When you were a baby your feelings helped communicate your needs to your care-giver. As you grew, your caregivers may have shamed you out of noticing and expressing your feelings. Congratulations to the adults in your childhood, if they validated your emotions.
Habits of Feeling Unawareness
However, if you are like me, you may have deleveoped a habit of bottling up your feelings until you could not contain them. In a state of overwhelm their expression was like a dragon’s breath of rage. Maybe you developed a tendency to merely swallow your feelings without the explosion, like my mother, who was often frail and ill. Or perhaps you blanked out your feelings; checked out of being present to yourself and your relationships.
These habits are typically developed in an emotionally unsafe environment that directs us to never dare feel a feeling. But you can work on regaining your feeling awareness. Why? So you can better meet your authentic longings. The importance of emotional awareness is more thoroughly discussed in What is a Feeling?
Here we will focus on developing awareness of basic feeling states. Imagine watching yourself as if you are between 18 and 24 months old. Just notice your body reactions. Be and study what your feelings tell you.
Feelings are felt in your body and can vary from a low to high intensity.
The Classic BABY Feelings
LOW STATE ———————–HIGH STATE
Sad is a message in your body that tells you that you do not have what you want, need or value.
Hurt is a message in your body that tells you that what you want, need or value has been taken away.
Afraid is a message in your body that tells you that what you want, need or value is at risk of being taken away.
Anger is a secondary emotion and is a message in your body that tells you that you have the energy to acquire what you want, need or value.
Happy is a message in your body that tells you that you have what you want, need or value.
How is this information about feelings going to help you at work and home? Daniel Goleman wrote in Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, “Emotional intelligence is the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”
Let me know I can be of further help in your re-discovery of feelings! I will be sure to respond.