Okay okay, so by now it's cliche for a therapist to ask about feelings. But seriously. Feelings are important! And I can't tell you the number of times I hear "okay", "fine", or "good" to this question. Since fine is not a feeling, I'm guessing that underneath this short response is a lot more than meets the eye. I'm a big believer that when we can name and understand our emotional experience, there's room to transform through it. And I know that "fine" is a bit of a social mannerism, but you can usually trust that when it's your therapist that's asking, it's okay to move beyond the surface.
I found this feelings wheel online, and one of the neat things I've found when I use it is this: In any given moment, we experience more than just one feeling. And when we pay attention to our emotional landscape, we also notice that the combination of feelings change, sometimes from one moment to the next.
So the implication of all this is that when we feel lost in grief, fear, and despair, we can remind ourselves that there's more to our experience than this. And, as impossible as it is to believe sometimes, our feelings are also constantly moving. What we feel in this moment is not what we feel for the rest of our lives, even when it seems we're so deep in something we won't be able to climb back out. We can, and do. From one moment to the next.
So next time you're tempted to answer "fine" to the typical "how are you feeling?", remind yourself that fine is not a feeling, and get familiar with the following list! :)
Nicole Perry is a Registered Psychologist and writer with a private practice in Edmonton. Her approach is collaborative and feminist at its heart. She specializes in healing trauma, building shame resilience, and setting boundaries.
About the Blog
This space will provide information, stories, and answers to big questions about some of my favorite topics - boundaries, burnout, trauma, self compassion, and shame resilience - all from a feminist counselling perspective. It's also a space I'm exploring and refining new ideas.