Identifying emotions

Hey people with emotions,

I am going to let you in on a little secret… your emotions..? They’re normal. Not knowing how to deal with them, is also pretty normal. To know how to accept and deal with the rage, the happiness, excitement, sadness, glee, and confusion, you must know how to identify those emotions. You must know what you’re feeling in order to properly work through it all.

Before you start jumping to conclusions , ask yourself a number of things:

  1. What feelings am I aware of? (this could be many)
  2. What feeling is most prominent?
  3. When did I become aware I was feeling this?

You may come up with a couple of conclusions such as

“I feel fine” or “I don’t know how I feel”

If you find yourself saying to others when they ask or even yourself that you’re “fine” even when you know you’re not, start to push yourself past that. Ask yourself what “fine” really means when you say it in those terms. We often tell ourselves that “fine” is the easiest answer because teens are often seen as attention seeking when they express otherwise. If you find yourself telling someone you’re fine, take a second look at what that really could be doing to you. In the moment that answer could be the easiest. People will then leave you alone and push it to the back of their minds. Go about their time with you as normal without even knowing about your internal battle with yourself. But later on when you’re faking a smile because people around you think you’re okay, that’s when it could get rough.

If you’re telling yourself you don’t know how you feel, take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

  • how is your home life?
  • are you getting along with everyone? (Friends, family, other relationships)
  • How is work/school? Are you enjoying it? Are you getting along with co-workers/peers? Do you know how your peers feel about you? Are you feeling validated when you should be?
  • how do you feel when you’re alone? Is it different around other people?

Look for any patterns in your life and if you know what they tell you. If you start telling yourself things like “I don’t have any reason to feel this way”, think about it. You don’t have to justify your feelings and judge yourself based on what you feel. Before you judge yourself and chastise the situation, know that you can’t get by without emotion. Life events generate feelings. What you’re going through is essential to being a teenager and a member of society. Though we prioritize which feelings we choose to attend to, we can’t decide what to feel and what not to feel. We have to be able to identify them so we can let them breathe and give them a moment so we can either fix or replace the emotions.

One thing we hear often is to “block out all the negatives”. When saying this to another, it can potentially cause more harm than it would good. That person may end up believing that them focusing on the negatives in the first place makes them weak or is a sign of failure. When trying to help someone, telling them what not to do with their emotions shouldn’t be the case. It ends up being a really bad position for the advisor when trying to help someone.

Instead of “blocking out” the negative feelings, speak about them and think them through. Let go of that fear and stigma around negative emotions. It’s healthier to talk emotions through rather than trying to ignore them. The fact is, admitting fear to ourselves and loved ones can make these problems go away quicker or shrink in size. It makes perfect sense too. The more stoic you are about negative emotions, the more intense it will grow. When the feelings are dismissed, it’s likely they’ll grow, not diminish.

People are often afraid to face a feeling in fear of what it will lead to. Giving reassurance that ones feelings are justified can send them on their way to getting rid of it entirely. Confronting a feeling is not the same as our response to the feeling. When facing an emotion like anger, it won’t always mean we will act out on it. By taking deep breaths, letting yourself think about you instead of what’s angering you, or focusing on the problem at hand, it can lead to a much successful state of control. Our response to emotions always remains in our control unless under drug-altered states or in cases of severe pathological states.

So if you ever need anything, we’re here to help. It’s just us.

References:

Cusack Handler, J. (2018, January 19). Identifying Your Feelings How to discover and make sense of what you feel. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/art-and-science/201801/identifying-your-feelings

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