It sounds very simple, but if we know what is wrong, it is more likely that we know how to ask for help and/or seek out the appropriate resources. Describing our experience with general and nondescript language (i.e. “I feel fine”) doesn’t allow for us to really understand and address the situation at hand. Additionally, it negates the fact that we can experience multiple emotions at once and not every experience is “black or white.” That is, it’s totally normal to feel as though your co-occuring, sometimes conflicting, emotions exist at once and can be confusing, nonsensical, etc. Acknowledging these moments of confusion, “gray areas,” etc. are helpful for a therapist to know so that you can explore and clarify what it is you are experiencing and the appropriate way to cope with everything. Labeling emotions, although simple in theory, can feel overwhelming and is a skill that can take time to cultivate. As the following article outlines, there is utility to understanding and labeling your emotions as your needs can be met more effectively.
“To draw an analogy, we are constantly taking black and white photographs of the very colorful scenes of our lives.” –Amelia Aldao Ph.D. (the author of the article)
Let’s begin today’s post with a quick emotion experiment: How are you feeling right now? Which emotions have you felt today/in the past few days? (take a few seconds to answer it) (take a few seconds to answer it) Most of you probably answered the first question by thinking of “fine,” “great,” “okay,” or “not great.”