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  1. #1
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Default "How does that make you feel?" I don't know!

    This isn't really a rant, but a question for people.

    I have incredible, incredible difficulty labeling my feelings and experience, which is somewhat strange because I'm very good at labeling other things (usually abstract) and take joy in it, too. I was seeing a therapist a while back who would occasionally ask me "how do you feel right now?" I had absolutely no idea. The only feelings I can clearly identify are sadness and infatuation which have very distinct psychological and physiological features. The rest I'm terrible at.

    I'm curious about a few things.

    1. Are you naturallly aware of how you are feeling throughout the day, or only when you call attention to it?
    2. When you do call attention to it, can you identify what your feeling? How good are you discriminating between different feelings? How many different feelings (or shades of feelings) can you identify?
    3. How would you go about improving your ability to identify your feelings?

  2. #2
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    I have a hard time with this, too, especially when pressure is put on me to answer. I can see it clearer at other times, but never fully clear... Or maybe I know, but just cannot articulate it?


    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    This isn't really a rant, but a question for people.

    I have incredible, incredible difficulty labeling my feelings and experience, which is somewhat strange because I'm very good at labeling other things (usually abstract) and take joy in it, too. I was seeing a therapist a while back who would occasionally ask me "how do you feel right now?" I had absolutely no idea. The only feelings I can clearly identify are sadness and infatuation which have very distinct psychological and physiological features. The rest I'm terrible at.

    I'm curious about a few things.

    1. Are you naturallly aware of how you are feeling throughout the day, or only when you call attention to it?
    2. When you do call attention to it, can you identify what your feeling? How good are you discriminating between different feelings? How many different feelings (or shades of feelings) can you identify?
    3. How would you go about improving your ability to identify your feelings?

  3. #3
    rawr Costrin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    1. Are you naturallly aware of how you are feeling throughout the day, or only when you call attention to it?
    Only when attention is called to it, or when it's particularly powerful (rare).

    2. When you do call attention to it, can you identify what your feeling? How good are you discriminating between different feelings? How many different feelings (or shades of feelings) can you identify?
    I can usually identify the general area of the emotion. I don't really have a lot of shades to my emotions. It's like a step up from your basic box of crayons in terms of number of shades.

    3. How would you go about improving your ability to identify your feelings?
    I have no idea. Taking more time to think about how I'm feeling, and why I guess.
    "All humour has a foundation of truth."
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    I think of that as a male thing. I remember years ago complaining to a counselor that my boyfriend only ever said "I don't know" when I asked him how he felt, and the counselor said, "Maybe he really doesn't know," and that was a total revelation to me.

    I remember being very very young and bursting into tears over something and my mother saying, "Oh, you're tired," and I suddenly realized she was exactly right, I was crying because I was tired.

    Maybe it's just about knowing what words to attach.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Kyrielle's Avatar
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    1. Are you naturallly aware of how you are feeling throughout the day, or only when you call attention to it?

    To some degree, yes. But how my general mood is (very different from feeling something specific) is heavily influenced by external conditions. If I am consistently in a non-threatening environment (meaning I am not anxious for whatever reason), then I will not notice me feeling anything or take note of how I am feeling--nothing is wrong, so why take the time to check up on myself?

    2. When you do call attention to it, can you identify what your feeling? How good are you discriminating between different feelings? How many different feelings (or shades of feelings) can you identify?

    Yes, but not quickly. I have to think about it before I can be certain of what I'm feeling. I could be very nervous about something (like hands trembling), but not be able to recognise what kind of nervous it is until I am well outside of the situation. It takes me a long time to figure my own feelings out, which is odd considering I can pick up on other peoples' feelings rather quickly.

    I'm all right distinguishing one shade of an emotion from another, the problem is always the time it takes to do so. I have to process and analyse a lot of what was happening and what I was thinking before I can have a clear idea of what emotion I was feeling at the time. Even then, the result is skewed because it's based off of memory.

    I don't know.

    3. How would you go about improving your ability to identify your feelings?

    Probably by writing about them. I find that once I've sat down and written a description of the feeling, it makes more sense to me and the definition is catalogued for later use. All of these definitions are described in figurative language, drawing parallels between different concepts to create an understanding of what the feeling is like when it has been experienced. I actually enjoy doing this quite a lot, as it allows me to explore my emotions on a "detached" abstract level that feels more comfortable with the way I process the world.
    "I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference."

