Liberating Feelings from Opinions

One of the key ways we can end up in an emotional prison, is when we believe that our opinions are correct, that we are right. In the political arena this can often be the case.

But from the perspective of needs, an opinion is a strategy, a preference that should help us to fulfill our needs. And often it is not very helpful to fulfill our needs, but it fulfills a function of feeling as a person. Feeling as myself, myself suffering, but myself. So we chose to suffer in order to be ourselves. So that can be a big hook, hard to let go of.

But on a more simple level – An opinion is a certain story, a narrative, that I chose to believe.
This is my choice. At the moment. And I can make this a lifelong choice. It is up to me.

I am black and you are white, so therefore you can never understand me in depth.
Such a person can make this opinion into a strong belief and see the world through this lens.
And it may lead him or her to feel fundamentally separated from all humans who are white.

But when you approach this opinion from a life perspective, from a need perspective, you would ask yourself: “What is my need – or what are my needs, that are contained in this opinion?”

And you follow the path to the needs to liberate yourself.

You ask questions and you ask them with care, with loving kindness, with openess and love.

The Need Perspective

Being aware that everything we do is motivated by needs, we thus become curious and wonder: What needs are motivating this or that opinion?

In negative opinions, the first helpful change is to see the positive and ask about it?

I am black and you are white, so therefore you can never understand me in depth.
You can never understand me in depth.
Would I like to be understood in depth?
And what would I like to see happen, in order to feel that something like that would be possible?

When such questions can be asked from a place of care and loving kindness, they can open up the heart and bring awareness, bring light to the need that may lay at the core of the opinion.

I really would like some deep understanding about the suffering of black people in general.
I really like true and deep understanding.

I may feel how understanding is alive in my body, I may remember moments, when I felt that a true and deep understanding was possible. And when I feel connected with that beautiful need, then I feel a true sense of spaciousness and freedom in my. It would be not at all surprising if from that spaciousness and freedom, I would feel power and creativity in me, new strategies arising inside of me, of how to bring me close to that understanding, but not from a sense of demand, a tightness, that does not allow for a No in a person that I would make requests to, but from a sense of respect for others, from a sense that my request is a gift for others, not a burden.

A Helpful Practical Framework

And nonviolent communication will give you a very practical framework to help you formulate questions that are helpful to connect to myself on the level of needs. Questions that deepen the understanding about a situation.

There are four areas in which we can deepen our understanding.

About observations, that might have led the person to come to a belief.
About feelings connected with those observations.
About the needs that live at the core of this strong opinion.
About the requests and strategies, that the person would like to see happen.

Do you I desperate when I see the level of ignorance in white people about the life realities of black people?

In this question I see an attempt to connect with my feeling

Identity is a store house of opinions

Unordered stuff here —-

But then there are so many opinions about life, people, about myself and the world, that together bring to me a kind of filter that should help me to navigate in this world, to decide on my actions day by day.

What I think leads me to communicate and act in a certain way.

I am gay and you are not, so therefore you can never truly understand me.

Such opinions tend to create an illusion of separateness.

On a needs basis, however

Another person makes a different choice. They also think they are right. They identify good and evil in the opposite way. They say: “Russians are good people, Ukrainians are ruled by Satan.”

But when I look at this from a needs perspective, I can understand that for one person this opinion is simply what they believe with best lead to fulfill their needs. And what are those needs? Can we touch them, can we connect with them – behind the opinion?

Because the feelings do not stem from the opinion, but they originate in the relationship to needs that is masked by the opinion. When we get to the needs, we can see the true origin of our feelings.