Your feelings are sensations that you experience with your body. This is a hard concept to understand for many men because men spend a lot of time in their heads. Most men are not in tune with their feelings, emotions or their bodies. Some even think and say that they don’t have feelings, which simply can’t be true because all humans do have emotions and feelings.
Examples of feelings
Some feelings are very simple. The sensations that you feel in your body include tension, warmth, pain, tingling, and others. Feelings are very different from affect and quick emotional responses to situations that you perceive as dangerous in the moment. Feelings have more to do with the information you receive, be it consciously or subconsciously.
Other feelings may be more complex. You may have a sensation of emptiness in your body that tingles and moves at the same time.
The words people use to talk about feelings often have nothing to do with feelings themselves. They are labels that you attach to what is happening in your body. For example, hungry is a label for one feeling. Angry is a label for a different feeling.
When you say things like “I feel bad” or “I feel ashamed,” you say them because there are certain things and processes that are occurring in your body and you are using the words to describe the processes.
What is happening may be hard to decode because the way you feel may be connected to how you see yourself as a person as to your interactions with others. For example, a wife may feel upset that she disappointed her husband, but then she also doesn’t like how it makes her look as a person. This means that she has a combination of feelings: there’s a response to a situation but also there’s a response to how she feels about herself.
How to work with feelings
The first step is to become aware that you do, indeed, have feelings. The second step is to accept your experiences as they flow through your body. Not to fight them, not to think about them and not try to decide whether it’s bad or good that you are having feelings. You may not want to feel angry or frustrated, but it doesn’t matter. It’s crucial that you accept your experience no matter what the feeling. The third step is to start tuning into them. Start with the most obvious feelings. What happens in your body when you get hungry? What kind of sensation do you feel and where is it in your body? What color does the sensation have? Does it move? How big is it?
Your feelings may manifest themselves in a variety of different ways. You can feel as if you have a red ball that’s pulsing in your stomach. You feeling can be a small moving dot in some part of your body. You may also have sweaty or cold hands, pounding heart, shallow breath, blushing, frowning and so on.
The sensations that occur in your body provide you with clues that will allow you to investigate your emotional experiences. When you increase your awareness and know what is happening, you will be able to stay in tune with your emotions and the emotions of your wife.
How to use your feelings to your benefit
What you will notice once you become aware of your feelings is that often they will be coming and going much quicker than before. This will happen because you are not trying to block them with your mind. In the past, you were probably thinking about your feelings and trying to interfere using your intellect. Your body was not done and so the sensation was staying in it for far too long, causing tension and discomfort. When you start accepting your feelings, you will be able to let them go through your body much more efficiently and naturally.
Often, some of the painful feelings that you experience about certain events may go away and free you. For example, in the past, you may have become angry when your wife touched a certain topic. Eventually, your body got accustomed to the link between the anger and the topic and now you start feeling angry or stressed even though there’s nothing about the topic anymore to be angry about.
If you are not aware of what is happening or are thinking too much, you will most likely be stuck in your anger loop. If you start paying attention to your emotions and let them flow through you, you may soon get rid of some negative experiences and feelings.
Practicing getting in touch with your feelings
Getting in touch with your feelings is something you can practice. You can practice with your partner, too. Start with getting yourself back to a time when you felt a strong emotion. It can be anger, fear, joy, surprise or sadness. Close your eyes and imagine the moment as vividly as you can. Then, pay attention to the sensations that will start occurring in your body.
Don’t rush yourself through the sensation. Pay attention to it and report to yourself on the changes every few seconds, but don’t think about it intellectually. Let it run its course. For example, you may realize that when you feel love, you have a bright yellow warm feeling right in the middle of your chest.
Finally, share and discuss your experience with your partner. It can really improve your relationship because now you are talking about what you are really feeling. There are no judgments or artificial labels. You are not using any negative programming or preconceived ideas about what should or should not be happening. You simply tune into your experience, get in touch with it and report on it. When you learn to do this, you will also be able to notice what is happening with your wife and help you process her experiences better.