Have you ever walked into an environment or a room and all of a sudden you were overwhelmed with emotions and urges that are hard to explain? Things commonly associated with drug addicts, victims of PSTD, depression, suicide, or the feeling to do things that would never normally be on your radar? Things that would violate your moral compass or challenge your character? If you’ve said yes to any of the above, then it is quite likely that you are what we call a ‘Feeler.’
Many people go about their daily lives moving from one environment to another, having their emotions fluctuate but are completely oblivious to the fact that they are reacting to the atmosphere or the person right in front of them.
Let me give you a personal example that may help explain what “Feelers” may be experiencing in life.
I recently went to a doctor’s appointment at my Veteran Affairs (VA) clinic. My morning was fantastic. It started with a fun podcast recording with Steve and Lorraine Box, who are currently launching a new podcast. (I’ll be sure to let you know when the one we recorded comes out). I then helped them set up some software… something I love to geek over. Needless to say, I had a full morning before I headed to my appointment. It turns out I’m healthy overall and was given a clean bill of health…Yay!!
This is where the story gets interesting.
I went to pick up a prescription they had given me. As I was waiting, all of a sudden I was overcome with an incredible urge. On a scale of 1-10, with ten being the strongest and one means it’s not even on my radar. As I sat hearing people request their pain medication at the checkout, I was caught off guard because my urge went up to a 6.
Just to give a little background context to this, when I was in the Marines I was injured and have a history with pain medication. I have to be aware of my history but would say it’s something I have overcome. I’m not addicted to them anymore. In fact, they’re not even on my radar. So I was caught off guard by this incredibly strong craving to the point I felt to snatch the bag of medication and run out of the building.
You’re Probably thinking, “This is bizarre..!!” Right!!. And “Josh has got a serious problem and he should probably get some help!”
However, after I left, I reached out to one of my friends. I called him immediately and shared what just happened. Not only that, but I also had a desire to do some impulsive things. Things like go and buy a TV or some furniture, when I have no need for them… “ I just wanted to go spend money and be foolish in that way. For the record, I didn’t buy anything, but I was tempted.
Once I connected the dots that my morning was great, but my afternoon felt way off I began to retrace my steps. I asked questions like “When did I start feeling this way?” or “Where have I been today that could cause me to respond so strongly?”. I was able to pinpoint the VA as the source. After that, I realized what I was feeling, as real as it seemed, wasn’t me. Just identifying that point alone was enough to help me snap back into normalcy.
Here’s the point of this story.
When we experience strong uncharacteristic emotions during our day to day life, we need to learn how to be proactive in our response instead of allowing them to throw us off. Here are some ways you can be a feeler without feeling overwhelmed.
Identify how you’re being affected and what’s affecting you.
I’ve said it before, but becoming self-aware is key to identifying areas of your life that need attention. Learn how to ask yourself questions instead of blindly walking through life reacting. Instead of asking “What is wrong with me?” begin asking things like “When did I start to feel different?”. Asking the right questions are valuable because it keeps you from leaning toward a negative bend or believing these feeling originate with you, rather than stopping and thinking. Where and when indeed did my day start to ‘feel’ wrong.
Identify when you had a massive shift in emotions or behavior.
The day I was at the doctor I didn’t catch it right away, so don’t expect to get it right immediately every time. The goal is to help raise your awareness of what can happen when you walk into an environment and suddenly you’re dealing with intense feelings, or you feel your emotions fluctuate and you think there’s something wrong with you when the reality is you’re feeling the environment around you.
Reach out to a trusted friend to help you get grounded.
This is priceless if you’re a verbal processor like I am. We talk about the need for vulnerability but don’t often understand why it’s necessary. Being vulnerable with a close friend will help put you in a place of power and authority instead of you feeling like “There’s constantly something wrong with me.” It brings someone into your process and prevents you from feeling like you’re constantly having to work on something (especially if it’s not you). Then discouragement sets in, and you feel there’s no hope to be able to live a normal life because it seems like you’re constantly having to fight intense emotions alone.
Use the phrase “It’s Not Me!”
This is not an excuse to assume everyone else has problems and you don’t. You use this as a litmus test. If you say it’s not me and feel a shift then it probably isn’t you. That said if you keep saying it over and over, but a recurring emotion is coming up then it may be something you need to address. The goal of “It’s not me”, enables you to be more tuned into the spiritual environments you walk in and out of on a regular basis. When you practice using this awareness, you become more powerful and won’t become a victim of your environment. Instead, you’re able to see the situation accurately and respond.
Another angle you can take it is to ask the question, “Is this me? Is it the environment, or is it the person I’m with?”. If it’s the person, then see if what your sensing is something they’ve shared they are struggling with.
Reconnect with your true identity
A lot of people automatically assume something is wrong with them when really it’s the atmosphere they’re in and are taking on the emotions which are not there own.
Use my story as an example. Because I have a past with pain killers it would be easy for me to feel the urge and then respond by saying I’m struggling with painkillers again, when the reality is that I’m picking this up in my environment.
I would encourage you to avoid quickly assuming what you’re feeling is part of your identity. Instead, pause and connect with God’s truths over your life. Speak truth out loud if need be and when you become realigned with your real identity this is when you’re able to reconnect with authority over what you may be feeling.
It’s time to own the gift that God gave you as a feeler and not live reactively. You may not be crazy…. It is very likely that you are an incredibly sensitive feeler and you’re walking in and out of different environments. Remember, if you are a feeler, It’s not something you should be tormented by. It’s a gift that God’s given you for a reason. Learn how to flex your feeler muscles. Start taking note of how you feel in different environments. Intentionally put yourself in different situations and see what comes up. The more you become aware of your surroundings, the more authority you have and the less they will be able to affect you.
Until next time. Please comment and let me know your thoughts or if you’re a feeler. I’d love to hear about experiences you’ve had to navigate!