In the course of a day, sometimes an hour, our emotions can range from joy to fear to awe to rage, and at the end of the roller coaster ride, where are we left? What do we actually feel, and are we able to successfully regulate those emotions? It can be extremely draining and leave you devoid of clarity if you are not allowing yourself to "feel" properly. Of course everyone feels and has feelings, but the true question to ask, is how do you identify and express those feelings? There are several variables to be considered in order to be able to emotionally express yourself in a more fulfilling manner. First and foremost, be sure that your head and your heart are connected. When you understand why you are experiencing certain emotions, it will allow you to better express them to others. If you have an inner conflict that you are struggling to resolve, being able to successfully identify and communicate that conflict to others is part of the process of healing yourself.
As we have recently witnessed, in the tragic shootings at Fort Hood,TX, the external breakdown of an individual unable to appropriately express his internal turmoil ended in twelve senseless deaths. The shooter's emotional conflict was so strong that it literally broke him, and he took actions to an extreme which may have been preventable. In evaluating and treating this person, we should be able to learn motivations, thoughts, and feelings surrounding his behaviors.  As well being able to connect the dots of his past history of personal and public conflict, it will also expose warning signs to the individuals closest to him, both personally and professionally. This allows us to understand how detrimental it can be if we do not sort through our emotions. We also see outbursts of anger and emotional pain running rampant among our youth, in the form of gangs, bullies, rapes, suicides and homicides....all being linked to repression of the emotional expression of self. Even in the latest headlines involving Tiger Woods' alleged infidelity, we see that the possible inability of dealing with emotional pain can push a person to make decisions they will ultimately regret. Instead of actually taking the pain away, you find a different means to the end.

Self- sabotage maybe?
Aside from connecting your head to your heart, you have to evaluate the current relationships in your life. It is not enough to merely be in relationships with people, anyone can have or be a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling, a best friend, or a boy/girlfriend, but we need to assess the quality of our relationships. Our intimate relationships are not just sexual, but emotional, as well. Some facets of our relationships are going to be extremely fulfilling, and some are not. Identifying, owning and working through the emotions associated within ourselves and expressed towards others will help us deal with improving the state of those relationships. Appropriate handling of our feelings translates outwardly towards everyone with whom we come in contact. After an overloaded day at work, and an excruciating commute you properly decompress, or do you pick a fight with someone because you are already aggravated? Misdirection of our own emotions tend to cause a snowball effect around us, perhaps without our realization. Maybe it wasn't the stressful day that has you on edge in the first place, maybe it's because you are silently grieving a death, or you miscalculated your bills and bounced two checks, or your significant other hasn't wanted to be intimate with you in months.
Being able to ask yourself "Why am I feeling a certain way?" and then having the the ability to accurately answer that "Why?" will ultimately bring a greater insight into your overall understanding of KNOWING how to have feelings. Identifying and properly releasing those emotions will prevent us from displacing them inappropriately.


Know yourself from a inner-emotional place by connecting your head to your heart.
And no that's not enough..
You must also express it appropriately in order to achieve the needed resolution and allow yourself to move and evolve through the bigger picture of your life.

About the Author

Dr. Charles Sophy

Dr. Charles Sophy is medical director for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

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