I’ve talked a few times about NARM, the new style of therapy I am trying that is largely based on attachment theory and identifying emotions. And I gotta say I like it and I am scared by it. I like it because I believe it is the next step I need to take in my recovery, getting more in touch with my emotions. I’m also scared by it because I have a lot of emotion that I’ve been ignoring. And it is kind of like when you have been ignoring putting laundry away for a couple weeks because it is easier to just take it out of the laundry basket and now you feel like the laundry has grown. No, that is only me? And I bet y’all are going to tell me next you actually sit in your chairs instead of using it to hold laundry too? Anyway, I am getting off track. My point, and I swear that I do have a point, is that now that I am trying to allow myself to feel those emotions, my therapist likes to ask me, “how do those feelings feel?”
And on the surface, it is a strange question. Yet just like any new experience, allowing myself to feel emotions that I’ve been repressing for years is something that my emotional self will have to get used to. How do those feelings feel? The truth is I don’t always know. And that is okay.
Having all the answers is not a prerequisite to starting any part of your recovery journey. Some of these emotional explorations I am undertaking are things I never had the tools for. And just like learning to use any new tool, or learning any new skill, no one expects you to be perfect at it right away. It takes time.
The trick for me is learning to allow my emotions, to acknowledge them, to listen to them, to listen to what my body is trying to tell me through them. How I act based on those emotions will be different from simply feeling them. For example, when I feel anger, it is important to listen to what it is saying so that I can know and understand myself better. It is equally important to not go around breaking shit even though that might be how I want to express my anger sometimes. Society tends to frown on breaking shit.
So this is the journey I am on. Your journey might be similar, might be different, but if you are trying to be more in touch with yourself, consider occasionally asking yourself how those feeling feels. You might be surprised by the answer. I know I have been.