I’ve been doing some more work with emotional awareness and mindfulness. This is quickly becoming something that has a firm grasp on my interest and focus. And one of the things that I am zeroing in on is the difference between :
• Thinking about feelings
• Feeling the feelings
Historically, I am hugely analytic. Ask anyone who knows me. They will confirm that at some point or another, I have undoubtedly made them a bit crazy with my tendency to analyze and over-analyze anything and everything.
I can’t recall a time in my life when I didn’t try and understand why things happened the way they did. As I experienced life more, my need to understand why things happened gave way to understanding how things happened.
I believe the transition from why to how occurred because life taught me a bit about acceptance. Even as I write this now, it seems to me that why comes from more of a non-accepting place. I wanted to understand because I wasn’t content or accepting of what happened. A great example of this would be when you ask yourself or someone else “why did that person have to do that” In essence, by asking why we are also questioning why something else did not happen. It sounds extremely non-accepting to me.
But when I began to become more interested in how, I stopped asking why. By asking how, in essence I am saying that I accept it is happening this way or that it will happen this way, but I am looking to understand more about the process. I have accepted that there is nothing for me to do regarding whether it happens or not – but rather I can learn more about the occurrence.
If all this analyzing and thinking sounds like a lot of work, that is correct! I spent so much time thinking and over-thinking, analyzing and over-analyzing, that I left myself very little ability to feel anything. Lo and behold, there was an entirely different dimension to who I was that I knew practically nothing about. My emotional development suffered greatly due to the fact that I felt so much more comfortable in my intellectual self. It felt so much safer to me because that is where I had experienced success and established so much more familiarity.
I tried to break down one concept into a lot of words to assure readers can relate to where I’m going with this. We cannot bring ourselves into balance unless we allow all of who we are to develop; even the part or parts we are not comfortable facing.
Learning to become aware of the way I am feeling in the moment was not something comfortable for me – rather, it is something I avoided for a long time because of just how afraid of it I was. I had to do a lot of work on myself before I was ready to get there. But now that I have begun the process, there is nothing that makes me feel more complete and I choose to devote a part of my day practicing emotional awareness through practicing mindfulness – also known as ‘self-care,’ for the rest of my life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!