Why Do I Feel This Way?

Happy and Sad Feeling Masks

Exploring a better relationship with yourself.

The times they are a-stressing (my apologies to Bob Dylan and The Band). It has become a special challenge to see the world and ourselves in a positive light. One look at the news on TV, the chatter on the internet, or a chat with our own family members can send our emotions off in so many directions. Do you feel frustrated? Is depression creeping in? How about intolerance or flat-out anger?

You are certainly not alone.

Making sense of our feelings

“Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn’t [sic] change the heart of others— it only changes yours.”

― Shannon Alder

It is human nature to ignore our feelings until they’ve reached an extreme pitch and seek some sort of outlet. You can easily spot those who are dumping their intense feelings out on social media through unkind words towards others. This contributes not only to their own stress but to the stress of others. Maybe you found yourself doing this to some degree?

The internet allows us a veil of anonymity. The practice of letting our bad feelings spill out online is actually very personal – and can be very damaging. How do you react when you witness the outrageous words and wild reactions in videos of so-called, “Karens” (a practice of assigning a specific name is in itself offensive) and others? The rise in violent crimes and the use of weapons over simple encounters is another frightening example. Varied studies show heavy use of social media can cause or worsen depression in people of all ages.

It is high time to be kinder to ourselves and to take a look inward to see if this pattern of feeling upset or defeated and possibly spewing things out on others, is serving you.

So why do you feel this way and what can you do about it?

Ask if it is the truth or if it is a perspective

So many of us go through life just having reactions over interactions. This happens because we all observe events and each other through our own personal filter. Being inside our own head all the time can be exhausting. Since others cannot hear the internal conversation you just had with yourself, they may not get the perspective you are coming from. Those unique filters color our perspectives and feelings about what we experience. Our truth is not our neighbor’s truth, so we get aggravated by opinions that don’t mirror ours and we take offense with those who do not agree with us. How do we modify our response?

“The greatest gifts we can give another is our time and attention, with the aim to fully understand the entirety of that person.”

– Juli Geske-Peer

Take some time right now to give the gift of attention to YOU. Use your sense of self-observation and allow yourself to actually feel your emotions. Ask yourself, “Am I upset because this person or idea is a threat to me, or is this just another opinion and it does not diminish me in any way?” “Am I bringing old hurts to the present and how can I deal with them in a positive manner?” This type of self-reflection will serve you across all of your communities, whether you are with family and friends, work colleagues, or perfect strangers.

Don’t go numb

We are all different personality types and, so far, I have been discussing people who are comfortable bringing their feelings, good or bad, out into the public spotlight. What about those of us who shy away from any form of confrontation or conflict? How do we avoid stuffing back our emotional needs and shutting others out?

Due to COVID, some physical coping mechanisms like a warm hug or a hand gently held are hard to come by. Lack of physical connection has brought about feelings of isolation and hopelessness. If you avoid acknowledging you are experiencing emotions like these you are causing damage to yourself. There are ways to face what’s inside without broadcasting it to the world. One of the options I discuss in my upcoming book, 5 Senses for Success: Strategies to Thrive in Any Arena, is to ‘search for the good.’ One of the simplest ways to do this is to journal. You can start a gratitude journal or simply reflect on the day and see where you can find the positive note that shone through. The journal becomes a confidential sounding board.

If you want to start with a smaller step, try keeping a gratitude jar. Each day you write on a small slip of paper a good thing has happened to you or someone you care about and place the paper in the jar. The mere act of writing it down helps us pause to reflect on the positive. If you are finding yourself getting low again, take out the jar and read through the slips you’ve written. It can be an instant reality adjustment that not everything in your life is going awry.

Engage, repeat, relax

Anything you want to be a part of your life needs to become a regular practice. Consistently repeated activities and thoughts become habits. Good habits keep us moving in a positive direction. In, 5 Senses for Success, each chapter covers how to use one of 5 newly defined senses. The concepts in the book are easy to follow and the takeaways from each ’sense‘ chapter can be put into practice immediately. Instead of allowing our feelings to manifest in something negative, the stories, research, and practices in the book can guide us to ask, “Why am I feeling this way and how can I protect myself from this occasion in the future?”

I empathize and I want to help

My own journey is complex, just like yours. Numerous times I have found myself in conversations that became arguments because I was leading with feelings that I did not even understand. Often they were not even connected to the topic!

I have also gone through periods of great sadness due to the pandemic in our world and the unrest in our country. My feelings and your feelings are valid, but they do not define who we are as individuals. I have spent a good amount of time and effort learning how to understand where my feelings are coming from and that has helped to avoid kneejerk responses in so many situations. I hope this blog will spark some internal reflection and provide better management of the feelings rollercoaster.

Getting out of our own head is a great start to shaking unpleasant feelings that make us feel trapped. Remember to keep pausing and asking yourself, “Why am I feeling this way?” We need to work on understanding and accepting ourselves before we can successfully empathize with others and appreciate their perspective.


My book, 5 Senses for Success: Strategies to Thrive in Any Arena, is soon to be published and you can reserve a copy now by following this link:


Investing time and energy to take care of ourselves is never a waste.


Juli Geske Peer is a leadership and relationship practitioner whose professional credentials include two academic degrees, mediator training, train-the-trainer certification, two coaching certifications, and numerous other learning and certification accomplishments.


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