Telling Emotions Apart

[post status: a quick, experimental, half-formed thought]

You know how when you feel something in your body, and you’re not quite sure what it is?

Is that stomach ache? Trapped wind? The beginning of an ulcer? Oh, it’s a muscle… did I pull a stomach muscle somehow? Oh wait, maybe it’s not a muscle after all…

What makes us think we’re any better at recognising emotions than we are at physical sensations? Sure, extremes of emotion are fairly obvious. If I’m overcome with rage, or joy, or sadness, I can usually tell. But it seems possible that I leap to judgement too quickly when it’s less certain how I’m feeling.

There have been times I’ve assumed I was anxious, only to realise that it was PART anxiety and part excitement or anticipation, and I’m overreacting to my own emotions. This feels like a ridiculous, embarrassing thing to admit. But experience seems to suggest that while I’m mostly right about my emotional state, and mostly right about my physical state… I’m not always right.

Sometimes I need to look a bit closer to figure out what’s going on.

2 thoughts on “Telling Emotions Apart

  1. I don’t think this is an uncommon problem. Okay, well, at least there’s two of us anyway.

  2. While this isn’t my most favorite of your posts (because I’ve read three of them and clearly know everything now), I decided to leave a comment on this one because it felt like the kid getting picked last in kick ball.

    QUESTION.

    (Yes. I had to write the word “question” so you knew that the following sentence was actually a question and not an exclamation with an accidental question mark.)

    What happens if you remove the “Why?” The “WHY AM I FEELING THIS WAY?” and the “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!” — Because, I mean, I think our bodies are way smarter and more capable and more in tune than our silly limited minds are.

    So what would happen if there was a level of acceptance. A… “I’m feeling this thing. I don’t know what it is. And that’s okay.”

    Versus a… “I’m feeling this thing. WHAT IS IT. WHAT DOES IT MEAN. IS IT A SIGN. OR IS IT FLATULENCE. IS THE FLATULENCE A SIGN. WHY AM I NOT USING ANY QUESTION MARKS AND TALKING IN ALL CAPS.”

    Just a thought.

    OH ALSO. I WROTE A FUNNY [and depressing and weird] BOOK WITH MEDIOCRE DOODLES, TOO.

    Do you live far away? I think you do. Otherwise I’d totally love to make plans with you and then have a panic attack the day of and cancel last minute only to talk via email instead.

    KEEP DOING WHAT YOU DO.

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