Why am I thinking about that? I just read a chapter in Dietrich von Hildebrand's Trojan Horse in the City of God titled "Sham Honesty," Under the subtitle, Behavior does not always have to mirror feelings, the chapter reads in part:
Another false conception of honesty widespread today appears in the assertion that our outward behavior should be in full agreement with out inner feelings and moods. A man who employs expressions of politeness that do not correspond with his true feelings is thus considered dishonest. No doubt, we can rightly speak of a certain dishonest or lack of genuineness when a man behaves as if he were deeply moved, or overjoyed, or indignant, while actually experiencing nothing of the kind.
It is nevertheless completely wrong to make our actual feelings the sole determinant of our outward behavior toward other persons. Rather, our behavior should conform to what our attitude should be. Whatever our real feelings about others, we should be polite and attentive to them. This is by no means dishonest -- any more than it is an indication of honesty to be unfriendly, impolite, and inattentive to another person because we do not care for him.
This false conception of honesty idealizes self-indulgence and letting oneself go. It precludes (indeed, repudiates) the enrichment of life that observance of proper forms makes possible. It ignores the moral significance and educational function of such forms of social intercourse. That which constitutes the superiority of the well mannered is discounted as dihonesty and insincerity. According to this conception, the ideal honest man would necessarily be uncouth, lacking in all self-control and restraint.The sixties fostered this erroneous conception of honesty. I remember being deluded by it myself. I felt to hold things back, not to speak what you truly felt, was wrong.
I look back now and wonder how stupid I could be. If you feel like throwing a rock at someone should you do it? But the message of the age was "If it feels good do it." The mantra was "follow your feelings. Feelings were everything! Many people in that era grew up with an adolescent outlook on life. Some never outgrew it. One of the characteristics of our age continues to be the tyranny of feelings. It defines our moral collapse and explains the bad choices of millions of people who never grew up enough to realize that self-control is the outer doorway to adulthood. Oh there are plenty of inner doorways as well: integrity, moral virtue, kindness but it all begins with teaching that little two-year-old having a temper tantrum to begin to learn self-control.
I always loved Debbie Boone's song, You Light Up My Life. But I hate the lie it fosters. It certainly CAN be wrong no matter how right it FEELS. Feelings can fool us and lead us into stupid and harmful decisions. Only truth and goodness, determinations of the will -- not the feelings -- can light up anyone's life. Ask all the women whose feelings have assured them that they were truly in love as well as loved by their boyfriends who subsequently found themselves abandoned when they got pregnant.
No, following your feelings is often a shortcut to misery. So enjoy the song, but don't fall for the lying lyrics.