The Power of Asking, “What am I feeling?”

Posted by Alina Liao on

One of our Zenit journaling prompts that may appear the most basic is “What am I feeling?

In my first two Zenit Journals, I didn’t have this prompt. I had the prompt “What serves me today?” Over time, I noticed that when I would answer this prompt, I would first check in with myself to see how I was feeling. To take that moment each day to check in with how I was feeling was new to me. Before that, I lived based on the belief that my feelings don’t matter. My days were all about What I Need to Get Done.

From checking in with my feelings to expressing my feelings

To check in with my energy level and emotional state each day was new and powerful. It helped me give myself permission to take it easier on days I was feeling low. It helped me recognize the days I felt good.

Since learning the value of checking in with my feelings, I decided to add in my third Zenit - which I’ve had for about a month now - the prompt, “What am feeling?” Well actually, for myself, I personalized it further to make it super specific: “What am I feeling in my heart, body, and mind? What do my feelings look, feel, and sound like?” because I know I need the extra guidance in expressing my feelings.

I had trained myself to block my tears

The process of confronting and accepting my depression has helped me realize the importance of feeling my feelings. Checking in with my feelings was a big step for me, but I need to go deeper, beyond a check in. I need to explore, feel, and express all my feelings. 

For most of my life until now, I’ve been suppressing my feelings. Many of us live in a world where being emotional and expressing our feelings is seen as weakness. In addition, I grew up watching people I love get hurt as a result of their uncontrolled emotions. At least, that’s how I interpreted it at the time. Now I understand it wasn't the emotions that were hurting them, it was the unresolved trauma. 

Because that’s what I saw, when, as a child, I started to notice that I, too, got mad easily, and I, too, cried easily, I came to hate that part of myself. I trained myself to Be Strong. I trained myself to block my tears. To clamp down on my feelings. I visualized an “on and off switch” for my feelings. I became proud of having the self-control to flip that switch.

Feeling deeply is my natural self

After recent traumatic experiences shattered my sense of control and plunged me into depression, people who care about me encouraged me to allow myself to feel my feelings, to move through them. Hence my new prompt in my current Zenit Journal. As I’ve been opening myself up to my natural feelings, I’ve learned that, yes, I am a very emotional being. I cry hella easily. I get enraged quickly. I also laugh loudly, hold onto joy tightly, and love deeply.

As I allow myself to feel all my feelings, including taking days and nights to cry, I’ve started to see myself as fragile, which I have not liked, because we generally think of fragile as the opposite of strong. However, my inner sage continues to remind me that as human beings, we are both fragile and strong. We can break easily - emotionally and physically - yet we can withstand and grow from a LOT.

I’m a hothead learning to channel my fire

I realize that I’ve been killing myself by habitually denying my feelings. All of my feelings are who I am. As I push myself to take the time each day to fully feel and write out at least one page worth of my feelings, I’m learning that my feelings - and the depth to which I feel - are not weakness but strength. I am a hothead. My strength isn't in putting out my inner fire, but channeling it.

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