by Catherine DeAngelis
“Feelings, nothing more than feelings
Trying to forget my feelings of love
Teardrops rolling down on my face
Trying to forget my feelings of love…”
Many baby boomers may recall the 1975 record hit song by, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, singer Morris Albert’s “Feelings.”
If you find yourself asking the same group of this generation or any of their off springs what happens when they hear this song playing – they might respond: “oh my gosh that dreadful, yucky emotional stuff – take it off please!”
But then, no gender excluded, “the hopefuls, the romantics,” as we like to call them, those “feeling-type people,” too sensitive and emotional call this song a classic. These are the “ones’ who easily and honestly admit, they have no words to describe their own feelings as they listen to the melody, moved to sentiment, who get a warm sensation in their body, to remind them of love passed, or a love that is waiting to sweep them off their feet some day.
Sappy perhaps or could it be that the feelings are personal emotions aroused like sadness, disappointment and life disillusionment?
Other words to describe feeling are emotion, passion, or sentiment. A feeling is personal and can be complex on how it is relayed through a human response and it surfaces, for some, unknowingly or knowingly, depending on the degree of self-awareness and acceptance in how to feel or not to feel. An excerpt from the on-line dictionary shows how diverse feeling can be:
- overflow of powerful feelings
- presence of excitement or agitation
- passion that is intense, compelling emotion
- sentiment like a thought or opinion arising from or influenced by emotion (to express yourself, easily, openly)
- delicate, sensitive, or higher or more refined feelings
Expressing Our Feelings
For some it is natural to share thoughts and feelings with people easily.
If we go back to our childhood, we may remember how easy it was to express our feelings freely, openly, most times without guilt or shame. It happens that when we grow up we control these feelings at a point where we find we mask feelings and wonder why our communication style blurs or terribly misunderstood in our relationships.
We can be more open with others and ourselves. The reward of open feelings is less tension and a healthy and relaxed state, emotionally and physically.
We can adapt to either feel our emotions or we don’t. If we shut down feelings like sadness, disappointment and disillusionment, we close-off chances to welcome positive feelings such as joy, surprise, wonderment.
It is easy enough to numb our emotions, but somewhere in our body, we may face consequences by doing so. Suppressing feelings make us become overly stressed and debilitated, doing more harm than good. This disrupts relationships and tears down communication rather than build-up healthy, effective expression of feelings.
When we name our feelings and connect with emotions, the closer we become to others and especially to ourselves. Eventually we gain an ability to embrace stronger and more communicative relationships overall, at home, at work and socially.
How to Practice How You Feel?
A practice to get into as we connect our feelings and emotions to the experience in our bodies — we may become aware of our emotions by monitoring how we feel, talking about our feelings, and expressing ourselves physically.
Connect with where in your body you feel sensations, pain or any temperature change. If you can easily describe what you are feeling inside your body you may find out varied feelings result in interesting sensations. Some refer to these interesting sensations as blocked feelings, the ones that never come to the surface, instead leave us perhaps feeling fatigued, or sick.
What is key is to express what you really feel instead of e.g. putting on a happy grin, when disappointed, enraged or feeling weepy instead of cheerful. Identifying with feelings takes time; we are prone throughout our life to turn them off. There are no bad or good ways to feel. But we can learn to check-in, talk about it, or express it physically.
Imagine the drawing of the body below in your mind’s eye your own. Throughout the next several weeks, keep track and try stopping every now and ask yourself “how do I feel?” Experience every body sensation from head to toe? If we had a migraine, it may be the result of an over demanding schedule or fear or anxiety over a pending presentation at work or upcoming gathering of friends or family. If we can find a word to best explain what we are feeling, “I feel overwhelmed” or “I am afraid of failing,” talk about it, or express freely to someone who is trustworthy and listens without judgment. It is pretty likely we will feel lighter and better able to cope as we release those stifling emotions.
How Do I feel Today?
Five basic questions to ask everyday!
- Do I need to understand my emotions?
- Who is the influence on how I feel?
- What are my needs?
- Am I experiencing any physiological changes?
- What 3 things do I need to express feelings freely?
– self-awareness to know what is going on (e.g feeling joyful)
– express out loud how I am feeling (e.g. I feel hurt )
– release what I am feeling physically (e.g. walk, cry, talk to someone I trust)
The advantages to acknowledging and expressing feelings can motivate, guide, and give purpose and direction in life. We feel alive, stronger with a better sense of knowing self and others better. We find a lightness of being, “I know me, and this is how I feel today.” This evolves to our being fully alive, highly functioning, emotionally brilliant, able to self-manage and be an openly human, human being.
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