Expanding our emotional vocabularies

“I’m so mad!”…But am I really?  Mislabeling what it is that we are actually feeling can get in the way of resolving our problems.  Three things to consider about feelings: first, feelings are very nuanced.  They come in tones and shades and are highly situational.  The anger we feel in one situation is not the same anger that we might feel in a different situation.  Second, feelings are often made up of other feelings.  Anger is another good example of this.  Anger is a composite feeling made of different kinds of hurt and fear.  Third, we are capable of feeling multiple feelings simultaneously.   Knowing this, it is unlikely that we are just ‘mad’.   Art therapy provides many outlets for exploring feelings and digging deeper into what they mean. This activity broke down anger and discovered hurt feelings, shame, disappointment, feeling disrespected, and feeling embarrassed at the core of it all.  When we start calling things what they really are, change can finally begin.