In therapy with my clients, I often ask them to identify their feelings. As cliché as it sounds, I’ll ask, “what are you feeling right now: mad, sad, glad, scared?”
While some of my clients find it frustrating, there’s a good reason for this question.
And over time, my clients discover why.
When you are able to clearly express what you’re feeling, you are more easily able to identify what need you have, and work to get it met.
Naming your feelings also helps you to slow down, become more aware of what’s happening in your body and mind, and begin to consciously choose your behaviors, instead of simply reacting to them.
Sounds easy, right? Not necessarily.
Naming our feelings can be scary. It can make us vulnerable in ways our personal histories tell us is too scary. In addition, we can talk ourselves out of how we feel. If what we’re feeling isn’t “rational,” or “justified,” we’ll attempt to deny it.
For example, one appropriate emotional response to death can be anger, but many of us suppress that feeling. We wrongly believe since “they didn’t want to die, I can’t be mad.” Of course you can!
Primarily because we can’t choose our feelings, they just are. Of course, we can choose what we do with our feelings.
And here’s where a lot of us mess up.
We unconsciously create a pattern wherein we feel anger, as an example, deny that we’re feeling it because we think we shouldn’t, and then instead of talking about it, we explode – like the proverbial soda can that gets shaken repeatedly and ultimately explodes. In times like this, using the model of nonviolent communication can be incredibly helpful. For more information, watch my video on nonviolent communciation.
If you’re interested in learning more about how understanding and being able to communicate your feelings can improve your life, call me at 512.669.0395 to get started. Thank you!