Feelings Engaged

Feelings. Dictionary.com defines the word as “physical sensation not connected with sight, hearing, taste, or smell.” Is it physical? When my feelings are hurt, I am not physically hurt. So what are feelings? How do you define this word without using the word?

Recently I struggle to describe my feelings and also to be able to explain why I feel the way I do. What causes one to feel sad, lonely, happy, upset, aggravated and every other type of feeling? For the last few months, I have had no reason to feel sad, yet I wouldn’t say I am happy, so am I sad? Can one not be happy but also not be sad? I’m asking lots of questions because the fact is I have lots of questions lately when it comes to feelings.

Yesterday, in a business meeting, where usually I never take things personally, especially since I work fashion retail and there is enough ego in the room already, but yesterday I did take something personally. No need for the details, but having checked in with others in the room, it was a rude comment, definitely directed at me. I don’t work for the person who made it, the person is a peer and someone I don’t interact with much at all, so why do I care? Why let this bother me? Over 24 hours later and I am wondering that myself.

This morning I read a post from my daughter’s blog. She is writing about her travels in Colombia, her Dad’s homeland. The post was about her connecting with her cousins there, primos as she calls them. My feelings were both happy and sad. Happy that she is adjusting to her home for the next year, yet sad that she was. How can I be happy and sad about the same thing? And why in the world would I be sad at all?

These are two examples of many instances where I cannot explain my feelings. I don’t hate my job, but I literally do hate having to go to work every day. I have this desire to step out on my own, but a fear that if I fail, not me, but my whole family would loose their security. Fear and desire. Just like being happy and sad. How does one cope with these opposite feelings?

As we age, do we look at everything differently? I honestly don’t remember having these opposing emotions going on in my head and heart at the same time until recently. Seems when I was younger, I was, most of the time, completely happy. If someone, such as a co worker, said something offensive toward me, I don’t think I lingered on it. I usually said something back or just let it go. When I was angry or sad, I knew why – and so did everyone else. But I knew, I could explain my feelings. But now, not so much.

So do our feelings get exaggerated as we get older? Does our flood of emotions over so many years make it harder to let go of some feelings and harder to clearly define what we feel? I would think as we age, emotions would be easier to understand. Clearer to define. But for me, that hasn’t been the case. My emotions are more of a roller coaster than ever before. Harder to control and harder to not let them control my actions.

Could it be because as we age, life is just happening so much quicker. Is my life just so busy that I don’t have time to fully grasp my feelings? To really enjoy those circumstances and people who make me smile? To understand when hurt and upset, but then to let it go, especially when it doesn’t truly affect who I am.

So for the next week, between now and Thanksgiving, I am going to slow down, breathe deeply and re-engage with my feelings. Perhaps write in my “journal” ( my IPhone notes) and document when I’m happy and when I am sad and more importantly, why. Perhaps a week from now, I will have clearer picture and truly understand what I am thankful for.

First entry. Tonight I’m happy. I am happy because I walked out of class with a student, who was so excited about her future, and so excited to share that with me and ask me questions, like I was some sort of expert! My ego craved that feeling of connection, of mentoring, of helping her understand a little more about the business. It felt good to have her company.

I wonder how I will feel tomorrow?

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