Behavior Over Feelings

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Many rationalize harmful words and actions towards the people they are closest to by telling themselves they’re only being authentic, that it wouldn’t be right to hide how they’re really feeling, that they’re just being honest and honesty is important.

But the question is, how are you going to let a feeling, something ephemeral and fleeting, interfere with the way you treat the people you care about? Feelings come and feelings go, they don’t define us our actions do. Telling yourself you’re just being honest and authentic when you express your negative feelings is a rationalization because nobody says everything they’re thinking and feeling, no one is completely honest all the time. We have to pick and choose which thoughts and emotions to express and which to let float away.

If you love the people closest to you, then this means treating them in a loving way even when you’re not feeling particularly positive towards them. These feelings will pass, as all feelings do, but what won’t pass is your concrete history of behaviors. Love is an orientation, a decision, a way of being and relating. It’s not just a feeling. If it were then it wouldn’t be worth much.

If you make the decision to always treat the people you care about gently, to behave lovingly towards them even when you’re not in a loving mood, good things will happen. You won’t have to feel inauthentic because the way you treat them will stem from a much deeper place than before, from your existential freedom to act how you want to act instead of how your transitory thoughts and feelings are telling you to act in that moment.