell in the emotions, that leads to no resolution. It's like handing a weighted life jacket to someone already drowning, then telling them to enjoy the experience and they should relive it Until they figure out how to swim.
    All pain regardless of its physical or mental is designed to teach us to avoid the things that harm us. It's our intelligence that shows that the pain was not correctly healed or dealt with.
    Healing is a choice, And it starts with making peace with the past.

  6. It would be nice an aproach of a School of Life video to the ideas of Krishnamurti on how the thinkings itstelf is limited, and the always limited creation of images (about the others, life, the wolrd and us) is the problem itself

  7. I don't disagree with the premise but somehow it doesn't seem like over intellectualization is the primary concern of Western society at the moment.

  8. If feelings and feeling are part of being human, not feeling like yourself or not feeling 100% good or like something is missing…, does that make one be less than human?

  9. since feeling is first
    who pays any attention
    to the syntax of things
    will never wholly kiss you;

    wholly to be a fool
    while Spring is in the world

    my blood approves,
    and kisses are a better fate
    than wisdom
    lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
    – the best gesture of my brain is less than
    your eyelids’ flutter which says

    we are for each other; then
    laugh, leaning back in my arms
    for life’s not a paragraph

    And death i think is no parenthesis

  10. Brilliant, as always. Thank you. I always stop whatever I am doing and listen when I see a new post from you guys and gals because I know it will be really good, and it always is. Again, thank you.: )

  11. Another definition of why feeling is important is that… Intellect without heart is.. well, already "evil". Because it is a disconnect from the core of life affirming nature. And something that isn't in touch with the world is no good in truth. Yet the intellect will try to take control because it see itself falsely as separated from the world. Not a moment would a person survive that doesn't have trees to breath. Or other people that nurture the depended little young baby. Balance and wholeness can never be true for someone who that trys to conquer the infinite truth that is so much bigger than the egoic mind.

  12. yes yes.. informative, might be a catharsis.. now my question is where do you draw the line of so called remembering past events so as to heal? can you get addicted to crying and being sensitive?
    emotional and mental world cant be seen like a physical wound..
    or in this reiteration, one might just be getting into a rabbit hole idealy supposed to be forgotten? thus perpetrating the cycle of negative emotions making it a crystallized identity so you go about your world looking from negative, 'wounded' lenses?
    sure if one wants to reinvent oneself and change its avatar, it requires self knowledge by digging into the past but its an art.
    this develops chaos or riffs between parties involved if you cant get pass it.. ultimately, healing is when you sharpened your understanding, clarity and being at peace with the events.. when one no longer hates but forgives lovingly..
    if youre always in emotional turmoil, loathing and cursing the world, youre not healed yet

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