No matter how deeply the thoughtware from your parents sticks in your brain, if it is naive and trite, it still handicaps you.
In the case of feelings, outdated thoughtware can handicap you severely. You don't even know you are handicapped until you download new thoughtware and the world suddenly works differently for you.
Take for example, fear.
From modern culture we get the belief that everything comes from either fear or love. Obviously, love is good, so fear must be bad.
AW Sign & Design)
Why no fear? Because fear is one of the "bad" feelings, of course! Like sadness or anger, it is to be avoided. Everybody knows that...
But what if "everybody" is wrong?
What if the socalled "bad" feelings are not a mistake of God. (As far as I know, God only made one mistake: the size of the seeds in avocadoes. I mean, you buy this fabulous fruit and slice into it and - kchunk! - you immediately hit the seed. Take out the seed and there's not much left! This a real pity!)
(Photo of Marion Callahan walking barefoot on glowing coals, November 2008.)
What if adult fear provides ongoing information and energy in the exact proper intensity to watch out for things in daily life? To stay alert, pay attention, make plans, make agreements, change things, to scan with your free attention and detect what needs taken care of (Do the plants need watering? Should I call home?), to know what needs protecting, to handle delicate situations with finesse? What if fear is the guideline for humor (saying things with the right intonation at exactly the right moment), for improvising (speaking before you know what you are going to say, committing before you know how to do it), for creating delight (what will delightfully surprise her?), for taking precise actions (slicing tomatoes, taking a splinter out), for knowing when you are at the limits of the known?
If you go to the edge of your comfort zone, you will feel fear. If it is not okay to feel fear then you will bounce back into known territory ten times a day and not even know it, missing your chance to explore and create.
If it is okay for you to feel fear and you go to the edge of your comfort zone, you will definitely feel afraid, but because the fear is no longer automatically bad or dangerous (fear is fear) you can still function. Suddenly fear becomes excitement. You can take the next step further out of your comfort zone into the complete unknown. This is where true creating happens, making something out of nothing (or nothing out of something). Do you need to be creative in your work? If you are not feeling afraid, you are not creating.
Rites of passage to adulthood are not provided by mainstream culture. To get to adulthood you need to go beyond modern culture's comprehension limits and arrange a next-culture rite of passage for yourself. For guidance in this and related experiments, you might want to check out the book Directing The Power of Conscious Feelings by Clinton Callahan.
You can learn to have no fear about feeling your fear. This is when things get fun.