The atmosphere at the DMV was impatient, bored.
The vibe in the yoga class was calm, serene.
The ambience at the brand new restaurant was exciting, anticipatory.
My clients say they don’t know how to process and feel their emotions, but I would argue that they know how because they do it everyday.
Every time we walk into a room, we get a sense the space and typically match the tone.
How do we know to be quiet and sorrowful at a funeral? We get cues from the space and the people inside of it.
How do we know that we can shout and be lively during a football game? Same way.
We’re typically not afraid of these emotions because everyone else around us is going through the same thing and it feels safe and normal. It seems like the emotion is coming from the space and people and not from us.
Think about the #metoo movement. After the first few brave women came forward publicly, there was access to bravery for all of us. So many swapped shame for bravery and shared the stories that had kept hidden for years.
Those feelings didn’t come from those brave women. They come from us, from our thoughts. The thoughts shifted from “I should hide this” to “It’s safe to share.”
Exploring the moods of these spaces can help you learn to access your emotions when you are on your own.
Take yourself on a date to several places you suspect have different vibes. Go to a football game, a modern art museum, a fancy pants boutique, a candlelight vigil, a sold out rock concert, a symphony, a yoga class, a funeral, a Zumba class, a dentist office waiting room and ask yourself the following questions:
What is the vibe here? What emotions would I use to describe this vibe?
How do I know that?
What would it be like to express the opposite emotions here? Why?
How could I use what I learned to help me experience these feelings on my own?