Talking about feelings

Introduction

In our previous article we talked about the high rates of suicide in men.

With some Internet searches, we found the following websites that are focused on the high rates of suicide in men and talk about this difficult subject more openly. They provide some useful resources, particularly the R U OK website:

The Beyond Blue website includes the article below on meditation:

Awareness & Sharing

In our previous article we talked about an article on Why more men than women die by suicide and one quote in particular stood out for us. In this article we talk more about this quote from the Why more men than women die by suicide article:

  • “It’s not that men don’t have the same issues as women – but they’re a little less likely to know they have whatever stresses or mental health conditions that are putting them at greater risk for suicide.” Harkavy-Friedman

The quote above raised three questions at @happyops about feelings that we have discussed below.

1. Are we aware of our feelings?

In the ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life’ by Shantideva (ISBN: 8185102597), Shantideva tells us to look at where our mind is (chapter 5, verse 41):

Those who strive to master concentration

Should never for an instant be distracted.

They should always watch their minds, inquiring,

“Where is now my mind engaged?”

Being honest with ourselves, what we are thinking about and what our feelings are, are both vitally important. This requires us to be in-touch with our feelings and totally honest to ourselves.

We found that we are not as in-touch with our feelings as we would like to think. For some it is within moments for others it is more like months of a scenario, with the clarity of hindsight, that we have real introspection about our feelings. After some discussion, we think that some prioritise reflecting on feelings more highly, while others are distracted by the busyness of modern life.

Conclusion: Make more effort to prioritise reflecting on feelings more highly.

2. Do we share our feelings with the people we trust?

We found that we really only share our feelings with the people that we trust.

  • These could be friends, family, and partners;
  • it could be somebody we are taking a chance with to build trust in the relationship, whether it is a potential friend or partner;
  • or it could be somebody we know at one moment in time, knowing that it is unlikely that we will ever meet them again.

This is a deeper discussion of feelings and emotions, but based on discussion we found that a we do not really share our feelings with the people we trust. A lot of conversations are more about more day-to-day matters like sports or world events, like the Tibet / Taiwan / Hong Kong and China, Brexit, Corona Virus, and climate change.

Conclusion: Be more open with our thoughts and feelings, and talk about difficult subjects with the people we trust.

3. Do we ask about the feelings of the people we trust?

At @happyops we often think of listening as a skill, whether it is in our lives or in the workplace. The question is: have we applied listening as a skill and made ourselves available to ask and listen to the feelings of the people we trust? With busy lives and responsibilities, we don’t think we have really asked about the feelings of others.

The R U OK website is a great resource for how to approach the people in our lives or in the workplace.

Conclusion: To ‘test the water’ and ask the people we trust about difficult situations they might be facing and ask about thier feelings and emotions.

Getting Help

Help is available in Australia, New Zealand, and around the world. Please reach out if you need to speak to somebody:

Australia

  • Samaritans – 135 247
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14

New Zealand

  • Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Healthline – 0800 611 116
  • Samaritans – 0800 726 666

Love, @happyops