It is amazing how many times I ask a patient to tell me how they feel and they answer with what they think. Feelings can be overwhelming and scary to many people. Thinking is actually safer and makes people feel more secure. Here is an example of a conversation I had the other day with someone.
Mary (name changed for privacy purposes), “At the party the kids were all coming to sit with me and even the kids of my siblings and friends were coming to sit with me.”
Me, “How did that make you feel?”
Mary, “I wondered why they were not sitting with their own parents and wondered if I had coddled my own kids too much.”
Me, “Do you realize that you have not named your feelings, just what you were thinking about?”
Mary, “No, hmmm, what was I feeling? Pride, Yes, that is it. I felt proud.”
Her face was lighting up now and tears were forming in her eyes. That quickly faded as she said, “That is not good, is it? I shouldn’t feel proud.”
I watched her shoulders tighten, her breathing became shallow, and she looked distracted.
There is more to this story but let’s stop here and look at a few things.
Feelings make us feel.
In this case Mary was moving more blood and oxygen through her body which was making her more relaxed. Her face was flushed and she was about to cry. She stopped the process by allowing her brain to take over. Many of us judge that feelings are messy. Messy means we are somehow out of control which can make us uncomfortable. Thinking gives us the illusion that we are in touch with what is going on in our bodies. Our brain (even though it is housed in the body), does not want us to feel uncomfortable. The mind wants to keep us from feeling anything that “it” judges is a threat to “its” survival. You see, as soon as you are feeling, you are not thinking and the mind (or ego) is threatened.
This is clearly a very huge topic that requires a much deeper look and yet just for today, let’s stop and just try one experiment.
Today, name a feeling that you are having especially one that is causing you discomfort, and just stay with it. When the thoughts start, acknowledge that you are thinking and then just go right back to feeling.
There is nothing to fix. There is nothing to change. Feelings and emotions are just energy in motion. They want to move. Let them.
If you want help, I am happy to assist. Write or call me and we can book a session. Sometimes it is helpful to have a guide for the journey.
anitab@anitabondidesigns or 570-421-3708