Feelings are complicated. Not only complicated to define, but complicated to pinpoint. Complicated to acknowledge. Complicated to distinguish. Complicated to get across. Complicated to react upon.
Some feelings are assumed when looking at someone’s face: Smiling is associated with being happy and crying with being sad. But at the same time, one could smile to hide sadness and laugh to the point of tears. Expressions are therefore not always the true indicators of what we are feeling inside. Whenever I experience happiness, I feel light-headed. Not dizzy, but a freeing sensation. Whenever I experience intense sadness, a hollow feeling starts rising from the pit of stomach. Whenever I am stressed or angry, my breathing accelerates. In the past when I have experienced moments of shock, I have stopped breathing altogether for a few seconds.
I read a quote the other day by Aashish Bardia: “No one is more powerful than the person who knows how to carry a smile even in pain”.
I do not know whether I agree with the powerful part. In my opinion, this statement contradicts Marc Brackett’s work on the power of emotions he discusses in his book “Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive”. He describes feelings as “a form of information” (Brackett, 2019:17) we need to access to figure out what message this information is conveying.
An awareness of how our body reacts upon different feelings does not necessarily mean that we are able to accurately express these feelings through our facial expressions.
But there might just be another way that connects how we feel in’ to how we show out…