It’s a weird concept for most people. Most of us know how we feel on a superficial level. When asked how we feel we are quick to reply : “I’m happy” or “I’m sad”, or “I’m angry.” It’s easy to put your complex feelings into a few trite categories. But why are you happy? Why are you sad? Why are you angry? It’s not easy for most people to put into words what they are experiencing at a deeper level.
So, what does it actually mean to feel your feelings? It means to have the ability to dissect and find the deeper meaning in the shallow verbiage we all use to describe our current state.
Let’s use anger for example. Being angry is a secondary emotion. Ask yourself why you are angry? “I’m angry because, my boss demands that I compromise my internal values, and fails to show me the respect I deserve”. “I’m angry because my boyfriend left me. I feel rejected and I am afraid I’ll never find true love,” “I’m angry because I’m lonely, and all I want is companionship.”
An easy rule of thumb to follow to start assessing your internal emotions is simple.
“I feel ____________ because…”
“I feel angry and depressed because my self worth was compromised by situation “x” and I am frustrated with my inability to figure out what I should do about it.”
When we begin to break down the reasons behind why we feel the way we do we take back control over our emotions and free ourselves from the bondage to the circumstances of life. When one becomes in touch with the deeper emotions they harness they no longer have to fear overwhelming and foreign emotions that cause discomfort. We also begin to understand the person we really are and realize nobody has the power to make us feel anything without our permission.
Unfortunately, many view their feelings of fear, rejection, or loneliness etc. as weaknesses. It’s ironic that many great teachers preach that the ability to be vulnerable is the pathway to self-discovery and the key to reaching deeper levels of happiness. When you acknowledge your true feelings and your areas of vulnerability you discover that you are, in fact, innately wonderful. No matter what happens, this is who you are and your feelings are important and valid. You’re strong; you’re intuitive; you are absolutely you! Other people’s perception of who you are (or who they think you are) no longer matters.
In our society, there is so many ways to avoid feeling anything. Harmful distractions such as alcohol, drugs, gambling and over work are some of the vices we turn to when dealing with the painful and difficult situations in our lives. They are simply catalysts for running away from the most exceptional, interesting person you need to meet. You!
Unfortunately, our society worships men for their valor and accomplishments, which discourages them from showing any feelings of vulnerability. They fear the scrutiny and judgment of their peers. This isn’t fair and leads to depression and internal shaming. Boys don’t cry? Yes they do. Maybe not as often as women, but faced with a tough situation everybody cries. That’s right! Even your dad cries.
On the other hand, woman are labeled as being crazy or an emotional wreck when they simply try to voice a contrary opinion or concern. “It must be that time of the month.” It’s true, woman are hardwired to exhibit more emotions than men. Women naturally tend to spend more time analyzing situations than men. However, this does not always lead them to go deeper and discover why she feels the way she does. The focus is frequently directed toward external variables and the observation of others actions to avoid self-reflection.
We are in danger of creating a society, which does not know how to define how they feel. The very thing that makes us unique and distinguishable from one another has become taboo and shameful.
You do not need to be ashamed of your feelings! You are entitled to experience any feeling that you have; it’s your prerogative. It is also your responsibility to be supportive and respectful of other people’s feelings and emotions.
We need to stop making assumptions about other people’s viewpoints; you’re treading in dangerous waters. In reality, the only feelings you can tap into are your own. By doing so, you can be an example to others, providing unapologetic self-confidence and self-acceptance.
It’s a process to start living comfortably with you. Start by simply asking yourself: “How do I feel right now? What, who, and how did I end up in this state of being?” In doing so you will gain a deeper understanding of the direction you need to be going in life.
For the next week, bring a notepad around with you and begin to document noticeable changes in your emotions and what triggered this shift. Was it somebody speaking too loudly before your morning coffee? Did your special someone have a romantic dinner on the table for you after work? Or did you just plain wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Whatever stands out, make a point to write it down.
Allow yourself 100% permission to experience anything you feel, without self-judgment. Slow down. Take the time to feel your feelings. The world needs you to be the truest version of yourself.
Today, let’s stop second-guessing our feelings and proudly wear our hearts on our sleeves. In this way, people can discover who we really are and how big our heart really is.