Love is an emotion. Much like sadness, joy, anger, excitement, fear, shame and happiness. The more clients I meet in my practice, the clearer it is that the reason we cannot fully experience our feelings or share them is because we cannot name them. It is no wonder that we have difficulty expressing ourselves or getting what we want!
If we don’t know how to communicate something we don’t even know that we are experiencing, we get stuck. And oftentimes rather than being curious or exploring something that feels new or different, we choose to ignore our feelings, reject them, push them down and/or pretend that everything is fine. And if we ignore/reject/push away our feelings for long enough, they start to come out in weird and whacky ways. We “get angry for no reason,” “cry at everything” or “just feel irritated all the time.” We compare our insides to others’ outsides (the parts they choose to show us) and decide that we fall short. This self-perpetuating behavior typically results in low self-esteem and isolation. A place many of us are comfortable with but would prefer not to be. So how do we stop the cycle?
The first step is to get familiar with your feelings vocabulary. It makes sense that we can’t express how we’re feeling if we’ve never been taught. Most people typically know the basics – sad, happy, mad, excited, scared, frustrated, disappointed, etc. But what about the whole world of feelings that go on inside of you that you incorrectly call one of the emotions you know, simply because you don’t know how what else to call it? For this reason, I’ve created a Feelings Wheel* for my clients. I suggest you download it, print it out, store it on your phone, do whatever it takes for you to have easy access to it and start to learn the words that will open up a whole new world of communication. Once you have that down, you can start to explore your inner experiences. We will tackle that next month. Happy learning!
*The Feelings Wheel will be available to download for free through May and then it will be available for purchase on my website.