Feelings are problematic

not when they hurt us

but when they threaten

our greatest need.


If I’m angry, will you love me?

If I’m scared, will you accept me?

If I cry, will you pull away?

We start asking

right after birth.


We keep asking

through childhood and beyond,

and the answers we receive

determine our fate,

how we live thereafter:


as adults, in a world

of our making,

or as permanently

frightened, shallow-rooted


2 responses to “Problematic

  • Clare Flourish

    Being frightened of my own fear makes the emotional experience far more intense and unpleasant, more likely to be driven from consciousness. I learned I was frightened of my fear and anger this year, and decided I needed to learn to trust my own emotional being. Then I was terribly envious of a woman in her twenties who said the same thing- realising that then would have solved a lot of problems.

    • Steve Hauptman

      Better late than never, I say. Caught between the need for others and the need to be ourselves, so many of us try to resolve that tension by clinging to coping skills we learned as kids. I’m older than you are, and still struggle with that daily. (Well, I don’t. Bert does.)

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