listening and feeling


hey, y'all.
Its a reasonably slow Friday morning. I've got my coffee and my granola and my tutorial isn't until 9 (despite unintentionally waking up at 6:15) so I've finally got some time.
This term has been dominated by introspective reflection, partly because its been tough and chaotic, so we've been helping each other out a lot.
But also because I tried counselling (was a bit shit (very shit)) and am doing this training 'ting which, through 24 hrs of experiential practice basically helps you to be a good listener, get people to talk about their problems etc.

So i've thought a lot about myself and feelings, and how you can best communicate them. Its been quite exposing but very rewarding and whilst it has revealed a lot of problems, its made me want to (and realise I am able to) find solutions.
Here are some things I've learned.

To listen to myself. I am trying so so so hard to do this, to listen to my needs and my body and act accordingly. Rather than brushing off the anxious feeling, or getting angry at myself for feeling like it, recognising it and thinking about what I could do to ease the feeling in that moment.
That no feelings are inherently good, and no feelings are inherently bad, they are just feelings. All feelings are valid.
That just listening really is the best thing you can do. Sitting and being there and they might tell you and they might not, but allowing the space and the time is fundamental.
And that silence is also important. That sometimes that is where people find the courage to open up.
That 'feeling level' questions are so so so soothing, so much better than why or assumptions. How did it make you feel, tell me more about how you felt then.
That having someone present and attentive but entirely non-judgmental, listening and summarising, is so safe and so calm.
That so much of what I do stems from a lack of self worth. That I'm not good enough to be here, not working hard enough, not funny enough, that my friends don't really like me.
But that these thoughts aren't true and they aren't helpful. That I need to acknowledge them and then distance myself from them. That by feeding them, they will only get worse.
That vulnerability and discomfort is scary, but its also the heart of connection. That only when we embrace the uncertainty and the chaos can we begin to find peace.
That 3 hours a week to calmly check in with yourself, with supporting, caring, open people, is a privilege and it is so grounding to recognise how you feel now, and how you felt then.
To be assertive, for yourself and for others. Don't give over more than you can and say confidently but without accusation how you feel and what you want to change.
To be kind to yourself, in every capacity.
That the strongest friendships are built on heartbreak and sadness, by listening to each other and opening up.

I feel like I've learned a lot more than just this, but here are some questions you can ask yourself and some things I have appreciated.
What would you say to someone else in this situation? What would a friend say?
Are things getting out of proportion in my head (yes, yes always yes)?
What could I do that would help me feel better right now?
Am I focussing on the worst scenario? What would be more realistic?
Am I putting more pressure on myself/setting unachievable expectations?
How do you feel? Always how do you feel? 
And this video about vulnerability.
And this insta account (@werenotreallystrangers), but more specifically this post.

Its now Wednesday and I've done little work and been v ill. Being ill here is horrible and tutors aren't always the most sympathetic, but I'm trying to be kind to myself and not overdo it (when I read the start of this post (that I unintentionally woke up at 6:15 after going to bed at 12) I realise why I am ill)).
And let me tell you, distancing yourself from your emotions is hard. But its a learning curve!
This week has been remarkably unsocial (i.e. I haven't been to the pub since Friday), but I'm teaching myself that life doesn't fall apart if I have 5 consecutive nights in. In fact, it might get better. And today I abandoned the library and went for a walk in the parks, which felt liberating and necessary.

How are you all feeling? Take some time to think about it.

2 comments

  1. Beautiful as always Katie! i can relate heavily to those sometimes fleeting, sometimes dense feelings of self doubt, especially whether or not my friends "really like me" (when they obvs do but ugh sometimes you feel like you're not worthy of being liked when thats so dumb ?? working on it) - but yeah, i'm feeling this!! sending you love! <3

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  2. Walks through the park are sometimes the only option! I think we all wish we could be dedicated to working hard all the time, but self-care is essential. If I find myself getting distracted whilst studying sometimes the better option is to just give yourself a break, and nothing beats a park walk during Spring.
    Well done you for looking inwards and learning about yourself more. I genuinely think it is such an important thing to do, even if its not always the most pleasant.

    Louise :)

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Katie