Feelings: From strangers to friends
Sometimes we know exactly what we are feeling and sometimes all we know is that we feel down or upset or agitated. It can be really uncomfortable to have this unknown feeling. It’s like someone or something is spying on us looking over our shoulder or lurking behind our backs. We would feel much better if this stranger would just show its face and look us in the eyes.
The thing is, we often don’t seek out this stranger. We don’t seek out the feeling we have. We like to pretend that they aren’t even there. As if ignoring them might make them turn around and walk away or magically disappear. Ironically, it’s only when we know what we are facing that we can deal with it in the best possible way.
Locate the stranger
If we can find the stranger (our feeling) then we can unveil who they really are. So the question is where is this stranger? Look around, scan and observe. Where is the feeling? Which part of your body is it resting in? Is it in your chest? You back? Your neck? Your stomach? Somewhere else?
Discover the stranger
Once you found the stranger who has been lurking around, inspect them. Scan them from head to toe, up and down. What do they look like? What do they feel like? What color are they? What shape are they? What sounds are they making or what words are they saying? Be curious and wonder what is there. What does this stranger feel like? Heavy? Light? Twisted? Fragmented? Floaty? Prickly? Smooth?
Get to know the stranger
Once you get a clear picture, ask the stranger it’s name. What does it like to be called? Then make a mental note to yourself to remember what this stranger felt like and what they are called. Memorise it.
Recognizing the stranger
Sometimes the stranger we find within us, this mysterious feeling that we don’t quite know, isn’t there for the first time. Actually, often that feeling has showed up before, but we just weren’t paying attention. We didn’t want to see them. We didn’t take the time to get curious and get to know them. If we did a good job of remembering the feeling and it’s name, we will recognize it when it shows up again.
Befriending the stranger
If we do take the time to get to know the stranger, they aren’t lurking, suspicious and intimidating strangers anymore. They might even become our friends. The next time they show up we can say “Ah, hello, it’s you again”, and get straight into understanding what they came to tell us or make us aware of.
So considering that our feelings are within us, inside us and part of us, it’s hard to ignore them forever. Actually, it’s impossible, because they will constantly be there to remind us of their presence. And if catching your attention in one way doesn’t work, then they will find another way to get it. So if your feelings are strangers to you, then get one thing straight: they are strangers that are not going anywhere, so you might as well get to know them.
Next time a strange feeling comes to you, really feel it. Be curious about it. Get to know it. Name it. Become friends with it. Then that feeling down or upset, is not longer just down or upset, but you might learn that the heaviness in your chest is a sign to you that you are sad about something, that you have lost something and that you need time to reflect, heal and connect. Or some other feeling and it’s messages, because they all have messages for us.