Alternate Title: For those that don’t know how they’re feeling and what to do
*Nonchantly slides back into view.*
So, I’m back.
Firstly, here’s a breakdown I made to help you figure out your feelings:
What are feelings?
First off, feelings aren’t the same as emotions. Emotions are our natural response to the world around us. Feelings are how we interpret and react to our emotions.
The way I see it, emotions naturally come and go in response to external stimuli. While our feelings are meant to be… well, felt. You should process them. Make peace or embrace them. However, suppress them and watch it backfire eventually.
It’s also important to recognize that feelings are subjective. Some people like being surprised, others hate it. Some people need to relax after getting angry. Others need to channel their fury into kickboxing or running. This just goes to show how important it is to recognize your own personal preference and needs when handling your feelings.
The ocean of feelings
This is a great opportunity to consider some real-life experiences you may be going through right now. But because this is me, I’ll be utilizing an analogy.
Imagine you’re sailing on an ocean. This is your feelings.
Okay, let’s point out the obvious. You can’t control the ocean. It can be tranquil one second and a terrifying force of nature the next.
Feelings are the same. You don’t control your feelings. They just are.
When it comes to handling their feelings, some people are like Rose at the end of the Titanic. They’re soaked, cold, and can’t manage more than a bit of floating wreckage to survive on. Other people are riding their feelings on a Disney cruise line. Their emotional intelligence is high and they’re far more comfortable on the ocean than Rose.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean anyone is completely powerless to their feelings. But, the first part of accepting and navigating your feelings is acknowledging their existence.
The storm of emotions
Okay, chances are you don’t want to be like Rose. You want your own Disney cruise line to control. Or at least a rowboat, if not something with an actual wheel, right?
Well, lucky for you, everyone has the power to improve. While you may currently be relating to Rose, that doesn’t mean you can’t be different in the future. You can learn and improve. And that does include handling the storm of emotions.
So, what do you do?
You start paying attention and developing good habits.
Firstly, you can start to recognize your emotions (since feelings stem from them). What’s going on for you right now? Is it:
If you can’t place a name for it, then consider how you’ve been acting recently.
Do you have a short fuse? Maybe it’s anger.
Got goosebumps and a queasy stomach? It could be fear.
For the record, you can have contradictory emotions. You just have to be willing to explore and listen to yourself to getter a better grasp of things. There are many ways to do this actually.
Writing down your thoughts and physical symptoms can help you pinpoint how you’re doing. Or even reading a book or watching a movie. Sometimes, we don’t have an epiphany until someone else announces the exact way we’re feeling. That’s life. You just have to do what you can and keep going.
Aye aye, Captain
Now that you have some ideas for how to recognize your emotions, you can begin to acknowledge your feelings.
But, how do acknowledge them?
Some ways include:
- Write it out
- act it out
- do something creative with them
- tell someone
Trust me, I know it’s not fun hammering out your inner feelings. It’s often confusing, uncomfortable, if not ridiculous when you’re just starting. And to be honest, those feelings don’t necessarily go away. That’s another thing about feelings. It’s not like you can just “be done” with any of them. You don’t get to decide how you feel. The most you can do is decide how you’ll react.
To return to the analogy, you’re a captain for life. There may come moments when you can dock your ship on land and be oblivious to the turning tides of the ocean. But, it won’t be forever. And whether or not you willingly decide to return to your ship, the ocean will continue to move without you.
[Of course, we all need breaks. A ship does need to dock eventually. But, it’s important that the captain gets back on the ship and navigates to the next destination.]
Navigate your ship
We all know that handling our feelings can be difficult. Feelings can be pretty complicated and confusing.
So, how do you do it?
Obviously, like a captain navigating their ship through a storm.
Honestly, I have zero experience with ships. But, I’m aware that there are vital parts like the steering wheel, mast, anchor, etc. And well, if the ocean is our feelings, then our emotions are the unavoidable storm. And why not confront them by acting like a captain set on protecting their ship? For example:
- Instead of getting swept away by your feelings, drop the anchor. Commit to yourself and accept how you’re feeling.
- Rather than hide and ignore your emotions, climb up the mast. Look out for any signs that a terrible storm is brewing. If you know it’s coming, you can better prepare for it. Or even warn others that you’ll be feeling off soon.
- Check your propeller. You can’t move against the storm if you don’t keep up your energy.
Obviously, this is all easier said than done. But, I hope it sounds more feasible written this way.
The thing is you don’t need to be an expert at handling your feelings tomorrow. Just work on being better than you were yesterday. Because getting better at anything happens bit by bit.
So, be a good captain and practice.
[P.S. I apologize to anyone who has actually sailed a boat in their life. I’m guessing that dropping your anchor in the ocean while a storm approach is probably not a good response. But hey, the analogy works for me.]