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I grew up in what I thought was a normal family with parents and siblings but unfortunately as a child I had to stifle a lot of my feelings when I was upset. My Dad grew up in a family in which his parents argued a lot so he would quickly shut those feelings down. My Mother grew up in dysfunctional family because her Dad died when she was 2 which caused her Mother to have severe depression. However, I learned over many years that it is so important to not stifle your feelings. I did a lot of self help books and some therapy. I also had great friendships that were deep and helped me realize what was healthy and what wasn’t. I learned about boundaries and enjoy just having time to myself. Because of all of this I tried to teach my children to talk to me and share their feelings growing up. It is such a great feeling now that they do share their feelings with me as Adults : )
I share some of the motivators that others here have already mentioned–introspection, writing, therapy (I am not seeing a therapist currently but have in the past). I would also add solitude for myself. Barb mentioned being aware of her physical sensations. I have experienced that and would broaden it just a bit to include my mood or capacity. At times, I find myself not being the person that I would like to be, and I can catch myself then reflect on why. Many times, I have some stressors or conflicts.
As for how this might spark change, I am pondering that. I practice empathy but might miss the mark, so to speak, sometimes. I wonder what could come from giving others the space to explore their feelings.
My brain comes to mind … when I’m thinking about/exploring my feelings it’s my brain. By analyzing/over thinking this can spark change. I’m feeling off today, I overslept, my alarms did not go off and I am now viewing the daily question instead of early am. Thank God tomorrow is Friday and the weekend is almost here.
Writing it down. It opens doors that might otherwise stay shut.
I had a therapist who pressed on me to open up and explore all the hurt and anger I had buried inside. By Doing so, I was able to confront my ghosts and start to work a on healing. A daily quote that was posted here hit it directly on the nail..”Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know”
Awareness and the space it can bring to more lightly hold a challenging feeling and the issue from which it came..
Recognizing and acknowledging the physical sensations associated with specific feelings can serve as a reminder to stop and examine them. If my heart is pounding and my breathing is faster, what’s happening? Why is that? Can I slow my breathing if the trigger is a negative feeling so that I can understand why this is arising? When I can remember to take that pause it can stop me from saying something in haste that I may regret and can help me put that trigger into perspective. Sometimes at these moments a saying of my mom’s sometimes comes to mind, “Will little children die as a result of this?” Other variants I’ve picked up over the years: “Will the sun still rise tomorrow?” and “Has anyone lost their birthday?” All designed to put small human hurts and disappointments into a bigger frame to show their true size.
In thinking of this question I automatically went to the negative feelings. Recognizing moments of joy, happiness, love, contentment the same way helps me recognize what sparks those feelings and appreciate the good things.
Barb, I have heard many sayings but “Will little children die as a result of this” is the first time for me. Almost as dramatic as the one my Great Aunt Rose would exclaim whenever it was raining and you could also see the sun too, “The devil is beating his wife.”
I suppose it’s possible Mom chose that to get the attention of my dramatic younger self :).
I have found that I and many others I have confused thoughts/opinions for feelings. My mentor (RIP) of 27 years pointed this out to me many years ago so I have learned to differentiate. I also found that when I can name what I am feeling and own it, I have more control over my reaction to it. This is very helpful with anger and sorrow.
The thought “Is this a feeling of my mind or of my heart?” Can support me. If I feel joy, it is most certainly a feeling of my heart or soul. For example, when I feel anger, I think it comes from my head.
Such a thought , “Where does this feeling come from?, can give me a breather.
This is a helpful insight. I used to work myself into feelings by overthinking or making things up out of whole cloth. I’m better now at recognizing when I’m starting into that spiral.
My therapist is very helpful in validating my emotions and my journey to understand them. I am also lucky enough to work in a place where this is encouraged.
Talking to someone I trust supports me in exploring how my feelings are affecting me. Then I can “see the wood for the trees” as it were and not feel so overwhelmed. I can think more clearly about how to move forward without those feelings clouding my judgement.
Meditation and the art of letting go helps me to let fo of feelings .
Becoming brutally honest with myself when I was in the lowest point of my life allowed me to not only explore my feelings but FEEL them. They were not all good feelings, but I allowed them. I looked at them with open eyes and saw the parts of myself that I had refused to look at before. I realized I didn’t have any true coping skills, so that sparked major change in my life. I learned to stand up for myself, set boundaries, say no, and speak my truth. It really has made all the difference, and I continue to explore my feelings with the support of myself, my faith, and my very supportive husband.
What Kevin said.
Seriously, I’m struggling with this question. I look forward to reading additional posts later in the day.
For many years I numbed my feelings/emotions, each and everyone of them, the whole spectrum, with my use of alcohol. My current journey and seeking help from my addiction has led me to explore my feelings/emotions, recognize them, accept them, investigate them and nurture them. My desire to write the remaining pages of my book sober supports this exploration of feelings and ignites the spark that has helped me calm my addict monkey mind. The reflections of all on these pages helps to add kindling to spark. Thank you all who share your feelings so freely.
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