When you ask someone what they are feeling, most people will give you a very general answer such as good, okay, kinda down, or fine. You might get a more specific answer such as happy, sad, or angry.
If, however, you ask the person to be more specific about their feelings or ask what does a specific feeling mean, you likely will get a look of confusion. The reason for this is that most people do not understand what feelings are or why we have them. Considering that there is very little “training” about feelings, this lack of knowledge is certainly understandable.
The downside of not understanding your feelings is that you may view all feelings as messy and intrusive, you may view some feelings like anger as bad or dangerous, or you may feel that your feelings control you.
The basic truths are that there is a reason why you have feelings, all of your feelings serve a purpose, your feelings are tools which you can learn to master just like any other tool such as your cell phone, and you can use your feelings to improve your life and your relationships.
While I talk about all these subjects and more in my book Emotions as Tools: A Self Help Guide to Controlling Your Life not Your Feelings, I will introduce you to these truths in the next post.