It isn't always easy to sense into yourself and find that you need care. Like Thom Bond says in his Introduction to NVC on YouTube, we have spent a really long long actively learning to disregard our feelings. And so it is quite difficult to even be aware, from moment to moment, about what one is feeling.
A feeling is different from a "sense" (for example, "I feel that I am being judged"), or a "thought" ("I feel that he needs to change his attitude"). Examples of feelings would be anger, sadness, disgust, irritation, dejection, overwhelmed, and so on.
Most of us have been asked to "control out emotions", "not get so emotional", "be more rational" - things like that, which take us away from feelings. Indeed, feelings can be quite overwhelming. This is particularly true of feelings like anger and depression, which have the quality of shadowing, or corroding through, other experiences and feelings. Anger can take over when things feel too sad, or too disgusting, or too overwhelming, and make one forget about moments of love, or joy, or even of pain.
And then there are wordless feelings - which are more like a "felt sense", or even a physical sensation - like a punch in the fut, or knees turning to water, or a shakiness, or lightness... these are feelings too, and speak of something that is arriving from our inner landscape.
There is a kind of wisdom in each feeling, each emotion. Nonviolent, or Compassionate, Communication suggest that each feeling arrives as a reflection of the state of our needs, and is connected only with the met- or unmet-ness of our needs. When my needs are met, I am likely to feel joyful, lighthearted, playful, warm, and happy. And when my feelings are not met, I am more likely to feel frustrated, resentful, hurt, angrry, and sad.
Whatever I am feeling, it is coming from within me, and not because of something someone did outside of me. No one has the ability or power to MAKE me happy or sad, angry or hurt, or even warm and "loved". These feelings are direct reflections of me - the life energy inside me, indicators of whether my life is enriched and served, or alienated, in the current moment.
So how do I feel my feelings and not get caught up in my thoughts? Below is a small offering, in the form of a quick exercise, for anyone who would like to try it out! If you would like to, you can download it following the link at the end of this post.
Here is CNVC's list of feelings!