BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR EMOTIONS
Healthy relationships, or relationships that we value, are generally the ones where we feel connected. We have something in common (the same goal, common interests, values, etc.) and we respect each other. That means we value each others opinions and perspectives, we listen to each other, we are patient and kind, we want the best for each other and we support each other.
That's not really what my relationship with my emotions looked like as I mentioned in the last blog post, Completely Out of Touch. The day I realized that we actually had emotions for a reason and that they had a real purpose in our lives, I suddenly realized how abusive I had been towards them (ignoring them, disregarding them and suppressing them). I wanted to make it right and to build a new relationship with them. I knew I had feelings and I wanted to learn to feel them and to listen to them, because they might have some information that could be useful to me.
Start from the beginning
I quickly realized that to change my relationship with my emotions, I would need to learn to really feel and know what I was feeling. Sounds easy right? Well, it's not! I spent many hours in front of a list of feelings, staring at it blankly and asking myself "what am I feeling right now?" Sometimes the feelings were loud and clear and sometimes I didn’t hear a peep. But I just stuck with it, as if I was calling my new friend every day to see how they were doing.
Getting to know each other
Yes, building this relationship with my feelings was much like meeting a new friend or even dating. I didn't really know much about them to begin with, but I was curious. So I set up dates with them to get to know them. The more time we spent together, the more places we went together, the more we 'spoke' and got to know each other, the closer we got.
It took time. It took effort. It took patience. It took an open and a curious mind. And it was so worth it.
So what did these dates look like?
- we would plan a time and place to meet (we tried different places and times - it's always best to get to know each other in different contexts to get a full picture)
- we would meet (cancelling doesn't leave a good impression so we didn't do much of that)
- we would then spend quality time together. Genuinely taking interest in each other, talking and listening, clarifying things when they didn't make sense, etc.
With time, as we began to know each other, I would know what I was feeling much more quickly and clearly. I would also know what those feelings were all about and what they were trying to make me aware of.
This relationship, quite simply, has changed my life. I know myself better. I make better decisions. I feel less dragged down and I feel more at ease knowing that I am on the right track and I have a friend I can count on.
To help me along the way, I used Feeling Magnets, a tool that reminded me of my dates, that serves as a prompt to help me find my feelings and offers a framework to understand what is behind the feelings.
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