    Robert Frost

  6. #6

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    I run into this a lot. When people ask if I am happy, I say I'm not really sure what that's supposed to feel like. My answer to "How do you feel?" is often "I don't know".

    I hope Tiltyred spreads the word that that isn't a cop out answer
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  7. #7
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    1. Are you naturallly aware of how you are feeling throughout the day, or only when you call attention to it?
    As far as my general emotional state goes, yes, I'm naturally aware of how I'm feeling throughout the day, assuming I have the time/inclination to take a moment to assess it or to notice it. i.e. happy, excited, bored, annoyed, melancholy, grim, confused, anxious, etc.

    BUT. When it comes to how I 'feel' about a specific situation, or a specific person, or whatever...I might not know. When I read your OP, I kinda cringed at the 'How do you feel about that?' question. Oftentimes w/ regards to a situation or scenario or relationship, I might have so many conflicting thoughts or feelings that I simply do not KNOW yet how I feel about it. So that's when I need time to myself to really reflect and sift through everything until I do figure out how exactly I feel about it.

    2. When you do call attention to it, can you identify what your feeling? How good are you discriminating between different feelings? How many different feelings (or shades of feelings) can you identify?
    Hmm...think I just answered that one!

    3. How would you go about improving your ability to identify your feelings?
    Perhaps just setting aside 5-minute segments of time a few times a day devoted just towards going inward, contemplating, and assessing where you're at internally, and trying to label feelings? I would assume if you were really serious about it it would be something that would be rough/impossible at first, but would improve over time.

    Edit: and as Kyrielle mentions, writing/journaling can assist a lot too. Especially in more convoluted situations. But if you're not even in a position where you're dealing with multiple feelings or lack of resolution, then writing it out might be pointless, as there wouldn't be anything to write out. :-)
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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  8. #8
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cascademn View Post
    Oftentimes w/ regards to a situation or scenario or relationship, I might have so many conflicting thoughts or feelings that I simply do not KNOW yet how I feel about it.
    In which case, you could just say, "I'm conflicted." It's better than, "I don't know."

  9. #9
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    This isn't really a rant, but a question for people.

    I have incredible, incredible difficulty labeling my feelings and experience, which is somewhat strange because I'm very good at labeling other things (usually abstract) and take joy in it, too. I was seeing a therapist a while back who would occasionally ask me "how do you feel right now?" I had absolutely no idea. The only feelings I can clearly identify are sadness and infatuation which have very distinct psychological and physiological features. The rest I'm terrible at.

    I'm curious about a few things.

    1. Are you naturallly aware of how you are feeling throughout the day, or only when you call attention to it?
    2. When you do call attention to it, can you identify what your feeling? How good are you discriminating between different feelings? How many different feelings (or shades of feelings) can you identify?
    3. How would you go about improving your ability to identify your feelings?
    This is an interesting question.

    I'm in contact with my immediate feeling all during the day.

    And when push come to shove, I would never give up my immediate feelings. It would be like abandoning the best part of myself.

    My immediate feelings are a connection to my past and a connection to my family and country. Also my immediate feelings are a connection to my future - even though my future is uncertain - I can still feel it.

    But it's interesting Edahn, although I recognise you as a decent person, I have always felt protective of you. Perhaps this is because immediate feelings are blind spot for you, and so as a good seeing-eye dog, or a good immediate-feeling dog, I look out, or feel out for you.

    I tug on my collar and say, "Look out for the gutter Edahn - look out for this feeling". Or I say, "Look out for the car Edahn - or look out for that feeling".
    Just as any good feeling dog would do.

    But it all brings up an interesting question - what is my blind spot?

    And what kind of seeing-eye dog do I need?

  10. #10
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    In which case, you could just say, "I'm conflicted." It's better than, "I don't know."
    Oh...I agree. But then that would also prompt more questioning. Sometimes I say 'I don't know' because...well....I don't. Which is also an honest answer.

    I do have a habit of saying 'I don't know' when I'm put on the spot and am flustered/unsure. It just comes out spontaneously.. I can't help it! But I will typically follow up with one thing or another.
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

    My Photography and Watercolor Fine Art Prints!!! Cascade Colors Fine Art Prints
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