'I think I feel' is a phase that we often use in every day conversation with others and ourselves. When I hear that phase in a session with a client I am aware that their mind might be projecting onto their feelings. Our thoughts do not have feelings. We are emotional beings with feelings. So is our mind the authority on how we feel?
When 'I think I feel happy about that' is said I hear the client say 'my mind is assessing the situation and recognises that I have previously felt happy in a similar situation or I should feel happy in this situation'. Our culture and societal expectation is to use our minds and believe the narrative our mind creates. To be logical is valued over any other faculty we have at our disposal.
We forget that our senses are present, our body and skin is a receptor and channel through which we can truly establish how we feel in any given moment. Are you listening?
The world is a very distracting place for our mind, body and spirit to reside. Is it any wonder that we find it difficult to know how it is we feel and we first must ask our mind for validation.
The human brain creates neural pathways. For example, do you remember what order you get ready in the morning, are you aware of the drive from here to there, are you in autopilot? We are automatically following neural pathways that have been created previously. The more repetition in a behaviour, thought, or emotional response to a situation, the more reinforced it becomes. Research indicates we have over 6000 thoughts per day. How many of those thoughts are we aware of?
The challenge is to be the observer in our own mind to connect into our inner guide and intuition so that we can just know how it is we feel.
To aid us tap into this endless resource is to simply be present. This can be done by watching the breath, coming back to our body, and asking ourselves 'how do I feel?'. Notice if there is any sensation in the body and allowing ourselves to be curious, breathing into the sensation and observe any changes. Maybe you won't know the word to describe the emotion present. Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions is a great worksheet to help start to develop our vocabulary to support us in becoming attuned to how it is we feel.
The opportunity is there for your to explore further. The aim might be to develop your understanding and awareness of your emotions, where they reside in your body, the thoughts that led to the emotion and the behaviours that follow.
Next time you notice saying 'I think I feel...' is an opportunity to allow yourself a moment to breath, connect to the body and allow space for your emotions to surface and be acknowledged. Then, reframe your response to 'I feel..'
Take care and go well,