That’s right, you with the stomach ache, headache, the words constantly running through your head replayed throughout the day but never said. That’s right, you! Express yourself! Why? It causes great stress to you emotionally and physically when you hold emotions in. They come out anyway and usually in explosions, snide comments, use of drugs and alcohol, high blood pressure, heart attacks, ulcers…need I go on? Or they grow to an enormous size in your head to be relived, the conversation never had. All of those words unsaid are there for a reason and when they are said we feel more centered, lighter and clear. If this seems frilly, or too self-help for your taste take a moment to think about our greatest leaders, President Obama, Jesus, Bill Gates, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Oprah Winfrey, you better bet that they know or knew how they felt/feel about things before trying to affect anyone else’s feelings.
First step: Know thyself. So often when I ask someone how they feel about an issue they tell me how everyone else feels about it. To have successful communication first clarify how you feel.
- .A moment: When something happens take a moment to ask yourself how you feel before responding or acting. I recommend taking a deep breath.
- All are welcome: You will want to judge yourself especially when you have a feeling that you don’t like or that makes you feel uncomfortable. All feelings are appropriate. When you welcome and accept them you pass through them more quickly. When you do not acknowledge them then they control you.
- Learn the Language: We very seldom feel just Mad, Glad or Sad. When you are new at identifying how you feel knowing a multitude of feeling words really helps you to hone in on exactly how you feel. Uncertain, groovy, dark, fatigued, envious…Google feeling words and lots will come up.
- More than one: We are human. We do not feel just one way about almost anything. It is natural to feel envious, happy and excited for your friend who just got engaged.
- Opposing: Often we will feel opposing feelings about a situation. We may feel excited, scared and sad to be moving out of a small apartment into a larger new one. Or feel relieved and heartbroken when someone dies.
- Unsure: Feeling unsure, not ready or confused are still feelings. If you feel these feelings about a situation give yourself a break and check in later.
At this point you might be thinking, OK I got this know thyself first step. And maybe you do. But for many of you it will take a while to even think about how you feel since you have skipped this step for so long or weren’t even aware that it existed. So your assignment is to start small. When your Whole Foods check out person smiles at you ask yourself how you feel. Maybe it felt sweet? Maybe it felt creepy? When your partner tells you where they want to eat that night, think about how you feel about that. As always be gentle with yourself in your search for the truth. Think about how much hurt in this world could be eliminated if we took the time to know ourselves just a little better.
Jelaluddin Rumi said it best in a poem he wrote in 1230 (bet he knew how he felt).
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Psychobabble4u signing off:)
(c) Cori Grachek,: May, 2009
If you have any questions about therapy, are interested in therapy or just have a more private thought or question that you would like to share with me I can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
**This is not and can never be a replacement for therapy