The Other F Word: Feelings

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Just in case nobody in your life has told you this... IT IS OKAY TO HAVE FEELINGS. Even better yet... YOU NEED TO HAVE FEELINGS because if you don't that makes you a sociopath. 

And just in case you haven't been told this either... IT IS OKAY TO FEEL YOUR FEELINGS. There you now have permission to be a human. 

I understand that this is MUCH easier said than done as a lot if not most of us have been raised to believe that showing emotion is showing weakness and that if you feel sad or hurt you need to just bury that deep down in and move on. Well this is SUPER unhealthy and it leads to negative consequences and behaviors later on. Your feelings will manifest later on, but stronger and more powerful if you immediately resist your feelings when they're brought up. 

What you resist persists

Let's talk about core feelings

What I'm realizing more and more (including in myself) is that society doesn't really ever talk about feelings, like what they are and how it feels to feel them. You can't talk about how you feel shame if you don't even know that shame is a feeling, right? So I'm going to list out core feelings so when you feel something and you can't identify exactly what you're feeling and you want shove it under the figurative rug in your head you can refer to this this and distinguish it. 

ANGER

FEAR

SAD

HURT/PAIN

LONELY

GUILT

SHAME

LOVE

HAPPY

JOY

GRATITUDE

WILLING

HOPEFUL

PEACE

And just as a reminder: all feelings are okay

The way out is always through

I can verify first hand that shoving your feelings deep down inside is super unhealthy. Personally, I did it because I thought it made me independent. If nobody knew that they could make me feel an emotion that meant I had complete autonomy of my emotions and that made me stronger and invincible. 

No, no, no. It made me weaker, apathetic, and I was called a robot multiple times. I thought it was endearing at the time, but looking back it was naive and childish and I'm paying for it now by having to sort through the emotions I didn't deal with back then. 

Our emotions and feelings control us if we resist them and until we allow ourselves to really feel the emotion they'll incubate and grow stronger. Anger is a huge one for this. I know that if I am truly angry at someone and I don't talk about that anger, I just shut my mouth until I'm "over it" that I'm going to end up exploding at them for the stupidest thing. 

Talking through your emotions is essential for healthy relationships, too. I really mean this. Not talking about your feelings can lead to codependency and depression and weaker relationships. If you directly state what you want and what you're feeling you'll create an environment where clear and MEANINGFUL communication can occur. Whether your relationship is romantic or platonic it is important to remember that talking about your feelings should strengthen the relationship and if it weakens it you should rethink who you're spending time with. It is important for your growth and sanity that you're in an environment where feelings are okay to be discussed. 

HOW to talk about your feelings

If you're at all like me THIS is where you struggle. I know I need to feel my feelings, I know I need to talk about my feelings, but for some reason knowing I need to do it didn't motivate me enough to actually do it because I didn't know HOW to talk about them. So don't worry, I got your back. 

First thing you need to do is resort to the list of core emotions. You need to identify which feelings you're feeling and use the words. Don't use a weaker synonym version of the word to shake it off. You're entitled to feel that emotion and synonyms will often times have skewed meaning and the goal here is for clear, meaningful communication. 

Next see if you can figure out why you're feeling that way. If you know a person is causing you to feel that way use the "I feel ____ when you ____" set up. So "I feel hurt, sad, and lonely when you make plans with me and cancel last minute" and an example is also necessary so "like that time when we planned to go to the concert together and the day of you called and told me you couldn't make it". This is healthy communication. The other person can't say "oh I don't do that" because you gave them a concrete example. And you're feelings have been stated and now they know that they caused you to feel those negative feelings. 

If you don't know why you're feeling a certain way just start talking about your feelings. Find a trusted friend and say "I'm not sure why, but I'm feeling sad right now" and allow yourself to feel sad. If it's consistent you should seek therapy (or really just seek therapy anyway because every single person should be in therapy) and maybe see if you can talk through why. Personally my go-to is my mom because I can literally be like "ugh I feel so sad today for no reason" and she'll point blank tell me "there's definitely a reason" and list to me alllllll the things in my life that could be making me sad and once I identify it I can feel it and let it go. 

And then allow yourself time to feel it. Rushing this is counterproductive. Take the time to heal. You wouldn't take your cast off of your leg after 2 days and say "well I need to get over this and walk because I have stuff to do" because you would re break it right? Same thing with your feelings. You need to treat your emotions as REAL and don't push them aside too early. Everyone is different and you're allotted as much time as you need to heal. 

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