Day 568: How am I supposed to feel?

“How am I supposed to feel?”

I’m wondering if that’s a question you’re familiar with.

Personally, I hear questions like that a lot, at work and elsewhere. For example:

How am I supposed to feel

  • about what just happened.
  • in the morning/afternoon/evening/night.
  • when I’m treated that way.
  • about my family.
  • at this age.
  • about the future.
  • regarding that news.
  • when I’m dealing with all this.
  • after you said that.
  • when things seem so dangerous.
  • if I’m having a different reaction from other people.
  • when the weather is like this.
  • if I don’t feel like myself.
  • in response to what they did.
  • with this unexpected occurrence.
  • when I lose people.
  • about this feeling.
  • here.
  • now.

…. and other questions (expressed with different feelings).

What’s the answer?

I don’t know.

Or, put another way,  there is no “supposed” about feelings.  Feelings just …. are.

How are you supposed to feel about THAT?

Or, about these photos I took yesterday?

IMG_7251 IMG_7253 IMG_7254 IMG_7257 IMG_7258 IMG_7262 IMG_7263 IMG_7266 IMG_7269 IMG_7271 IMG_7273 IMG_7275 IMG_7277

How was I supposed to feel, when I was taking them?

What do you think?

Thanks to everybody who contributed to the words and images here, to people who have feelings (at work and elsewhere), and to you — of course! — no matter what you are supposed to do, today.



Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 44 Comments

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44 thoughts on “Day 568: How am I supposed to feel?

  1. The end of Pleasantville comes to mind – “…it isn’t supposed to be like this.” “It’s not supposed to be anything.”

  2. I often have trouble identifying what I do feel, never mind what I’m supposed to feel.

  3. Supposed is like Should. Behind these words is the idea something is wrong with the way things are.
    I’ve noticed that arguing with reality doesn’t work too well.
    Reality just is.
    I’ve also noticed that it wastes a lot of energy.
    When I use that energy to notice, I feel my feelings more deeply and also it’s easier to change things I might want changed.
    At least that’s how it’s been working for me.

  4. I feel fine about this post Ann! ❤
    Diana xo

  5. LOL — I feel fine about this post too! 🙂

    Love and hugs you woman of feelings and thoughts and all things amazing!

  6. I find it odd how our culture is obsessed with knowing the answer, the “why” behind everything . I don’t get why so many are afraid to say “I’m not sure how I feel about this.” It doesn’t always have to be a question – it can be a statement. We don’t have to find a feeling for everything at that moment. It’s okay to not know.
    And shame on us for always trying to fill in the blank when someone says that! I’m not sure how I feel about that. “Well, do you feel happy/sad/upset/mad/joyful?” I am going to work on that – I’m going to allow others to not know how they feel and come to their own conclusion organically!

  7. “betrayed…Bewildered…how do you think I feel?”
    nathan lane in The Birdcage – one of my top five favorite movies.
    I like photos that tell a story and those definitely do that.

    • I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel reading this comment, but I do know this: now I want to watch The Birdcage again, soon. Also, I’m wondering, if you want to respond, what story the photos tell to you. In any case, thanks for the great visit, Melissa!

    • Melissa, I was just replying to your follow up response and my reply and yours got erased, somehow! I’ve looked everywhere for your second comment and can’t find it. I know how I DO feel about that: Boo hoo, eeek! and Arrrghh! Could you possibly resubmit that comment about what you saw in my photos?

      • OH NO!!! I wonder what happened!? Basically I was just saying that the photos seemed to have the common theme of change, to me anyway.( and I’m kinda nuts so this might just be me )
        They gave me the impression of movement, change, forward progress along with bits of the past and how nothing really ever changes.

      • I know! WHAT happened? Here was my answer to you: (1) I like the way your brain works and (2) I thought what you saw in my photos was insightful and right-on, except that I tend to see the potential for change everywhere (even though, in ways, things also don’t change).

        Phew! I am doing this comment in a different way, attempting to avoid that unexpected, awful loss of your comment before. We’ll see if this change works better.

        I am so happy you read and reply, Melissa!

        Sent from my iPhone


      • thanks! I question how my brain works sometimes
        : )
        I love to read your blog! It always makes me think. How could I not comment?! lol

  8. I like that..feelings just are.
    I’m thinking you were enjoying life. I think stopping to take a picture of something is calming & therapeutic. Well – unless someone is taking photos at a crime scene or something like that.

  9. I feel that I rather enjoy sitting in a air-conditioned Jimmy Johns eating a Vito sub — No. 5, Italian meats — and reading your blog during my lunch hour, Ann. Thanks for the lovely Boston pictures, as always.

  10. It’s good to feel something, sometimes. I think we’re supposed to do that.

  11. I’m often not sure what I feel until much later, sometimes years later. I recognize other people’s feelings more easily than my own. Mine usually disappear under all the busywork.

    • I certainly experience you being very tuned in to other people’s feelings. It can take practice to be as much of an expert about your own.

  12. I feel frustrated that some people seem to need to be told how to feel in reaction to an event!

    • I wonder about the people and the events, Elyse. And I don’t need to be told how to feel about your visit today: I am glad to see you!

  13. I feel like I may have mentioned this before, but we have to identify how we “feel” at the start of our meetings at work… it’s quite fun to be honest and say “disillusioned” or “snarky” because no one is allowed to ask you why or change it. It’s a refreshing reminder of freedom.

    • “A refreshing reminder of freedom” reminds me of how I feel about several things, Aussa, including your blog.

  14. My Uncle Tommy liked to say:
    It’s not as important to understand your feelings as it is to know how to enjoy living.
    And who am I to argue– he was a happy guy, and lived to age 86. 😀

    • I understand your difficulty arguing with your amazing Uncle Tommy. This is how I feel now: glad to know this.

  15. I feel a little less obligated to explain to others why I feel what I feel. 🙂

  16. Gene Phillips

    Yes, feelings just are and that is fine as long as we find a balance in holding in and letting out our feelings according to the situation.

  17. I completely agree that feelings just are, and that there is no supposed to. I think when people ask that question they probably want validation for their feelings because they probably are experiencing feelings that are generally viewed as negative. Maybe they are depressed, angry, sad, hurt, etc. Personally I don’t think we should view feelings as negative and positive because any feeling can cause problems or help you depending on how you act. Perhaps the correct response to that question is “How would you like to feel about…?” If they would rather not feel hurt, angry, sad, etc then now you have the basis for a discussion because there is now “how they feel” and “what they would like to feel” and there is a process that can be done to help them get to that goal, even if it is not always an easy task.

    • How should I feel about this comment? How would I like to feel about this comment? In this case, it’s the same responses: Thankful. Impressed. Grateful, Wonderful.

      Some people I’ve met would say that those are NOT feelings. For those people, the answer to both questions would be: Happy (or glad or joyful or other synonyms
      for “happy”).

      How do you feel about all this, Swarn?

      • I think those are all feelings. Although thankful and grateful mean the same thing. So you are guilty of repetition, but I’ll just take it to mean that you are REALLY thankful. lol

        Happy is always great, but I think that happy feels a bit different depending on why you are happy. So I think that saying “thankful” is a way of giving shade to “happy”. In drawing giving shade to the object is as much a part of drawing as the shape. So happy is the shape, but without saying how you are being made happy, the “drawing” of happy is not as 3-dimensional as it could be. It’s just 2-D happiness. 🙂

      • Thank you for another multi-dimensional comment, Swarn. And I didn’t even need 3-D glasses, to see it!

  18. Pingback: Day 675: Eyes | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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