She wished they understood. As she sits there, staring out of her window, she can feel her entire body feel the emotional pain that is seeping within it. She doesn’t know how to express herself to figure out the pulsating mood inside. She doesn’t know how to communicate the anxiety, the tiredness or the disappointment with what is. She feels lost and alone.
Her mind speaks a language that nobody seems to understand. A language she has spoken her whole life but there are only a very few around her that she might stumble across who are familiar with the same ways of mind. Some days she thinks to herself, they understand and maybe they will be willing to be patient, but the confusion in their voices each time they try to help her is clear.
She tries so hard to manage the emotion, the sadness, the tears, the lonely feelings that ebb and flow throughout her days. She tries to hide it, pretend it is all OK. She smiles, but people see through it. She wears her emotion and she doesn’t know how to make it so that it isn’t there. Emotion is for the weak, she thinks to herself.
She wished they understood. That they understood her language. That her being difficult is in fact a cry for help, a need to something other than what words that she is saying. They thinks she is immature, but she doesn’t know how else to be. They think she is attacking them, but she is struggling with the words to communicate how she feels. It isn’t their language. They get frustrated, annoyed and are becoming quicker to react. She is confused and unsure. The more they react, the more she feels lost. The more she feels lost, the less they understand.
When it comes to emotional perspective, you will have two individuals, sitting, trying to communicate, one speaking their language, the other speaking another. Both feeling exhausted, worn out, and misunderstood. They both sigh, and slowly, but carefully, they begin to walk away until they can’t see one another anymore.
As an emotional individual, I’ve always struggled to communicate how I feel effectively. I don’t know if it is something I’ve learned, or something I just am, but emotion is the language I speak and always have. I am an empathy through and through, and it wasn’t until adulthood that I really started to understand that emotion is the language I speak. It is a complicated language though, because it doesn’t have clear, cut words. It is a feeling, an intuition, a reaction. When someone feels something, it is a perspective, and sometimes can feel 10 times bigger than what it might need to.
“Emotion is weak”…”Emotion is illogical”…”Emotion doesn’t serve a purpose”
Because emotion doesn’t have a language other than a personal experience, it is hard to attach some emotions to a tangible rhyme and reason. Expressing it means making something abstract and endless into a verbal language which is concrete and limited. Language is only as useful as the scope of that you are trying to describe. And, emotions, oh, emotions, they aren’t able to be described that easily for many of us. They can be intense and confusing. They can be unexpected and conflicting. There are so many of them and much of the time we don’t know where to start.
We are taught to that emotions are weak, illogical and that they don’t serve a purpose. So what do we do them? We resist them, suppress them, try to shake them off, and pretend they aren’t there, and because of this, we struggle to communicate them.
Many people right now might be feeling things that they’ve never felt before, and these emotions might be feeling pretty confusing.
Firstly, it has taken me, and is still taking me, a really long time to be open to my emotions. There are many occasions where I am not feeling OK, where I don’t even know how to express the emotion to myself, little alone explain it to someone else. However, over my years of learning, I’ve learned to be open to the emotion by letting it happen and recognising it as part something abstract, that I don’t necessarily need a meaning for.
I’ve learned a few key strategies in managing emotion that have helped me communicate what I cannot normally put words to, and allows me to see the emotion from a different angle, and in itself, lets the emotion pass by.
Firstly, acknowledgement. Acknowledging emotions can be fairly difficult at times, as we know we like to avoid them. But sometimes acknowledgement in itself can be enough to make ourselves a bit more at ease. Acknowledgement involves not telling yourself “I shouldn’t feel this way”, or “I don’t have a right to feel this way”. Acknowledgement involves respecting the emotion and letting it sit there the way it needs to.
Secondly, awareness. Being aware of an emotion takes you from acknowledging its existence to naming its parameters. Say, you might be feeling frustrated, acknowledging that you feel something allows you to notice what is there, and then saying to yourself “I feel frustration” provides a space between yourself and that emotion that allows it to simmer a little easier. Awareness might involve talking to a friend or a colleague about it, asking how they also feel, and resonating with each other’s feelings, whatever they may be, and recognising that they are valid in that person’s individual experience.
Finally, acceptance. As mentioned, we are taught to resist so much of what we think and feel. We are taught to avoid and disregard the things we don’t like, but acceptance can provide a profound impact on how you actually experience an emotion. For me, I use curiosity as a tool to allow acceptance to happen. I become curious of each emotion, and I begin to understand the purpose of why that emotion is there, or at least understand what made it arrive. By accepting our emotion, we stop resisting, and if we can stop resisting, we take away a lot of the unnecessary anxiety-induced chatter in our minds. We let our minds be at ease, and we can move on.
Emotions are a valid part of being human, and each one of us right now will be feeling something different. My message to you all is don’t hide them away, don’t pretend they aren’t there, and be open to acknowledging them, becoming aware of what they are, and accepting them as part of the process of being human.
Reach out to learn more about Camille’s new talk Accepting the Unaccepted, a thought-provoking talk that takes attendees through the process of accepting change and adversity in work and life. Guided by lived experience, it uses story-telling to speak to four key points on why, as individuals, we find it difficult to accept situations that happen outside of our control and require us to adapt to change.
“Camille provides hope, understanding and strategy, with a sophisticated insight into how a person may think or feel in certain situations. Camille’s narrative style is captivating. We all had goosebumps in the room listening to her personal story being told in a eloquent but powerful way.”