Chris Markiewicz's Blog
Every Monday – thoughts, observations and ideas that hold up a mirror to who & how we are

“You make me……”

Just for a change, this week’s blog post kicks off with a quiz. All you need to do is identify who originally performed each of the songs listed below. Additionally, can you spot the odd one out? Answers appear at the end of this post.

  1. The way you make me feel
  2. You make me feel mighty real
  3. You make me feel like a natural woman
  4. You’ve made me so very happy
  5. I feel good
  6. You make me feel brand new
  7. You make me feel so young

 Popular music going back decades is peppered with songs that declare how one person makes another feel. In fact, how often in any week might we declare that someone makes us feel a certain way? Unlike most of these popular songs, the majority of the time this can refer to negative feelings:

 “You make me so angry”

“You make me sick

“He/she drives me mad with their moaning”

 Yet, does anyone actually make anyone else feel anything?

 I suggest not.

 Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the erstwhile US president, summed this up beautifully:

 “Nobody can make me feel anything without my permission”

 What I and Mrs R are suggesting may come as a surprise or even a shock to you. Very often when I speak about this on courses I encounter initial resistance or even dissent – so strong is the perception out there that we are made to feel things by others. Popular songs are just one form that propagates this myth.

 I could say the same thing in exactly the same tone to ten people, and I could get ten differing reactions. So, for example I could say to each person

 “From what I know of you, I imagine that you are crap at your job”

 Reactions could vary from disdain, disbelief, tears, anger, nonchalance, laughter, offence – at use of the word crap, offence – at the use of word job and goodness knows how many other possible reactions. These will depend on each person’s life experience, opinions, values as well as where they are at in that particular moment.

 Some years ago, I was getting on a train at Oval station in South London. I was preoccupied and had my head down as I was entering the carriage. I didn’t notice a young woman getting off at the same time. I cracked my head against hers. Quick as a flash her knee came up forcibly into my groin (male readers are permitted to reach for a Kleenex right now, as your eyes start to water). I was doubled up all the way to Balham. Curiously, I actually  admired her knee jerk (literally)  reaction as the action of someone with balls (pun intended)!

 So, did I make her react that way? No. She could equally have apologised or started crying or ignored it all together. At some level she chose her reaction or response. I didn’t do it for her.

 However, I did provide the stimulus. I need to take responsibility for that. That is utterly different to making someone feel, think or do something.

 So, I need to take care as to how I go about my business and to minimise risk of upsetting or harming others.

 This is important because, should we believe others make us feel what we feel – we actually give much of our power away to them. Putting it bluntly, we become victims. The person with the assumed power can then, consciously or unconsciously, play on that power and control or manipulate us.

 So, what is the alternative? How do we address situations where others’ actions affect us? Well, we change how we phrase our response. By neutralising the language and owning the feeling or thought as our own, we take away that power from them.

 “ I feel angry about this”

“I feel sick at the thought of that”

“ When I hear so much moaning, it tires me out”

 Now, you may think this to be playing with semantics. However, if the phraseology genuinely reflects a shift in attitude, the “offending” party is less likely to continue with the behaviour. They won’t have the power to press our buttons. I have personally found this immensely liberating.

 So, finally what of the positive application as featured in so many songs? Can another person make us happy? I’m afraid not – our happiness is down to us, although of course we can derive much joy from others’ company and intimacy. If your happiness relies on another person, that becomes an awesome responsibility or even a burden for them to carry and can have dire consequences.

 Your happiness is ultimately down to you, not others. I’m sure I’ll write another post some time expanding on this.

 Meanwhile, I hope this post has made you feel good – if so, what power I wield through this blog!

 So, back to the quiz and who had hits with each of those great, if misguided songs? Here are the answers: 

  1. Michael Jackson
  2. Sylvester
  3. Carole King
  4. Blood Sweat and Tears
  5. James Brown
  6. The Stylistics
  7. Frank Sinatra

And the odd one out? Number 5  –  “I feel good” of course.

See ya!           


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One Response to ““You make me……””

  1. This made me smile….I now feel happy!

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