Emotions as Weather

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 Emotions as Weather
Use the metaphors of weather to understand how natural and normal all feelings are.

Cloudiness and Fog
Emotionally, things are not always very clear. It’s normal to feel foggy and unsure, or depressed and dark from time to time. If you can remember it's just your emotional climate, and explore it to discover the cause, the fog will lift, the clouds will part, it may rain or storm a little, but the sun will eventually come out again. Normal depression that is not allowed to take its natural course, not opened up to let the fresh air in, can turn into emotional smog, or internal pollution.

Smog
Emotional smog, like the weather kind, is just the normal cloudy/foggy conditions with man-made junk added. We call it clinical depression. Everyone is down from time to time, but those who attack themselves when down, or have others around who pollute their internal atmosphere with criticism or shaming, become smog-bound, and can't clear up their internal atmosphere. Letting in the fresh air of interest and the warmth of emotional support allows the fog to lift, and the sun to come out again.

 

Internal Conditions
If you try paying the same amount of daily attention to your internal conditions as you probably do to the weather report, and begin to regard your feelings as naturally as weather, you'll become much more emotionally comfortable. Like weather, your feelings are easier to accept and live with when you manage them, respond to them and don't try to resist them or deny them. If you understand your feelings as weather, you can have many lovely inner days.

Your Sense of Emotion
Human attributes, we are taught, include five senses: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. Only in science fiction do we read about a sixth sense, which is usually depicted as a psychic sense. If you think about it, however, your emotions are your real “sixth sense.” Just like your other five senses, your emotions register data about the external world. With your sight, your eyes take in data about colors, shapes and relative sizes of the things in the world around us. Touch tells us how things feel, how warm, cold, soft, hard, sharp or smooth they are.

Your emotions tell you what others’ feelings are. We can sense, in an almost psychic way, how someone feels at a distance, without being told. By comparing what our other senses tell us about others (smiles, frowns, tension, “prickly vibes,” relaxed breathing and an indescribable type of data we call empathy) with what we know about our own inner feelings, we draw conclusions about what other people are feeling. Without being told, we know when someone is angry, when someone has strong positive or negative feelings toward us, and when we are loved.

With conscientious practice, people can improve their use of senses, such as being a wine taster, reading braille, refining your sense of color as an artist, or learning to tell different fabrics by texture. Certain people, such as psychotherapists and actors, practice and refine emotions until they can sense very small changes. As a psychotherapist, I “read” my clients’ emotions and give them feedback to help them sort out emotional confusion. “You say you’re fine, but you appear to be angry,” I might say to someone who is disconnected from his feelings.

This article was originally published at Tina B. Tessina. Reprinted with permission.
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Dr. Tina Tessina

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Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
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Location: Long Beach, CA
Credentials: LMFT, MFT, PhD
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