How are you going this week? This hour?
I can tell you that I have marinated in a myriad of feelings this week, my own, my clients’, and my loved ones’.
I am also in the middle of writing a column about feelings and will be presenting on the topic next week.
It has been a week of feelings.
When we first went into lockdown, people experienced chaos, fear, confusion, anxiety, anger, and so much more.
If we live in the countries that have lower rates of infection, if our loved ones and we are well, if we are not working on the front lines, and we have our basic needs met, many of those first feelings have shifted.
They may still be there from time to time, but now other feelings have come to the surface. Such as worry, anticipation, boredom, sadness, overwhelm, hope and happiness.
Feelings are like waves; they come and go. Some hang around for longer than others, but there is no feeling that is inherently better or worse than another.
A feeling is a feeling; what you think about a particular feeling is what is going to have the most significant impact on you and those around you.
If you believe there are good feelings — joy, happiness, love, peace, inspiration, then you will tend to feel good when you experience those feelings.
If you believe there are bad feelings — despair, anxiety, confusion, denial, grief, then you will feel bad when you encounter those feelings.
Feelings are feelings, and they are a part of being a human.
Judging your feelings is not a useful pursuit. Judging the feelings of others is also not helpful.
I talk about curiosity with my clients. “Get curious,” I say. “What could this emotion be telling you?”
When we start getting curious, we have access to our inner wants and needs and knowing what they are can release the feeling, creating space for the next to come, because others will come.
I have two invitations for you this week.
The first is to get curious about your feelings as they come and go. Instead of asking yourself, “Why am I feeling like this?”, which can lead to judgement and justification, try asking yourself, “What could this feeling be telling me?”
The second invitation is to let your feelings be, but to name them (eg, “I am feeling agitated”; “I am feeling defeat”; “I am feeling overwhelmed”).
Naming the feeling also gives you an anchor, and may inspire your next move, if there is one to make.
This habit of naming the feeling is a habit I adopted only last year, and the ability to name my emotions has allowed me to understand myself more.
What I have learnt (so far) is that, generally, I feel more frustration than I do rage, and when I feel rage I am unable to communicate. I also have that response to emotional betrayal. I feel more delight than I feel elation; I feel more excited than I do euphoric.
We are all feeling all of the time.
We can try to hide our feelings, but they will come to the surface and not always in the most useful ways.
If you are willing to look at them, name them, and get curious about them, you will understand yourself more, which will allow you to understand others.
We judge in others what we judge in ourselves.
What the world needs right now is for each of us to stop judging each other for responses to a situation none of us has ever been in before, and the best place to stop judging is with yourself.
Be kind. All of your feelings, and all of our feelings, are 100% valid.
Wishing you a weekend of compassionate feeling.
– Kemi xxx