Often I find I am incapable of articulating my feelings: sometimes because of how vulnerable I am feeling inside and because of the reaction that that articulation might bring from others; sometimes because I have no idea what I’m feeling; and at other times because I have trouble distinguishing thoughts from feelings. That’s where having a ‘feelings vocabulary’ can help – too often, it seems easier to describe a situation or my thoughts about a situation, than to look inside and identify how I feel about it. Having a set of ‘feelings words’ in front of me can help to direct my attention inward, and can help me to connect with my emotional state, rather than to intellectualise it.
I find this post incredibly helpful because it both provides a ‘feelings vocabulary’, and reminds us that our feelings, in and of themselves, are neither right nor wrong. Our feelings simply ‘are’ – they are valid and legitimate, and being able to ‘own’ them is one of the biggest challenges that we can face. We can so easily get entrenched in the pattern of judging both our feelings and ourselves for having them (often because of messages that we were given in the past, either consciously or unconsciously, by others). Accepting our emotions, and allowing ourselves to feel them, can have immense healing power. I hope that being able to identify those emotions, and having a range of words with which to describe them will help me, and hopefully others as well, to take the first steps on the road towards that acceptance.