Sensations (guest post by picasso)

What happens when we feel? I am not an expert but I have enough biological knowledge to know what happens when we touch something. The far more interesting question is not what happens scientifically, but more what it does to us when we experience certain sensations. 

Sometimes the number of occurrences, sounds and smells around us can be overwhelming. There is a great difference between being encountered with a friend or stranger. Social encounters like these can cause issues like stress, anxiousness and nervousness. A simple handshake can lead to a feeling of disgust, not necessarily because we are disgusted by the person, but by the fact that we don’t like the feeling of a stranger touching us.  

I am generally repelled by strangers touching me. I have mostly overcome my avoidance of handshakes because I don’t want to appear to be rude, but it still makes me very uncomfortable often. So, I wipe my hands almost every time. It’s easier with people my age, but it’s not a feeling I enjoy. It definitely is worse with bigger encounters, like hugs. I only experience these things with people I don’t know and it seems like it is more common than I think it is. Still, some of my friends think it is odd that I can’t touch strangers without having to wash my hands or wipe them against my trousers.  

What they don’t know is that it relieves a large amount of stress which come along with those interactions. It helps me, it calms me down. And this is the problem: when we don’t understand the actions or behavior of others because we feel like it deviates from the norm, we make them feel even more uncomfortable than they already are. You can probably already imagine where I’m going with this. You fall into a vicious circle and it appears to be the case that no matter what you do you will feel uncomfortable. Either you yourself think something is off or others do.  

This feeling of being overwhelmed can happen with a lot of things, not only interactions with strangers. Listening to multiple overlapping voices is almost penetrating to me. If I can’t tune it out, I just cover my ears with both hands and take deep breaths. 

In most situations, I leave whenever I can. When I can’t, I listen to music or just try to stay calm. This only happens to me when I’m alone, not when I’m with a friend. 

So, obviously there are positive and negative sensations. I guess I never really took enough time to actually feel all of it, so now it’s overwhelming again. But it’s okay because I know that it’s not going to stay like this. I have to befriend the negative sensations, get used to their occurrence. 

Positive sensations have the power of creating happiness with little gestures. If you allow yourself to accept the fact that some interactions are troubling, you need to allow yourself to feel the rewarding sensations. The simplest things can have the biggest impact. It is astonishing. Like everything else, context is crucial but if you find a situation or person you feel so comfortable with where you don’t mind the social situation at all, that feeling is priceless. You are able to tune out all the shit that is going on around you and focus on you doing something or spending time with someone else.  

It’s hard to describe it because it is one of these things you just have to feel. But if you allow yourself to do so, you will not regret it.  

Sometimes we have to jump into things. Over time, we have questioned our gut feeling and decided against it. Eventually, we condition ourselves to think about stuff that wouldn’t be necessary. It’s important to think before deciding but it is equally as important to trust your initial feeling because that feeling, that decision, was made by you.  

I know that this sometimes doesn’t work. But if you feel like you have reached a point where it could, you should try. 

PS: thank you to the author for sharing this with the world- i am forever grateful to you. i love you. always.

Elza BuderComment