Sometimes it’s hard to know what we are feeling. Have you noticed feeling numb? Even when emotions may be high or others talk about their feelings? I’ve talked many times about how I started exploring the inner world of my own feelings with “I feel numb”. A kind of emotional numbness? I had sense something was going on… but what…? When I checked I had no clue, like a connection wasn’t there.
I actually believe it’s impossible to feel nothing and we can all start somewhere. For me “I feel numb” was the start.
When I connected to the numb- which the simple act of turning my attention to the numbness was all it took. Something shifted. (Sidenote: In my years of working with others I find that most people tend to try to make this inner connection work overcomplicated. If this seems simple, that’s because it is, I’m wary of anything in psychology that is overly complex).
As I got curious my numbness had an edge, a colour even. It was grey and square and it sat in my body like a square.
With this came something more to engage with – in fact something more to form a relationship with. I chose to have this relationship be a compassionate one. Welcoming, warm and accepting. I was feeling something- even though my rational brain was sceptical and trying to tell me this was weird. Ah- these thoughts prompted some feelings…. wariness, disbelief… my attention enjoyed exploring these feelings. Again with compassion.
I stuck with it, checking in and asking myself how do I feel? A new awareness arose over time. The consequence… the depression I had lived with for months started to lift… turns out numbness was what I needed to tune into into to offer compassion to myself. to really listen to myself.
A turning point – no longer feeling ONLY numb!
One day I found myself peeling an orange and I tuned into my feelings. The day had so far been dampened down by grey fog and yet there were moments of sunshine, sensations in my body I would call gratitude and delight as I peeled the orange at my kitchen counter. It was enough for me to notice I was no longer living as a depressed person in those moments, I was living moment to moment with my feelings as they moved.
Let’s end with a poem- a gem!
If you are feeling numb…I suggest starting with “I feel numb”, feel it, get curious and see where that takes you. It;s so easy to dismiss it and look for ‘real feelings!
I really enjoy Daniel Siegel’s work and in particular his very readable book Mindsight, each chapter explores cases he has worked with and how people have worked with their inner world.