Over the past few months I’ve been pursuing several avenues of personal growth. In October I flew to Colorado for a 2-day… life coaching session? I’m not even sure what to call it. It’s called the Paterson LifePlan and over 2 days with a facilitating guide, you come up with a map and plan for your life. I was somewhat skeptical, but I had time and it came highly recommended by a couple trusted friends so I figured why not. And I have to say, I found it extremely useful – I realized a lot about myself and came out with a concrete plan not just for my immediate job search (now over!) but on personal, family, and community levels as well. I’ve talked with a few friends about it but if you’re interested I’d be happy to share more; some stuff I learned I think is generally insightful, not specific to me.
John recommended I pursue Spiritual Direction so I’ve been doing that as well. And for various reasons I also decided to see a Christian counselor. Everything has been helpful and it’s all forced me to look and understand myself better.
One persistent lesson I’ve had is that I’m not very in tune with my emotions. It’s not just that I’m hesitant to express them, it’s that I’m frequently not even aware of what I’m feeling in the moment. Concurrent with all this I also recently read through a 40 Day devotional based on my Enneagram type and it notes that emotions are a problem for Enneagram 5s – that’s completely true of me. I realized in Spiritual Direction that one way it comes out is that I don’t pray honestly. I always thought I did, and I’ve been encouraged to pray honestly, not just how I feel I should, for a very long time. But my honesty comes out in honest thoughts. I’m comfortable with that in my prayers. My director pointed out that I never pray honestly about my feelings. In fact, I don’t pray about my feelings virtually at all. I’ve been encouraged to do that – if I’m angry, pray that I’m angry, if I’m disappointed, pray that I’m disappointed, etc. – and I find it totally awkward. That’s how unnatural it is for me, and I didn’t realize it. I’m sure it’s Prayer 101 for most people but that I never pray my emotions (and that I should) was a new realization for me.
In another context, I was asked about my wife and friends, what they’re like, why I like them, why I married Jieun. When I answered, it was pointed out that I only responded with facts about them. Nothing about how I feel about them emotionally. And even knowing that now, thinking about how I feel emotionally about my friends seems weird. We’re just… friends? I’m not even sure how to express that. All this to say that in this way as in many others, I’m just not in tune with my emotions.
It’s a good realization, but I’m not sure what to do with it. How can I become aware of my emotions if I don’t know how? It’s the next thing I’m working on I guess.