Everything I Need to Know About Feelings, I Learned From '70s Soft Rock


In 1978, when I was eight years old, my favorite things were my Barbies, my rainbow Mork and Mindy suspenders, my tennis shoe roller skates, and my little box record player with the handle.

I had a tattered, blue record case full of hand-me-down 45’s from my older siblings: The Beatles, CCR, The Eagles, Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, and The Bee Gees.  And then I added my own selections to the stack: Juice Newton, Olivia Newton-John, Michael Jackson, Toto, Diana Ross, and Foreigner, to count a few.

I also boasted an assortment of K-Tel “As Seen on TV” compilation albums, one of them a '70s Soft Rock record.  It was a Greatest Hits of all the couples’ skate songs on rotation at the roller rink.

No one had asked me to couples’ skate yet, but I wanted to be prepared.

Over and over, I’d listen to Dionne Warwick, Peaches and Herb, The Commodores, and Smokey Robinson croon about finding love, love that was lost, and love that was never meant to be.

I didn’t really understand what they meant, but I felt those feelings deep down in my little eight-year-old bones.

And I began to learn at that young age what it means to feel things alongside other people, even though you’re not experiencing the exact same things yourself.  It’s called empathy.  It’s a life skill that develops when you pay attention to it. 

Some people have paid a lot of attention to it, and others, not so much, unfortunately.

Empathy is the currency of feelings.  It’s how we trade and share what we’re going through with each other.  It’s how we connect, bond and support one another.  It’s the way we step outside of our own narcissistic bubble.

Feelings are what drive us emotionally, as humans, and therefore dictate the climate of our relationships, right?  How another person responds to our feelings, either with empathy or not, determines whether we stick around to have a relationship with him or her.

This is where life gets tricky.

We simply can’t live in harmony with other human beings who don’t understand, honor, or respect our feelings.  We can’t coexist with someone who says, “your feelings are not valid, and you should not feel that way.” 

Because just like the sun rises in the East, those feelings?  They are not right or wrong.  They are what they are, and I believe God put them there for a reason.

From an early age, I’ve had someone telling me my feelings are not valid, whenever, of course, they didn’t align with hers, or the way she thought I should feel.  Probably because someone had done the same thing to her.

At the age of forty, I began to realize this painful truth. 

I’ve never been to therapy, but I know this much: my feelings are authentic, and no one, but no one, can take them away from me, tell me they are not okay, or that they are invalid.

Today, I am making a choice. 

To not be disrespected.  To not be disregarded.  To not be discounted.

To Rock the Boat, even if someone cries, "Man Overboard!"

All the makings of a so-bad-it's-good '70s soft rock song.
 

Comments

  1. Add a bead necklaces is my favorite and this is my second favorite. I love the wisdom in this post. Happy you know all this even without therapy

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    1. Thank you, Christie! I still do need therapy, though, probably :)

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  2. That is an excellent definition of empathy. I am trying to teach this to my kids presently, and just the other day I attempted to describe what it actually meant. Maybe next time, you can swing by and educate them properly! ;)

    Oh, and for some people, this is a lesson they will never learn. Believe me, I intimately know some of those people. It is hard to watch.

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    1. Thanks, and I think it's a lesson many people can stand to learn. Am trying to instill it in my kids early, but they don't always take to the lesson easily. It really does go against our human nature sometimes.

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  3. Empathy is the currency of feelings- YES!! Loved this.

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  4. I love this: Empathy is the currency of feelings. It’s how we trade and share what we’re going through with each other. It’s how we connect, bond and support one another. It’s the way we step outside of our own narcissistic bubble.

    And I love your command of music and pop culture. I hope I'm outside of the bubble today. For now at least. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Two comments from you on one post, in one day...have I died and gone to heaven?? :):)

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  5. I agree. What we feel count no matter what anybody else says. It's not real to one person, but it's real to you and that makes it valid.


    Tomekha
    htp://artographja.com

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    1. So true, Tomekha. Thanks for reading.

