“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” -Helen Keller
I am thankful for feelings. The ability to feel happiness, sadness, frustration, relief, contentment, discomfort; all of these feelings remind me I am Alive. I believe in life there is a balance to emotions. For each high there is a low, for every ebb there is a flow. It has not always felt this way.
In high school I worked at Chuck E. Cheese and really enjoyed that job. One day at work I was in a particularly cheerful mood and I remember a team-member asking me “What are you on?” and I honestly replied, “I guess I am just high on life!”. I also remember parts of freshmen and sophomore year of college feeling lost, confused, and that life felt pointless. In short, at several times I have felt depressed.
As a maturing adult now I feel like I have been blessed by being able to look back and see that in many ways the sad times actually helped me appreciate the glad times. It is nearly impossible to explain light without also explaining darkness. Similarly, I have found it is tough to really express “feel-good” emotions without also having some dose of struggle or tough times to overcome.
The are so many Unique Life Feels that we can each only experience by living. Here are a few ULFs, starting with some tough Feels:
- The loss of a game. The loss of a relationship, either romantic or platonic.
- The passing of family and friends.
- The disappointment of expectations not met, either by self and by others.
- Not getting the job you want.
- Feelings unexplained sadness or depression.
- Being told you are not ____________________.
- Being told you are too ____________________.
This is just a short list of those ULFs we fight to avoid. Now a few positive emotions.
- Winning after working really hard to achieve your best.
- Walking through a forest, alone, and seeing a bald eagle perched on a tree just watching you as intently as you are watching her.
- Sleeping on a beach under the stars and seeing the milky way with great clarity.
- The way coming home and hearing my boys run to the door and yell “Daddy!” melts away the struggles of the day.
- The feeling of being on the inside of an inside joke.
- Being recognized for a job well done.
- Having family and friends surprise you for a birthday or to celebrate a milestone.
- Finding your Faith.
- Feeling a sense of purpose.
All these feelings are ULFs. They are unique to each of us. There are no two people who share the same reality because there are no two people who have experienced the exact same version of this thing we call Life.
Whether good, bad, happy, or sad, feeling emotion is an important piece of feeling alive. Embrace ULFs. Journal or mentally catalog your ULFs. They can serve as a great source of encouragement when tough times set in. Tough ULF memories will serve as a reminder that you have overcome, and can overcome again. Nice ULFs should bring a smile to your face (or at least warm your heart) and serve as a reminder that Life will provide a unique reason for getting out there and Living. Peace.