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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What exactly is meant by “knowing what you’re feeling”? I see this often in descriptions of Fi/Fe or certain types, but haven’t found much that really elaborates beyond:

a) This type is often aware of what they’re feeling.

b) This type is often confused or unaware of what they’re feeling.

It’s hard to imagine that anyone would be completely clueless to their feelings in the way that they couldn’t tell if their feelings were good or bad, but I don’t know where the cutoff would be between knowing and not knowing.

Does knowing what you’re feeling include a general sense, such as being able to discern good vs bad feelings, but nothing beyond that? Or does it include more detail or the why?

Or does it break down good vs bad further? With the ability to know different forms of good vs bad feelings, like

Good:
-joy
-love
-content
-peace

Bad:
-anger
-sadness
-fear
-hatred

Or would this breakdown even be too general to constitute knowing what you’re feeling? Would the phrase suggest even further breakdown of the sub-categories of good vs bad? (I’m ignoring neutral here)
 

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I agree, Mark. I see in the Extroverted Feeling descriptions "They are unsure of what they are feeling" and I have never been able to relate to this myself. I always know what I am feeling! But I have heard plenty of people on here mention that they don't always know what they are feeling.

As a counselor, I often ask people what they are feeling. Some people will name emotions like sadness, anger, loneliness, etc. They will name specific feelings. And then I will dig deeper. "Where is the sadness or pain coming from? What is causing it?" So this is how I think it relates to the question of "How do you know what you are feeling?" In any particular moment, ask yourself: What am I feeling right now? And also, what is causing me to feel that way? Where is that feeling coming from? There are some people who can point that out better than others. Some people can't point it out at all! :)
 

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I had to work all day today and it was followed by drinks and dinner with three extroverts, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt... I pick up on the emotions and mood of everyone that I come in contact with. I'm like a mood ring that reflects back to the other person. I have had to learn to separate the emotions that I was picking up on and my true emotional response. It was a learned skill. I now am better at managing it, but I easily get flooded by other's emotions. No matter how much people try to hide, I can feel how they truly feel deep down. I feel it as well. It's a blessing and a curse. Sometimes it hurts a bit too much because I can't fix everybody. I struggled more when I was a child. I feel the emotions of animals, as well. Anyone else? I hope I helped, even though I am completely spent socially! :topsy_turvy:
 

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I know for me, the vast majority of the time I'm so focused on what other people are feeling and figuring out ways to keep the peace that I can't tell if I'm feeling something or I'm just echoing the feelings around me. :/

I am a sympathy feeler to the extreme which is why I hate super emotional and dramatic movies and tv shows. They make me feel like shit, good feelings and bad feelings alike. :((

So I have a huge problem knowing what I'm feeling. Other people I'm pretty good at figuring out on a surface level, myself I usually have no idea.
 

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It is often kind of hard for me to be in tune with my emotions. So often I can kind of "know" the way I emotionally feel, but can't really put a label on it. I also often put others' feelings first, and/or are more aware of/in knowledge of their feelings than my own.

I think for an Fi user, conscious judgments are more based on feelings and inner values. In that sense, they have to be more consciously aware of how they feel about things. For an Fe user, judgments are also often emotionally based, but the reference for making judgements is more so the feelings of others.

I often realize after some longish amount of time what my own emotions really are because they have reached a point of somewhat overwhelm. This is especially true when socializing is involved, because Fe really takes center stage in that case.




p.s. this is post no. 1234 for me!!!! Very big moment, my friends:)
 

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Well on the subject of Fe in the dom or aux position, here you go:

One important thing to remember about Fe users is that they often have a hard time understanding their own emotions. They can easily pick up on and understand other people’s emotions, but their own are more confusing to them. This is because their feeling function is directed outwards, towards others, instead of inwards, as with introverted feeling. Fi users can easily understand their own emotions, while Fe users will often have to ‘vent’ or talk their emotions out to understand them. This process of putting their feelings out into the world lets them process them effectively, and is an important thing for them to be able to do. This rule applies more to dominant and auxiliary Fe users, and less to the tertiary and inferior Fe users.
Source: How Do YOU Use Extraverted Feeling? - Psychology Junkie


That is how I experience it. I often don't understand how I think/feel about something until I've expressed it externally in some way. It doesn't necessarily have to be through venting to an actual person. It could just be through writing in my journal or writing a poem. It might even be through seeing the exact feeling or experience mirrored in another person. I have a need to see it externally.


As has already been said, when around people a lot, it can be hard to seperate your emotions from theirs. You start overidentifying with their stuff so then it's like seperating laundry. Which emotions belong to me, and which emotions belong to them? Things start to become a bit blurry until I've had a sufficient amount of alone time to gain clarity. Or...vent in some way. That usually does the trick for me. I usually have a lot of conflicting feelings on my own anyway, so it can still be complicated even when I'm just dealing with my own feelings. I rarely ever just feel one feeling. I don't know how everyone else experiences their feelings. I just know how I experience my own.