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  6. Good for you. When someone tells us consistently negative messages (especially if they're an important person (role-wise) to us) then it can leave lasting damage. It's possible we begin to seek validation, acknowledgement and acceptance in places which are bad for us as a result.

    I'm so pleased that you've come to the realisation that this person is wrong, not you.

    Empathy is key, and it sounds like that person was last in line when it was handed out. Great post :)

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    1. Thanks! A lifetime of negative messages are hard to overcome, but when you surround yourself in the present with positive people, it makes it doable.

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  7. as someone who was also 8 in 1978 and had among her valued possessions her own box record player, i so relate. how can it be that there are no skating rinks anymore? i'm glad you're at this place now of knowing who you are and not allowing others to disrespect you. i don't know if it was growing up in the 70's or what, but it took me a long time to realize that i had something to say about who i was and who i would be. now if only i wasn't so tired that i could still do something. ;)

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    1. I hear you about being too tired to finally exercise my right to speak up :)
      BTW, there is a skating rink here in Houston that apparently hasn't changed in 30 years. It smells the same and looks the same. Same tables in the snack bar. Same carpet on the walls. It's kind of bizarre, but I love it.

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  8. EXACTLY. I missed the 70's, but am familiar with the "my feelings aren't valid" trap (the 80's weren't so kind to feelings, either - at least growing up a little girl during that time).
    So I guess what I'm saying is that I'd listen to that song.

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    1. True, the '80s weren't the best time of feeling-recognition, either. More like, stuff your feelings and go shopping instead!

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  9. Good for you - get rid of that negativity! I loved so many lines, but this one - "No one had asked me to couples’ skate yet, but I wanted to be prepared" - is the definition of a 70's childhood. Well done.

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  10. I'm a bit older than you, but I loved those K-Tel records, and Mork and Mindy, and Saturday afternoons at the skating rink.

    "Today, I am making a choice.

    To not be disrespected. To not be disregarded. To not be discounted." - so powerful!

    And therapy, I'm a huge fan.

    Lovely writing, as usual.

    Karen

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    1. Thanks, Karen. I sure do miss those K-Tel records!

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  11. Powerful writing :)

    "I’ve never been to therapy, but I know this much: my feelings are authentic, and no one, but no one, can take them away from me, tell me they are not okay, or that they are invalid."

    I wish that this was what they taught. I'm still learning it and I think even with that I do need some therapy.

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    1. Yeah, it kind of goes against what the world teaches sometimes. I'm asking for therapy for my next birthday :)

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  12. Empathy is the currency of feelings - well said! It sounded like such a perfect definition I thought for a second that it came straight out of the dictionary- but we all know the dictionary isn't that poetic!

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  13. I love this post, and I always waited for my couples skate too!

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    1. Ah, the awkward beauty of the couples skate :)

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  14. What an insightful post. I love the tie-in with 70s rock songs and the fact that you recognize your feelings as authentic. That's something we (the world) often have a really difficult time doing and its so important! Way to go!

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  15. Such a truly great piece! I love how you tied it all together and how you began by conjuring memories that I share. I had the Mork & Mindy rainbow suspenders, the sneaker skates, the box of 45s (Juice Netwon's "Love's Been a Little Bit Hard On Me" was played over and over on my JCPenny turntable!) and I love your message at the end. Something I sorely needed to hear/read lately. So thank you! Thank you for the fond memories, the smile and the reminder that we can take charge of our own emotional destiny of sorts. We do have a choice. Excellent!

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    1. Love all those memories. So glad you liked the post.

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  16. wow...powerful. yes...your feelings, intuitions, musings all matter and form you, and your perceptions, rippling out into the world....so they indeed do matter!

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  17. I absolutely love this! From the very beginning when I also flashed back to my 1978 8 year old self giving concert to nobody with my black record player and John Denver and the Mary Poppins soundtrack (ouch). And the empathy, and where you took that? Fantastic!!!

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  18. I work really hard at teaching my son how important autenticity in a person is. To me its one of the strongest character traits a person can have. Thanks for the thoughts.

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Krista! You are doing right by your son :)

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