The Ultimate Guide To Explaining Feelings
Explaining how you genuinely feel is an integral part of being able to connect with others. But not only that, it´s also important to make sure others can understand what exactly is going on with you so that they can better support you and know how to react.
I used to be really bad at this because half of the time I didn´t even know what I was feeling, which is entirely normal and okay. I didn´t know what to do about it and what to say when others asked me how to help or what was going on with me. So I thought maybe there´s someone out there, that would like to learn to express themselves better and connect on a deeper level with someone else. This process will not only be beneficial to the people around you because they will be able to be more empathetic towards you, it will also make you more mindful of your feelings, the emotions of others and maybe even get you the hug or words you need.
So here are the steps I often take:
- Evaluate how you feel quietly. This is where meditation can come in, and little check-in´s with yourself over the course of the day.
- Describe where in the body you feel something. Stomach? Chest? Tense neck?
- Try to feel where you do not sense this/these feeling/s
- Now focus on the sensation. What is its´quality? Strong or light?
- No judging, just feeling.
- What exactly does it feel like? Do not try to label it yet as anger or anxiety or happiness or annoyance. Try to use words that would describe something physical: "I feel tight and confined around my chest area." Or: "I can feel something like little bubbles rising from my stomach region to my throat." What are your muscles doing? Tensing or relaxing?
- If it helps, now is the time to try also to find an emotional word for it. There are lovely Pinterest posts with words to describe emotions- different words for anger/happiness/... that writers use, but this can also help you define what exactly it is you feel. Happiness might not be enough to truly describe it. I will link one of those "emotion wheels" as I like to call them down below.
- Again, try to not judge that emotion as good or bad, unwanted or wanted, unnecessary or essential.
- Try to identify what is making you react that way. Truly think about it. Are you angry because of the person that just screamed at you or because you believe what they said? Or don´t believe?
- Now identify what you need. Do you need alone-time to quietly sit with that emotion and just feel through it until it evaporates? Or do you need a hug? Or screaming/ crying/ journaling/...
- Go through this process with someone you trust or alone, but if you do this with another person, now is the time that they can try to help you figure out what you want to do. Really communicate all the sensations you feel- body and mind and then take action.
- Try to meet your needs to the best of your ability or have them met by another person. Cycle complete!
It helps greatly to truly talk about every step out loud with the person you´re trying to reach out to. And you do not need to label that emotion or use an emotion wheel, but I know that it helps me and those around me.
This may sound over the top, and I know that I don´t always manage to do this 12-step-system because I REACT instead of RESPONDING to what is happening or I don´t have the patience to just sit with it. But every time I do, the emotion can fully pass through me and everyone can truly understand me. I also don´t offend people as quickly because they know where my reactions are coming from if I do lash out. Fewer misunderstandings. This system is not here so that you can try to police yourself and get angry at yourself when you don´t manage to do this. It´s a suggestion and something to try, and when it happens then that´s amazing, and if not then that´s okay too.
Finally, you maybe feel uncomfortable doing all the steps openly and would rather talk to someone else after you have already figured out most of the steps and just need help finding out what you need and how to fulfill that need. But it´s still great to get acquainted with the quality of your emotions and genuinely feel them- get to know yourself a little better. Be brave.
Have a great day and stay here.
PS: The "emotion wheel" I was talking about: https://pin.it/7su6i5qe2uyz63