What are feelings? Oh right, they are those annoying things that sometimes take over our bodies and make us act or think in completely irrational ways. They are also those things that make us get up in the morning and motivate us to do great things. If you are a female, they are things that you often eat. (Just kidding…but not really. Women are emotional eaters).
We probably confuse them with food because feelings come in all shapes, sizes and flavors.
Growing up in a household with immigrant parents, the views and values that were instilled in me were those of hard work and survival. Emotions were neither discussed nor acknowledged as they were seen to be things that got in the way of the fundamental principles of survival. When asked by my parents about how I was “feeling” they meant are you sick or healthy.
No one ever asked if I felt happy, sad, worried, confused, afraid, excited etc. To this day, when I tell my father about having strong feelings of sadness about something, his response to me is often, “Just stop feeling sad. There is no reason to feel this way.” Obviously that solves everything….NOT.
So when thinking about feelings and all of the different ones that people experience daily, the difficulty that arises is how do you determine when you are not allowing yourself to deal with feelings that are coming up in fear that they may be too much to handle versus letting yourself be so overcome with feelings that they take over your life and disable you from acting in a logical way.
Most people have really great insight into how they feel and why and some people may even know what they need to do to regulate those feelings so that they can keep themselves in a balanced and healthy state of mind. Unfortunately, knowing the right answers and actually acting on them are two very different things. Feelings are also extremely influential in helping ourselves justify things to validate the choices we make and in talking ourselves in or out of anything.
So when we have all of these feelings what are we supposed to do with them?! How do we deal with them?! So many feelings and so many feelings about having feelings and how that might make you feel.
TALK ABOUT THEM!!!
- Why? The worst thing you can do with feelings is bottle them up inside because at some point you can only hold in so many things before you explode and instead of dealing with mini discomfort when that comes along, you are now going to face a world of awfulness attempting to detangle the mess of feelings you have created.
- When?– When you talk about your feelings is entirely up to you based on what you want to do about them. If you want to just get them out and are not worried about consequences or affects on others, then talk about them as soon as they are there. If you are wanting to find resolution or having a productive discussion, you may want to sit with them and think about them first outside of the moment in which they are at their peak. You can then go on to talk about them when you feel you are able to articulate them in a way that can construct the best possible outcome for yourself or anyone else involved.
- What?– Share as much about your feelings as you want to share with whomever you choose to share with. Obviously Gage your audience and ensure that you are expressing feelings in a way that will really help you process and break them down rather than in a way that can create other feelings to deal with.
- Who?– Well if you talk about it with me that guarantees my job security, so that is typically preferable. Kidding again. But seriously, this is why therapy exists!! ***You do not need to have a severe mental illness to seek out a neutral, trained professional who can help you navigate your feelings and figure out what is in your best interest in terms of moving forward with those feelings.