If you think that you don’t have any feelings think again. You would be amazed at what lurks beneath the surface ! When we were young we had no problem expressing our feelings, just think of any 2 year old you know. Then someone eg parent , communicated to us which feelings were ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. After that we started burying the feelings that implicitly or explicitly were decreed to be ‘wrong’. We did this in order to gain acceptance and love. We can also bury feelings arising from traumatic events, as a defensive mechanism to stop us from being overwhelmed by the pain of the event or circumstances in which we find ourselves.
On the other hand you may feel overwhelmed by your feelings. This can impact on our ability to function and we end up developing strategies to avoid the pain, such as avoiding certain situations or people. How much better it would be to be able to face up to what is going for us by remembering that it is ‘ok’ to feel. It does not mean that we are going mad!
So why bother ? The ‘naming ‘ of feelings gives us important information about what is driving our behaviours. This awareness and the act of expressing feelings takes away their power over us and puts us back in the driving seat. This may seem counter intuitive but the reality is that unexpressed feelings are silent but deadly. They influence our behaviours in ways we never suspect.
How do we access feelings ? Beyond simple awareness and watching ourselves in action, try the following until naming and shaming feelings becomes second nature :
– Write sentences at the beginning and end of every day beginning with the words ‘I feel ‘. If you can substitute ‘I think’ for ‘I feel ‘ you need to try again. Google lists of feeling words to get into the swing of it.
– Once you have named the feeling describe the physical sensation associated with it, say how strong it is out of a maximum score of 10, compare it to something it reminds you of and think of a time when ‘you felt like this’
Try to get below surface emotions. As we peel away the layers we find the needs within us that want to be heard, for feelings are pointers to what lies deep within us.
Exploring our feelings should hold no fear for us ( a feeling in itself!). Remember again that they are what they are neither right or wrong. They come and go and are no more than spontaneous reactions to a person, situation or thought, often based on programming from our childhood or past life events.