Rachel Sutherland is a Trauma and Abuse Therapist and Coach who helps people move on from their past and reclaim their future so that they can become more of who they really are.
This question, ‘Hey Brother, how is your day going out of 10’? is valuable on many levels. Firstly, it makes us stop and think – How IS my day? If I had to score it out of 10, what would it be? And why?
What am I feeling? What am I thinking?
Already, we’re way ahead on the introspection scale and well away from our standard, automatic responses of ‘not bad’, ‘same old same old’, ‘fine’ and ‘ok’.
We’ve had to stop and think how we actually are, and rate it on a score out of 10 for not only someone else but also for ourselves.
Benefits of self assessing your feelings
Being able to share what’s going on for us with another human being fulfils a primitive part of us. It’s that part that benefits from sitting round the fire at the end of a day with our tribe, sharing our stories, our trials and tribulations.
This ancient daily ritual was essential for the expression of our feelings around our challenges. It allowed us to gather our resources and gain support for whatever the next big onslaught threatening our survival may be. It was a large part of moving on from trauma.
We may live in a modern technical age now, but the connection and support from our tribe carry the same powerful benefits for us today. It’s absolutely essential for our health and wellbeing.
Another huge benefit of this clever question is that it puts a big tick in the box of checking in with how we feel.
Most of us have lost this ability, and sadly it’s a skill that many of us were not fortunate to be able to develop.
As men, we might believe it’s ‘pansy’ to check in with our feelings, or our life experience may have taught us to put the needs of others above our own.
Or we may have been taught to cut ourselves off from our feelings by being told, ‘That didn’t hurt’, when we fell down, or the old favourite ‘Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about’.
We might have been taught by example to suppress our emotions and sweep them under the carpet, or we might have learnt that it was only ok to feel a limited range of emotions and that the others were not ok to feel, or ‘bad’. We might even have been punished for expressing these.
Whatever our response to our feelings today as adults, we respond to our feelings in almost exactly the same manner as we were responded to when we expressed our feelings as children. This isn’t our fault, and we can only do as we have learnt to do. Our parents or caregivers could only have responded to us as they knew how. So there’s no blame. But with awareness, there comes the responsibility to choose a different and healthier response.
Checking in with feelings
Checking in with how we feel is the first step in taking care of our feelings. It’s what we do instinctively when we care about other people or our children, so it makes sense to establish a habit of regularly checking in with ourselves too.
‘How is your day going out of 10?’ invites us to respond differently, and in doing so, opens a door that enables us to connect with others as well as to ourselves.
The truth is that learning how to take care of our feelings is a fundamental part of being able to develop a healthy relationship with ourselves. Healthy relationships with others follow on naturally from this. I encourage you to ask yourself this question, but don’t forget to give the gift to someone else also – ask them often!