Posts tagged Feelings

Clarity About Feelings

 

I’ve written about feelings before, and it seems to bear repeating.  Any time we hear someone say, ” I feel like… ,” the person saying it is NOT speaking about their feelings.  They’re about to tell you what they’re thinking.

They’re more likely in their heads.  ” Danger, danger Will Robinson! ”  What they are erroneously indicating is a ” feeling ” is again, what they ” think,” and our thinking can be unhelpful or even dangerous to our well being when we call it our  feelings.  Hopefully, this phrase of mispeaking will soon go out of style in the United States.  

People can shift this unhelpful, sloppy habit to a habit of clear and accurate communication about how they feel.  We’ve learned through the years that feelings are:  happy, sad, angry, frustrated, excited, anxious, nervous, comfortable, relaxed, uncomfortable, joyful to name a few.  When we learn the language of emotions or feelings, we can start to identify more responsibly, responsively and accurately our current state of being.  Then we can pause to respond more and react less.  Both of these require awareness – which we gain by talking regularly with our sponsors, attending weekly meetings, and practicing thoughtful self inventory on a daily basis.  As we develop healthier habits of conduct and expression, little by little, we can live happier lives.  Another blessing of recovery.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am learning about feelings. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Sadness and Grief

Our littlest baby bunny was killed by one of the neighborhood cats yesterday.  I took the above picture of the little one last week.  It makes me so sad when I find them attacked out in our yard (there were 2 babies and an adult last year that I took to the Wildlife Rehab Center).  My husband says I have a big heart.  I know that it’s thanks to the 12 Step Programs that my feelings are accessible. 

There was a time where my feelings seemed to be on perverbial hold – stuffed and at bay, but never expressed.  Except for anger.  That seemed to be the only acceptable emotion for us to express growing up.  As an adult, my sponsors have taught me that it’s okay to feel.  It’s part of the human experience.  My therapist, a wise woman has also helped me learn to access and appropriately express those feelings.  They have each taught me that anger is usually masking hurt or shame or sadness.  Most of the time, I can go right to those feelings and talk about it or get into some type of helpful action about the feelings.  And sometimes, just feeling the emotion is what’s called for.

I cried about the bunny.  We were friendly.  It trusted me, and would hop over to me when I talked to it.  Only a few weeks old, it’s death reminds me again of the miracle of life and how precious it is.  Okay, so now I’m tearing up again.  And it’s okay.  The bunny’s life served a purpose, enriching our Spring experience this year every time it showed itself.  For that, I am so very grateful.  And it’s presence in my life reminds me also of how easily we can all impact the lives of other creatures on the planet.  My intention is for my presence to make a helpful, positive, enriching impact.  We are all connected – that’s my belief.  Thank You God.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am grateful for the little bunny.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Feeling Grief

A woman who’s working through the process of grief and loss, remarked that she wishes the sadness and pain were over. 

What we know about grief and loss is that, particularly when it involves events highest on the stress scale, the process takes time.  This woman is dealing with the loss of a marriage, her current home, and even more importantly – an old way of being.  She has increased her meeting attendance to at least 5 meetings a week, is seeing a therapist, and is calling her sponsor more often.  Yet, she’s still experiencing unfamiliar pain and sadness.

That’s how grief works.  When we start working the Steps and practicing the principles of the Programs we start to feel again.  And as nice as that can be regarding the pleasant feelings, it can be very uncomfortable and demoralizing when we feel the pain too.  What it’s taught me is that experiencing the sadness, pain and sorrow is what helps us truly enjoy and appreciate the happiness, excitement and peace.  And grieving is a process.  As much as we might wish it to be an event, in the case of divorce some professionals say to give it a good 2 years to work through the whole of it and start finding a new place for ourselves in life.  Sometimes, it takes longer.  It requires patience.  One thing I’m sure of, if we don’t push through it when it happens, it will re-surface down the road – most likely at inconvenient moments.  And we are not alone as we work through it.  We have the fellowship of the Programs, and our Higher Power.  We are always in good company, and “This too shall pass.”

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am working through the process.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Expressing Feelings

Recently, a family member has been letting me know what emotion they’re feeling, when they’re feeling it.  What a welcome change. 

They are dealing with some stressful situations as are so many people, due to the economic down turn.  Although at times these emotions are accompanied by some bigger expression (louder voice, hand and arm gestures, facial expressions), the communication of the feelings is so much better than the previous acting out!  They’re working on expressing in a calm way using more words and less drama.  I focus on thanking them for letting me know what’s going on with them, we talk about it if they wish, and when they get to dramatic I can ask them not to take their frustrations, etc. out on the rest of us. 

