Would it help you to be asked how you are doing from time to time?
It’s not for nothing that we usually answer the question “how are you?” with something like “quite well,” “okay,” or something similar.
Although, if we would think a little longer, we should rather say “I am often quite desperate”, “I am afraid because of the war”, “I am worried about …”.
Why do we behave like that?
We automatically protect ourselves from going deeper into a feeling in everyday life. So we manage to do what we need to do.
This is a healthy attitude.
Why do I still plead for talking more about feelings?
The above everyday attitude, if not supplemented by an evening reflection, can lead to a state of overload.
If instead we take time in a daily reflection to name and physically feel the feelings of the day (be careful: otherwise they are thoughts!), they can be expressed and processed by our brain.
With time and a little practice, this can easily be done in between times.
If we can not give our feelings this space, it leads to tension and even illness.
Or – and you can decide for yourself what you find worse – to not feeling your feelings anymore and furthermore being less empathetic. The way we grow up to this day, it sometimes seems easier to push our feelings away than to devote ourselves to them.
Why do we have this fear of feelings?
It may well be that when we allow ourselves to feel, we might become overwhelmed. It just doesn’t fit every situation to talk about deep feelings. We quite fear the friend who suddenly asks us in happy company how we are coping with the fact that one of our children is doing so badly right now.
it needs a framework, and it needs the willingness to embrace the feelings now!
One of my first therapists, to whom I am still grateful and whose name I unfortunately do not remember, said: “Feelings are always right.” That helped me at that time not to feel bad if I thought I suffered more from my feelings than people around me.
So in the end, the feeling that sometimes tells you that you don’t like to expose yourself to a deep conversation about feelings right now is also justified.
In our society, it is common and expected of adults at the latest to hold back on expressing feelings. Yet feelings can be processed and dealt with much better if we learn how to deal with them.
It is now proven that feelings can be better regulated by the brain if we name them1.
Fortunately, a lot of emotion work has already entered our kindergartens and schools with social learning.
When dealing with feelings is learned from a young age, a violent feeling can come up – and you already know what you need, know how to get it or how to deal with not getting it, and can move forward again.
What sounds so simple here is the result of your decision to attend to your feelings early on from now on, and a self-commitment to always ask yourself when you’re having intense feelings, “What do I need now?”
If you want to explore this more, I recommend my book “Sometimes Feelings Are Monsters”, in which I explain more about dealing with feelings supplemented by many practical exercises that have proven themselves for me and my coaching clients.
In times when such a shift to dealing differently with your feelings doesn’t fit right now, it helps with the feelings work to have a trusted person who supports you in acknowledging all current feelings and finding a helpful feeling that lets you look forward again.
The Gefühlsmonsters provide a structure and framework for this conversation.
After 17 years of experience with the Gefühlsmonsters® cards in their current form, I can say with certainty that they
– make it easier to become aware of one’s own feelings
– make it easier to address difficult feelings from the distance that viewing the expressive cartoon characters provides
– also make it easier to get back into a different emotional state.
What can such a conversation look like?
First of all, ask yourself:
Would it help you to be asked how you are doing from time to time?
Only you can decide what is good for you at the moment and what is not.
If so, a safe framework will help the feelings talk be of help to you.
Important for the framework:
– a reliable and mutually feasible appointment for the conversation
– you feel safe that your own wishes will be taken into account by the other person.
– you feel safe that the conversation will take place in an atmosphere of acceptance and that neither your behavior nor your feelings will be judged.
– you can be sure that the person you are talking to is not giving you advice – it is all about being heard and understood
– you can rely on your counterpart to keep the framework of the conversation.
What is the process for this conversation?
The method that can be used to have these conversations is called “Gefühlsmonster Scan”. I developed it years ago based on a tool from Arnold Mindell’s Process Work2, and we teach it successfully in almost all of our seminars. It is available for free in our Gefühlsmonsters Online Toolbox with instructions and is suitable for asking yourself every evening how your day was and what you need now to sleep well or be well prepared for tomorrow.
It’s best to try it out when you have a moment to do so.
The same method works just as well to ask someone else about his/her feelings. In a nutshell, it looks something like this:
The ritual from the point of view of the person supporting you. She/he asks:
– “How have you been today?” “How are you feeling?”
– “Would you like to pick a Gefühlsmonster to tell me about?” Or, “What monster do you like to say something about today?” (1-5 cards may be selected)
– She/he signals that they are listening.
– Nothing more!
Afterwards, they will either ask you:
– “What monster could support you there?” “How would you like to feel?”
Or they give you a monster “as present” combined with a good wish and explain why they think this might help you.
You might want to know how I came up with this conclusion for the conversation?
It came about like this: I know that we can learn better when we are well. Because then we have our brain with its complete capacity at our disposal.
And I know from my work as a lecturer that even people who hardly know each other can often empathize surprisingly well with others.
So I asked participants to give each other a Gefühlsmonster that they thought represented a strength of their counterpart.
You should have seen how all the participants were beaming when they came back from the exercise!
That’s why, since then, we like to do this exercise in different online workshops and always with the same result. Because: what could be better to all of us than to experience a little happy moment in this exhausting time?!!!
So I introduced this exercise part additionally into my structured feeling conversation, so that even in difficult feeling situations there is a conciliatory or helpful feeling at the end.
It is much easier to experience this method practically than to have it explained.
At the moment you can participate every two weeks in a free one hour online workshop “I’m listening to you” about this and get an idea.
No matter if you yourself would like to do this routine with another person for a while or if you wish someone would ask you about your feelings.
Here you can find our Academy-Website and enroll for the next workshop.
Thank you for sharing this news with people who might be interested!
And if you don’t have the chance to dedicate yourself to the topic of feelings, I would like to give you a word in addition:
The shortest way to feel good is to pay attention to beauty. To the beauty you see, the beauty you experience – and to let this feeling sink deep into your body. For a whole minute. You will see: if you integrate this into your everyday life, you will feel better all by yourself.
Wishing you a nice beginning spring,
Calasetta April 10., 2022
2The method by Arnold Mindell is called “Catching a Flirt”. The Pocess Work combines psychology with quantum theory. The idea is that something in your environment that attracts your gaze has something to do with you right now. Applied to the Gefühlsmonsters® cards, this means that if you look closely, the Gefühlsmonsters that attract your gaze have something to do with you, even if you don’t realize it right away. This way you can discover facets of your day that you might have missed without the cards.