Feelings are a tricky thing. There’s a lot of talk out there about getting in touch with them, understanding where they stem from, and knowing when and how to communicate them effectively. However, this can be hard to do if you’re not sure where to begin your journey toward emotional awareness.
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay
We live in a world that values positivity. Everywhere you look, you see signs reading “positive vibes only.” There are hundreds of books and articles available to us that focus on how to find happiness, joy, satisfaction in your work, and everlasting love. But we’re rarely armed with the information we need to understand, process, and communicate negative emotions.
As you’re working to be more emotionally aware, it’s important to understand that sometimes you’ll experience negative feelings – and that’s okay. The sooner we acknowledge those feelings, understand where they’re coming from, and talk about them honestly, the sooner we’ll be able to feel “okay” about not feeling “okay.”
Do You Know What You’re Feeling?
Another common thing we do when looking at our feelings is to mis-name them. We may feel content but call it happy. We may feel annoyed and call it angry. Generalizing specific emotions can be harmful, and it puts you at a disadvantage when trying to better understand how you feel (and why you feel that way).
Next time you’re experiencing a feeling (positive or negative), describe it inwardly. Be as specific as possible. For example, if you’re having a rough morning, and feel as though everything’s working against you to get out the door to work, you may think you feel angry. But are you?
More than likely, you’re experiencing many feelings simultaneously. You may feel annoyed that your alarm clock didn’t go off, hurt that your significant other didn’t wake you when they noticed you weren’t out of bed at your usual time, frustrated that you can’t find your keys – there are many different feelings happening all at once, and each are caused by something else.
Communication Is Key
Once you start taking time to truly give a name to each feeling you experience, you’re better prepared to communicate them to the people
around you. When entering these conversations, especially with loved ones, it’s important to remain honest and calm. Know that you are not your feelings. If you feel hurt by a partner, communicate that while you’re not always hurt, you feel that way right now.
Embracing the idea that feelings are moments that come and go can help you to express how you feel without boiling over or pushing others away. You can also be open about why you feel a certain way. This can often help couples reach a sense of understanding with one another and accept each other’s feelings without judgement. It can also help to reduce negative feelings toward one another in the future.