What am I feeling? No, really, what am I feeling today? Why should that question be so hard to answer with and actual feeling word? Most people answer ‘fine’. Fine is not a feeling. Fine is a complacent word. It is an answer without an answer. Swell is my favorite answer. It often makes people laugh, but it is not an answer. Not a real one. Very rarely do people want to get into what they are actually feeling. Frankly, very few people want to know. That’s all great and fine, but why can’t I even admit to myself what I am feeling? Why should it be so difficult?
While in outpatient day therapy (therapy in a group), we had to express every day how we are feeling. It had to be a feeling word, which is an adjective. It had to describe an actual feeling, not a complacent word. Fine was never accepted and I’m sure that ‘swell’ wouldn’t have been either. Granted it was really early in the day, but I always had difficulty finding the word to describe how I felt. Even with a list of feeling words.
The ACA, Adult Children Anonymous, has a helpful list of words to choose from: http://acainnerpeace.ncf.ca/feelings.htm. See if you can find a word in there that fits how you actually feel, other then fine. I can assure you that word is not on the list. They even have some phrases for an acceptable way of expressing yourself. I, particularly, like the one listing that says “I feel that” is not an expression of feeling. It really isn’t. In that statement you are about to express an opinion, not a feeling. Just replace ‘feel’ with ‘think’, and you have a more accurate statement.
Now, I have looked around various sites trying to find an easy explanation of why I can not find the word(s) to express what I am feeling. Most of them are way to deep, even for me. Perhaps it is that I do not want some intense description of why I am unable to produce a feeling. I seriously think there should be an easier answer.
Oh, sure, I know why I answer that I am fine or swell. I know it is not the time or place to say the truth, if I could actually place a feeling word. It is a cordial answer in a quick world. It is sufficient in most cases. I accept that answer, for the most part, when running into people casually. There are exceptions to that, as there are to most things. Sometimes I can tell the person is not fine, swell, or okay. Thing is, unless they want to share it with me, this is not my business. I accept those answers, just as they accept mine.
I do not believe my inability to find a feeling word is some deep psychological issue. I believe, like most humans, that is how we become conditioned in life. As children we freely admit how we feel, sometimes inappropriately. As adults, we learn that it is best to just say we are fine. After all, that is what most people want to hear from us. In the meantime, I will keep searching for what I actually feel. I want to recondition myself. I want to remember what it felt like to actually be able to express how I felt, even if I don’t share it with others.