What is this I am Feeling?

I am fascinated by feelings and emotions, and I talk a lot about these in a very descriptive way with my clients. As humans we encounter a variety of feelings, most of which we don’t have a proper definition for. So, in response to “How do you feel?”, we typically fluctuate between the core feelings: anger, happiness, fear and sadness.

In addition, there are over 27 types of emotions that we have identified which mostly stem from the core feelings described above. In our lifetime, as we heal from our traumas and disappointments, we will repeatedly experience many different emotions in different contexts and in different stages of life. As we work on ourselves, we tend to check off the emotional states that we are no longer in as if the only road to success is to overcome negative feelings and only strive for happiness. Well, if you are a human like me, you know that happiness is a state of mind that comes and goes interweaved in a palette of emotions that shape and form who we are. So, when happiness takes a walk, we need to acknowledge and define what is present, until happiness and joy come back.

When we “heal” a trauma, we believe it is done as well as the emotion associated with that experience, never to return. But, trauma has layers and emotions exist in all of those layers. So, when I recently had a very devastating, familiar, loss; I found myself face-to-face with grief, again over the same experience. The difference this time is that after, unsuccessfully, trying to fight it, I recognized it and welcomed it as an old friend. It humbled me to learn that there were layers in my body where it was still so present and that were calling for my attention to process, now from a different perspective. The only way to “be” with the feeling was for me to give myself that time and space to acknowledge its existence and to bow down to its messiness and the message that it was giving me. I had to summon all the patience and courage I could muster to be able to just sit with myself. As I did this, I experienced a whole new re-learning of my reality and who I thought I was. It gave me devastating clarity about what I had sacrificed and why I had done so. It made me rethink my whole existence. All the while emotionally paralyzing me which was a survival mechanism to allow me to go through the grief.

Writing about my experience and being surrounded by my loving and patient family is part of the healing. This is as real as it gets! And all I can do is welcome it as another opportunity for growth by giving myself permission to feel the same emotions, mourn the same losses, and think the same thoughts. Albeit differently, because I am a different person.