We’re continuing to unpack the “Men and Openness” survey responses, focusing today upon the second most popular response (53.45%) from the men: “I don’t know how to articulate my feelings.” However, I would like to focus today on one key aspect of articulating feelings—becoming more self-aware about our feelings. (Wives listen up, because this is something you need to learn to do too!)
Identifying our feelings comes before articulating them and is really much harder than it might seem.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that most adults don’t know how to identify their feelings on any proficient level. Most adults simply get by in this area of life!
Think about it … We can easily go through our day experiencing a myriad of emotions, but ignore or stuff every single one of them! Can you relate?
So how do you become more self-aware of your emotional and interior world?
1. Slow down your pace in an effort to “notice” your feelings.
When someone does something that bothers you, don’t react or brush it off. In fact, you might want to jot down a private note about the emotion-filled encounter, so that you can reflect back on it later.
2. Give yourself time to consider the emotions (positive and negative) later in your day after your emotions have calmed and your perspective has cleared.
It might be tempting at this point to brush it off and move on, because your emotions have calmed down. Problem solved! Right? Uh … you couldn’t be more wrong!
[Tweet “Negative emotions don’t go away without a positive and intentional intervention. “]
[Tweet “Negative emotions that are buried rise up like zombies to haunt you later! #dealwithyourheart”]
3. Seek God’s illumination.
Anytime you feel negative emotions, immediately pray and ask God to reveal to you what exactly you are feeling. It’s amazing how much clarity I’ve gained by simply turning to God to reveal what is humanly difficult to identify in the moment.
4. Talk more freely about any emotions you can identify.
This is especially true for those times when you would normally move on or flip into logic mode. Changing that habit is like planting seeds of hope and honesty in the soil of your relationship. In time, it will produce a bumper-crop of emotional-awareness that you’ll be feasting on with your mate!
One word of caution, don’t focus on sharing your negative emotions at the outset. Begin with positive emotions and then move on to identify negative emotions that are not as intense—working your way up slowly in time. And if you don’t know what words describe your feelings, read over and regularly refer to a “Feeling Words” list like the one I’m providing for you today. Now, doesn’t that make you feel “happy”? 😉
5. Consider seeking the help of a counselor or life-coach.
Not only will you get the opportunity to practice sharing your feelings in a safe, objective and private environment … But often if you have significant trouble identifying your emotions, there’s most likely a wound that needs to be processed with the help of a neutral third party. Remember that tweet about negative emotions being like “zombies”? Well, in this case picture the Zombie Apocalypse! You don’t want to ignore that for long! Can you say “Messy Marriage Meltdown”?
Next week I will be addressing some of the ways you, as a couple, can learn to better articulate feelings with each other. That involves responsibility on both sides of the relational equation, so “ladies,” you’re joining the men on the hot seat next week as well!
[Tweet “Christian bloggers, join us for another Wedded Wed. Linkup! #messymarriage”]
What tends to hinder you most from identifying your emotions in the moment?
What tips would you add to my list?
Be sure to check out the video interview I did with my hubby recently on the subject of why it’s difficult for him as a man to open up and share his feelings. It’s really quite revealing and helpful. You can go directly to that post here.
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