The nice thing is that once this person gives voice to their feelings, any upset seems to dissipate or at least diminish, and we move on.  They’re getting much better at sharing their feelings. The 12 Step programs, coupled with therapy for those of us who seek it out, give us all a language to use to express ourselves which most of us were never taught.  Again, my belief is that when we know better, we do better.  Expressing our feelings in a timely fashion is one way to do better.  Expressing ourselves allows us to release ourselves somewhat from the pressure that can build up when we stuff those feelings.  This new way of showing up then allows us to be in the moment, the present, so we don’t have to miss anymore of our lives.  It’s a good thing.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am sharing how I feel.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Feeling vs. Thinking

 

The other day it came to me that the most misused word in America seems to be “feel.”  People say “I’m feeling that something isn’t working,” or “I feel that they don’t understand me,” or”I feel they should be doing it differently.”  What they’re talking about is NOT what they’re feeling –  it’s what they think or believe

What they feel are emotions and the word “that” doesn’t follow the words “I feel.”  What does follow the words “I feel” are as follows – angry, happy, sad, encouraged, excited, embarassed, confused, joyful, ashamed, vulnerable, safe, calm, anxious, uncomfortable, content, scared, agitated, hurt, peaceful to name a few.  These are emotions/feelings.  My body actually can actually feel these – my heart races, or relaxes, my blood pressure goes up or down accordingly, my face might flush, perhaps I talk louder or softer, or my stomach gets upset, or I smile or laugh.  Feelings usually elicit physical responses from our bodies, and they seem to be based often times on what we think about something – anything.  Our old patterned ways of interpreting situations are often the culprit for the uncomfortable feelings we experience.  Sometimes we discover that our thoughts are mistaken beliefs, therefore, the feelings that go alone with them are mistaken and unnecessary as well.

It’s seems important to note the connection between what we think and what we feel.  Examining the accuracy of our thoughts helps us have emotions that are appropriate for the situation.  “Pause when agitated,” is suggested by the 12 Step programs.  When we pause to think, breathe and let ourselves experience emotions/feelings, we learn about the nuance of each type and we gain more appreciation for the pleasant feelings – because we allow ourselves to feel the less pleasant emotions also.  What’s important for me to avoid is stuffing my feelings about situations.  I can express them appropriately, respectfully and in a timely manner by using I statements – “I feel frustrated, sad, hurt,”  And, “I feel happy, excited, satisfied.”  I’ve learned that it’s safe for us to experience the entire range of emotions, because we’re not alone.  We can count on other program members to walk through it with us.  We are in good company.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am learning to feel safely.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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What Works

wall phone

A loved one recently connected with us after going through treatment and living in a sober house.  At times, it’s been a challenge to stay in a place of sanity and serenity since they reconnected.

It’s helping me to focus on what works.  There’s so much out of our control with this person – we’re doing what works and it’s helping.  A gratitude list helps.  Calling people and talking about frustrations, hurts and sadness helps.  Going to more meetings helps.  Getting into action is making a big difference for me.  As I channel  my frustration and sadness into decluttering, I’m accomplishing something that benefits all of us.  Less clutter helps me feel more sane and serene.  It also helps me process the feelings that come up regarding my loved one.  I can stop in the midst of sorting, have a good cry, blow my nose and press on. 

I’m feeling my feelings, eliminating clutter inside my head and my heart as well as in our home.  It doesn’t feel so great going through it, but experience has taught me that pushing through to the other side of the feelings, rather than using or keeping busy to avoid them, really works.  I grow.  I feel better, eventually.  And I always survive it no matter how out of control I feel – picking up the phone to connect with another member of a 12 Step program helps immensely.  We never have to be alone as we’re processing through uncomfortable feelings.  It’s a “we” program.  We have access to something that most people on the planet don’t know is available.  And I’ve been blessed to call upon the aid of 12 Step members when traveling many times – they have always responded with a welcome response, ready to be of service when I call.  That’s what works.

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Affirmation for the Day – ” I am doing the next right thing to do.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

Course In Miracles Lesson –  Love is the way I walk in gratitude.

Practice – Love is the way I walk in gratitude.

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More On Surrender and Feelings

diamond_rough

I’m getting reminders of the power in surrender.  When we have courage and feel the feelings, painful though they may be, we allow ourselves to push through to the other side and we are stronger for it.

Douglas Bloch,in his book “Listening To Your InnerVoice,” says “You are like a diamond that is continually being polished and perfected. As this purification proceeds, old thought forms and negative patterns rise to the surface to be released. Past unfinished business must be completed. Old traumas that have been stored in the body ask to be discharged.”

This is so true for us all and a lovely way to see how the process works. We become more as God created us with each resurfacing of the past traumas and each polishing as we feel and push through the feelings. It can feel just awful, but it’s only temporary – “this too shall pass” – and then we are free of that layer and we can move forward unencumbered. It’s the only way to get to the other side, to push through the feelings. I’ve had my own to push through recently. In between feeling them, I did all sorts of decluttering – taking breaks to have some good cries. Otherwise, I was in much gratitude and positive. which seems to be in direct opposition to my other feelings, but there you have it. Guess I’ve been kind of like a bouncing ball of emotion lately. What I can appreciate is that the ball keeps moving and doesn’t stay stuck in the sadness or hurt for too long.  And that’s how it works – “One day at a time.”

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Affirmation for the Day – ” I feel my feelings and heal.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

Course In Miracles Lesson – All things are lessons God would have me learn.  Forgive and I will see this differently.

Practice – All things are lessons God would have me learn.  Forgive and you will see this differently.  I forgive and this will disappear.

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