Love is not a feeling

“Gefühle wohnen im Menschen; aber der Mensch wohnt in seiner Liebe. Das ist keine Metapher, sondern die Wirklichkeit: die Liebe haftet dem Ich nicht an, so daß sie das Du nur zum Inhalt, zum Gegenstand hätte, sie ist zwischen Ich und Du”.

Martin Buber. Aus: Ich und Du (erster Teil)

This quote by Martin Buber (from I and Thou , part 1) is quite hard to translate. It states that feelings live within us, but we dwell in our love. Love is not in us but it resides in the space between you and me. I find this thought very comforting.

When we reflect on our feelings and how we perceive them we notice that feelings are always there and also that feelings are extremely volatile.

Can you try to remember the emotions you experienced within the last … say: 60 minutes?

Maybe it went like this. Exhaustion (finished writing a piece on my laptop), disappointment (no confirmation yet from a client), worry (briefly read some news online), anxiety (the news are terrible), irritabilty (paired with the thought I shouldn’t check the news so often), envy (my sister’s-in-law WhatsApp suggests she deals with home office and home schooling much better than me), then hunger (6pm haven’t eaten yet), anticipation (there is pizza in the freezer), disgust (found some mouldy old yogurth), satisfaction (yummie pizza!), boredom (paired with the question should I start watching a movie?) and then, suddenly: curiosity (I wonder what Julia wrote in that couple therapy blog?) … that’s eleven feelings (an one bodily sensation) in 60 minutes!

Feelings are facts – but not necessarily the truth

I don’t know whether the amount of emotional changes you are experiencing has increased or whether domestic isolation slows down your moods – but I know one thing for sure: there’s always some kind of feeling we’re feeling. Emotions appear, stay with us for a while and then they leave.

So that means that our emotions are usually not very reliable tools in helping us understanding our world. Feelings are facts and often enough they seem to suggest a certain urgency (feel me! I’m very important! cries the feeling), but they’re not consistent, in fact they’re unstable, always coming and going.

Feelings don’t allow us to rest and dwell and take comfort in them. As we seek permanence and stability we turn to our values and experiences. And to love: in which we make our home.