Welcome to 31 Days of Self-care

We Feel Because We are Alive!

This morning the words “como se siente” were in my head.

I had barely opened my eyes to greet the day. A good time indeed to get my attention before my head clutters with other news of the day. What is curious about this phrase is that variances of it are used to express different inquiries of someone’s state of feeling. So it may reflect a particular situation or one in general. It may even be referencing governmental affairs. I find this frequently in languages other than American English. While it may seem confusing before we learn to grasp it, it becomes an excellent way of personalizing a singular inquiry. Well, before getting in too thick, I’ll move on.

We are often asked “how are you feeling?” and without much pause, we’ll answer a quick “fine” or something similar. Now, part of our quick response I think is because it’s asked so often, we discount it as a thought worthy question.

But I think another reason is that maybe it’s not the right question.

“How are we feeling?”

When I was in the hospital, the healthcare team daily asked: “How are you feeling?”. I was never sure. It seems like a relative question. I am feeling better. Well, that only meant that I was feeling better than the last time I was asked and had no relationship to anything else. I might say I felt cold, or achy, or simply a non-descript “fine”. When asked, we do a mental scan of our bodies, right? We come up with a quick, acceptable, pleasing-to-the-ear analysis.

Thinking back on my caregiver roles, I wish I had asked my caree’s more often “what are you feeling?” It seems like a compassionate approach. I think the person would have felt even more cared for and necessary.

“What are we feeling?”

A question phrased in this manner requires a more involved, personalized thought process. It invites engagement. It doesn’t matter if we ask ourselves or someone asks it of us. If I say I’m feeling scared, the recipient of this answer is given notice that something is definitely wrong and a situation needs to be investigated more thoroughly. We might have to actually have a conversation and take action.

The other reason I think this phrase is important is for continuity of care. What if each morning we asked ourselves “what are you feeling?” I bet this would cause us to consider our plan of action for the day. If I’m feeling cranky, no one is going to want to face that situation. This situation reminds me of one of my daughters. We all know to give her time and a wide berth before interacting any more than handing her a cup of morning java! I’m sure we all know someone like that!

Sometimes we don’t know what we are feeling just that we are feeling.

That’s okay too. Consider the angst we feel following the death of a loved one; an unexpected accident; or awakening from a bad dream. At times like this, I don’t shelve the experience, but as I am a big believer in angels, I ask for their protection and to shine a bright light on my uncertainty. This covers me until I can otherwise address the situation. I also ask Mother Mary for comfort. It’s protection felt immediately and like no other.

It’s easier when our feelings are positive to know what to do.

Negative feelings are different and challenging. I constantly work on addressing an angry reaction. I know that when it comes around it usually has nothing to do with that moment, but rather something else unhealed. Fear is a distraction from what needs to be addressed. With both fear and anger, I go right to loving thoughts. Love is a place of self-empowerment. Listen only to love.

As a sensitive person, we may get caught up in worries. We will forget to take care of ourselves or ask for help. We forget to ask “what are you feeling?” These times may be the most important reminders of the need for self-care. Listen only to loving thoughts. Ask friends this question and hear their response.

If you could treat yourself, how would it address the question “what are you feeling”?

What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Can you act on the whole idea or at least pieces of it? Perhaps something similar nearly as good. Nurturing yourself is a rewarding, essential aspect of self-care.