I’d like to start off with this idea that all feelings are valid.
Not only are all feelings valid, but there’s no such thing as good feelings and bad feelings, or even positive feelings and negative feelings. But rather, there’s just pleasant feelings and unpleasant feelings.
The reason why I want to shift that language is because good or bad and positive or negative implies that there are feelings that are right for us to feel and the wrong for us to feel. This idea is widely contested by mental health professionals today, and personally, I believe that all feelings are useful.
All feelings – all of them – carry very important messages.
Unfortunately, many of us have been taught otherwise.
Here is a very short list of things some people (including me!) may have learned about feelings:
- Feelings are inappropriate.
- Pleasant feelings are okay, but unpleasant feelings are bad.
- Feelings are shameful
- Feelings are not logical
- Feelings are not useful
- Feelings get in the way of making important decisions.
- We’re responsible for one another’s feelings
- Some feelings are just too much, too big, and make others uncomfortable. (See above point.)
It’s really interesting to see the variety of things we were taught growing up, and how they’ve served us and how they haven’t served us. I think it’s important for us to recognize these so we can really reevaluate them consciously as adults. Do I want to choose to continue believing that, or might I make space to get curious about other ways of relating with my feelings?
Here’s a list of feeling words. There are so, so, so many feeling words, and we usually tend to use very few of them to communicate. Often feelings vocab consists of happy, mad, sad…and that’s about it. We tend to utilize those same words over and over again, and I believe that doing so does us a disservice.
So, why might it be beneficial to develop a more robust feelings vocabulary? What if I told you that feelings were just the tip of the iceberg, that feelings are actually a language of their own, an internal communication system wired into humans? What if I told you that unlocking this communication system is a powerful key to having a more fulfilling life?
How of Happy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to doing just that by teaching self awareness and how to create your ideal life.
Tisse is the founder of How of Happy. Their journey with teaching and coaching started 16 years ago when they were struggling deeply with mental health and found that traditional routes of counseling, psychology, and psychiatry didn’t work for them. Since then, Tisse has traveled around the world studying personal growth topics including leadership, emotional intelligence, neuroscience, mindfulness, and spirituality. While not in work mode, Tisse finds bits of happiness while taking photographs, especially of small details in new places, eating fresh fruit, and spending time with family.