Feelings and emotions are a big part of what makes us human.
You may cringe when you are asked “How do you feel?” Sometimes you know and sometimes you don’t. And you may have more than one feeling at a time. Feelings are triggered by every day events like winning a football game or getting a “C” on a test. As a military youth, your triggers might also include saying goodbye to a parent who is going on a deployment, or a friend when you have to move. Remember that just because you have feelings doesn’t mean you have a mental illness like depression or anxiety. However, there has been research that suggests that the distress from having a deployed parent may lead to depression and anxiety. The good news is that you can ask for help.
- Feelings are not positive or negative, good or bad, right or wrong. Judging emotions can lead to not feeling those feelings. If sad is “bad” you might try to stop feeling sad or try to be happy when you are not. A better way to think of emotions could be comfortable or uncomfortable, enjoyable or difficult.
- You are not your emotions. It is not uncommon that if you experience the same emotion a lot, that it can feel as if it is part of your identity. Emotions are not entirely who you are. You might say “I am depressed” when it is really “I feel depressed.”
- You cannot get rid of feelings. Everyone has feelings. They are your honest reaction to what is happening around you. If you try to get rid of them or stuff them inside you are short changing yourself from experiencing them and it may take longer to resolve them.
- Emotions do not last forever. It is not possible to feel the same emotion all the time. Feelings come and go as your life changes.
- Your emotions are unique to you. All people are capable of the same emotions. The difference is that how you feel in a given situation can be different from how someone else feels.