How are you (really) feeling?

Cartoon eggs

“Good.” This is the most common response given, but is not always true. How many times have you said “Good” when you aren’t really feeling good? 

(That’s a lot of emotional baggage, honey.) 

You may have answered “Good” just for the sake of small talk and to get on with the day. Or because you don’t want to reveal your daily struggles and ruin someone else’s day. That is totally valid. Most of us experience hesitation and/or resistance towards sharing our true feelings, especially with someone we don’t know too well. 

Have you answered “Good” so many times that you forgot how else to answer? Keep scrolling.

Caption: A wheel chart with 3 layers containing descriptive, emotive words

Source: https://imgur.com/a/CkxQC (Australian English version) linked from https://feelingswheel.com/

Now, can you tell me how you are really feeling?

No, you don’t have to answer right now. 

This is really for yourself. 

The image you see above is a chart with 3 layers: 

  • The innermost layer (basic emotions)
  • The middle layer (responsive emotions)
  • The outermost layer (descriptive, intense emotions)
 

As your mind processes and explores that above wheel chart, have you ever realised whenever you have had an emotional response to stimuli, that you, not only experience one emotion, but multiple of them? 

When I found out that I didn’t get into the volleyball team for Unigames, I felt very wronged (not mentioned in the wheel chart!). I was committed and attended every training and tryout session. I moved further out of my comfort zone and went to the gym for the first time ever to create a conditioning program that stabilised and strengthened my body. I wasn’t there to look like someone else, I was there to become better at volleyball. I am ever so grateful (aha another one!) for the people who have helped and supported me in this short-lived journey. I actually wanted to do this as I was transitioning from high-school-level volleyball to women’s level volleyball. It made absolutely no sense when players who didn’t care about training made the team. 

The volleyball club executives didn’t even follow their own protocol of sending emails of results within 24 hours. I felt so excluded because I didn’t receive any email so I had to send a direct message to one of them. How embarrassing. Afterwards, they did apologise but the apology was difficult for me to accept because I was already so hurt from one of them slandering me for being a “student that only gets the P’s or C’s at most” after the tryouts. Of course, I was pissed AF in response to that but I didn’t realise how much pain I received and masked it at that moment until I tried to fall asleep, but instead stayed up all night crying until my eyes and eyelids shrivelled. Indifference (new emotion unlocked) became the new normal for me whenever I encounter similar situations like this.

This was a very personal experience that I only kept to my close friends, my sister, and myself. I went out of my comfort zone and decided to share because, at the end of the day, I have reframed my mind around that experience. That experience was one hell of a rollercoaster and I had gathered a lot of mixed responses to my perspective of the story. 

Moral of the story: Surround yourself with people who genuinely support you without judgment and value the effort you put into the relationship, which includes the inevitable boundary setting (this is a story for another time). 

If you have read this far, it’s quite a lot to take in. I know how heavy that was and thank you for reaching this point.

How many times have you muttered over your own tongue and lips when trying to recount and explain what you had experienced? You’re not alone. I, myself, have done that countless times. As a person who feels more comfortable writing than speaking, I struggle a lot with expressing my emotional experiences openly. The above wheel chart is the perfect cheat sheet for seeing which emotions are being experienced. It is a very handy reference if you happen to be journaling or preparing for a speech. 

There are so many ways to use the wheel chart: 

  • Print a black and white version of it and colour what you felt according to the day and/or particular experience
  • Make a poster out of it and stick it on your wall 
  • Write out each emotion on flashcards and increase emotional literacy & intelligence
 

The emotive words aren’t limited to the ones right on the wheel. Throughout my shared experience above, there are some words I have added.

If you have additional ways of using the chart and emotive words that aren’t on the wheel or this blog article, comment them down below! 

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