Feelings and my problem with NUMBING.
Happy Friday! The past year and a half I’ve thought about my feelings more than, well, ever.
I attended the Hoffman Process in 2017, and it made me realize that I’d done a pretty great job of numbing out and deciding it was safer to feel nothing, than anything.
But, of course, this was a protective mechanism.
And even if it may be safer, I realized it wasn’t the way I wanted to live my life. Playing it safe was no longer what I wanted to do—I wanted to experience my own life!
It had gotten to the point where I was always “fine.” I didn’t think I was depressed because I never really felt “bad,” (although I was grumpy quite a bit…) but I also never really felt super happy, or excited.
A few years ago, Christian and I planned this big trip to Europe, and as excited as I “should” have been, I realized—I felt nothing.
Don’t get me wrong, I went and enjoyed myself (and probably escaped emotionally by eating too many croissants), but I definitely wasn’t in touch with my feelings, and they weren’t really “alerting” me, either.
The first day of my Process, we were handed a list of “feeling words.” This was mind boggling to me.
It was like a slap in my face about everything I’d avoided for so many of my adult years.
At the time, if you’d asked me how I was feeling, like most people, I would say “good” or “OK” or “fine.”
In fact, they gave me this list of feeling words, and those 3 words were not on it. Uh oh.
We used the list to articulate how we were feeling the entire week, and it really forced myself to expand my thinking and language around what “feeling” was, and allow myself to go there.
When I left, I was so worried I’d “lose” it all and go back to being numb, trying to protect myself—worried I’d go back to my thinking that “feeling nothing was better than feeling bad”.
So I made my own feelings list that I attached to my journal, and every day I now make myself write out 3 “feeling words” when I do my morning check-in and gratitude practice.
You can download the list here, if you’d like to take a look.
Every morning, I simply close my eyes for 2-3 seconds. I scan through my body, and ask myself “how am I feeling today?”
I open my eyes, and search through the list of feeling words, and choose 3 (or more, if it feels right!) that resonate with that moment.
I’ve included a list of “body sensations” on there as well. I try to be aware of these because when I first started being mindful of my feelings and the language I used to express them, all I could really come up with were body sensations.
I think it’s important to note the difference, but of course both are valid.
There’s no judgment of those feelings I write down for the day.
There’s no consequence if the feeling isn’t “positive.” The point is to acknowledge it, and allow it to exist—even if it isn’t a “good” feeling.
So, how are you feeling? Close your eyes, take a few breaths, and scan through that list and pick 3 words—or pick 3 words that aren’t on the list! It’s just a starting point for inspiration.
Today, I am feeling:
1. open hearted
Some days, I feel words that aren’t so exciting. And that’s okay, too—it’s good in fact!
It means, I’m alive.
Maybe naming those feelings brings you some awareness that you can keep with you for the day. Or maybe it doesn’t.
Either way, it’s a small piece of work that I do every that helps me stay connected to myself. To make sure I stay intentional, and alive in my own life.
I think if we could talk about feelings with people more, and use actual feeling words to describe them, instead of “good,” “fine,” and “ok,” we’d all feel more connected, too.
I hope you can save this list and use it for yourself, if you find it helpful!
Remember, we’ve also got our Kickstart series going on on YouTube all month long! Here’s a recap of this week’s videos, if you missed any!
Thank you for spending some time with me today. I hope you’re feeling amazing today, but if you’re not, know that that’s okay too!
Light and love,