THE COUNSELOR'S CORNER: The strength of feelings

By Fred Cavaiani

Have you ever been with a group of people and one person begins to cry? It could be a discussion group or sitting with a group of friends. Some feelings are expressed and the tears start flowing. Usually when this happens people try to console the person as if to take away their tears. Kleenex is passed. Pats on the back start. A big hug often accompanies the passed Kleenex and the pat on the back. People are sincere and compassionate and want to take away the hurt and the tears that accompany the pain. The problem with all this desire to relieve pain is that it sends a signal that emotional pain should be relieved and stopped instead of experienced and embraced. The fallacy in relieving emotional pain is that we forget that there is great strength in tears. Tears are never a sign of weakness. Tears are examples of emotional depth that needs to be expressed and experienced.

There is great strength in allowing feelings to be experienced. There is great weakness is avoiding feelings or stifling them. When we use energy to avoid feelings we create an emotional weakness within ourselves which can propel us to find the quickest relief possible from the emotional pain we need to experience.

In life we all have emotional wounds that we have not fully dealt with and embraced. As children we may not have had the ability to complete the process or we were taught to avoid our feelings. Throughout our adulthood these wounds keep surfacing when something in our everyday life may remind our psyches of the emotional wound that we have never completely experienced or embraced. Adulthood can be spent on avoiding what we have to experience in order to heal. When we do this we miss so much.

Feelings are a blessing, not a curse. There is no weakness in experiencing and genuinely expressing our emotional pain. When I can admit and accept my own emotional wounds and struggles and honestly express this to someone else, I am living an honest, open and free life. In this process my honesty will indirectly challenge other people to live a more honest life.

Every moment of life needs to be fully embraced and experienced. When I do this I rise to a new way of living. Nothing has to be repressed anymore. I do not have to be afraid of what I think and feel.

This past weekend many Christians experienced Easter. Easter commemorates the Resurrection of Christ. This celebration in its most profound sense tells the story of Jesus Christ who came among humans to teach them the fundamental principle of life. Every aspect of life is consistently heading toward a resurrection. Many years ago, the great writer, Teilhard De Chardin wrote his famous book: "The Divine Milieu." This brilliant cosmologist and mystic captured the meaning of spirituality: embrace and experience the moment and you will experience something deep and profound which will give you an experience of God. Do not avoid pain. It is in every aspect of life. But joy, peace and profound spiritual development will always follow when the present moment is embraced and experienced. The celebration of Easter in Christian Circles symbolizes and actualizes this fundamental principle of life. This principle is also part of Judaic tradition and if studied carefully you will see this principle in other forms of religion and spirituality.

The problem with modern society is that we avoid this principle and link happiness with material prosperity or artificial 'highs.' Many movies and television programs attempt to link peace and relaxation with some form of a physiological high: a drink, a pill, a material prosperity. None of this brings internal peace or joy. Yet so often we have the fantasy that if I had just the right amount of money, the right house, and popularity that I will be happy. Happiness comes only in the embrace of the present moment and experiencing this moment be it painful or joyful. In this total, calm and gentle embrace of this moment I will have a resurrection to a new and profound way of living. This principle is so simple that we are hesitant to accept it and embrace it. However, when we do embrace this principle everything in life begins to make sense because we have stayed in our hearts which is where the wisdom and spirituality of life can take firm hold. It is where we will meet God, whoever God may be for us, and experience a profound resurrection. This resurrection will bring us into a love and compassion for everyone even our most feared enemies. Take a chance. Take the leap. Embrace the moment and rise to a deeper life. Have a great spring everyone. New Life is always here in this moment.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage & family therapist and psychotherapist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Medical Center. He conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is

Published: Tue, Mar 29, 2016