So on the one hand, I know how I feel...I'm probably just more presently aware/focused on other people's emotional energies and how they are interacting with my own. I've had to learn how to develop better boundaries and not take on everything they are feeling. It's not all my responisbility. I can just be aware that they are there but I don't have to receive it into myself or REACT to it...if that makes sense. I can also choose to embrace it in a positive way (where I'm still able to help) or a negative way (where it does harm to myself). But resistance usually makes things worse.
 

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It’s hard to imagine that anyone would be completely clueless to their feelings in the way that they couldn’t tell if their feelings were good or bad
This is my default state.

If I want to know what I am feeling, I have to take anything from five minutes to days to examine my feelings. Preferably somewhere quiet, and it works best when I applied in hindsight: I can tell what I felt some time ago. (As you can imagine, that is not highly useful.) It's marginally better when applied to what other people are feeling. And there's it's simply ... well, what it says on the can. You get an impression of someone and have an idea (or more precisely, a feeling) of what they are feeling. Either because you (involuntarily) mirror the feeling, or because you cast yourself in the position of the other.

So eh, don't knock it. If you can't imagine not knowing what you yourself are feeling at any given moment, your feeling function is not inferior. Congrats :tongue:


Now if only everyone considered this, and stopped badgering me about "what I am feeling" when I literally don't know ...
 

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In order to know my own feelings, I need to be alone, I need to have time to somehow extravert what is happening on the inside, either by talking it out (which means I go into 'monologue mode'), write it out, or paint it out. I generally come to an understanding of my feelings as metaphorical images that make it easier to pin a label on them. I completely relate to the description of Fe that emphasizes the difficulty in separating one's own feelings from those of the people in the immediate environment and I believe that it is likely that those who can more easily identify their feelings are more likely to be using Fi.
 

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When I want to know what I'm feeling I search for or think of the ideal paragraph, movie scene or music that fits. This way I can sort of "try on" these things by rereading, rewatching etc. until I found the right one, and then recognize it.

That's the reason I have so many bookmarks saved and "sources" memorized I can draw from, like a big collection or micro-library. The tune playing in the back of my head I may be whisteling to and my posture are additional hints.

Feeling happy for example goes along with having rather happy thoughts; I've found that there's always an additional clue to my feelings, they are never alone but always go along with something beyond them.

I only get completely out of touch with my feelings when I'm really agitated, nervous (positive anticipation as well as negative worry) or angry in a heated argument. After I've calmed down I then notice and admit to myself that I was out of character and what happened and try to appease my brothers again.

When people remark on things like when I always talk about the syrian conflict (it doesn't seem to leave me alone) when watching any news turned out to be reliable as well.
 

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For most of my life, I just haven't felt that my feelings were that important. I was so focused on other things that I cared about, and my personal feelings didn't really seem relevant, and were potentially unpleasant anyway, so I just wasn't really interested in them. I was good at pushing them away in pursuit of whatever agenda I was trying to accomplish. My personal goals were so much more interesting and satisfying.

I didn't really have a lot of thoughts about what i was feeling. i.e. my feelings were not in my head space. However, they would definitely show up in my body, being tense, relaxed, etc.

The more I think about why I care about the things I care about, the less I find myself getting obsessed with personal goals/ agendas (or something I'm thinking about), and the more I find myself actually thinking about my feelings. It's nice, because it makes me feel more centered and present in reality. It's unpleasant sometimes but that's okay.
I find more opportunities for closeness and intimacy with friends, too, when I don't just automatically push feelings away, because I end up showing my feelings and then we talk about it etc.

In terms of Fe, specifically ,it's easy to get focused on what people around you and doing, saying, feeling, etc, and not really feel that your feelings are relevant. It's not that they disappear, it's just that your determination to enact a certain agenda takes over. Of course a really strong or upsetting feeling will cut through all that.
 

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I don't see how someone with a dominant feeling function could be oblivious to feeling, be it Fe or Fi, that just completely undermines the purpose of this function. I think both have awareness, when they are strong and developed. It's more likely that low feeling experiences confusions over it.

As for feeling/emotions... Whereas Fi focuses on the subject's feeling; the focus seems to move from the feeling itself to the form that is given to it by the person... it's all about how the subject relates to things on a personal, nuanced way, seeking the ideal... something the person contains, so it ends up being detached from the environment. Fe has a more generalizing approach to feeling, it's more wordly. Feelings have a relation to objects, they are states that you are experiencing and/or expressing. And Fe sees everything through feeling attitudes, and gives a layer of value to everything. Naturally that will usually have a personal tone to it.

If I don't remember entirely wrong, Jung wrote that Extroverted feeling type is the one that has most differentiated feeling; and in that sense would potentially have the most "individualized" feelings too.
 
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Wowwww I can't relate to anything you guys wrote. Maybe I'm INFP lollllll
 
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I don't see how someone with a dominant feeling function could be oblivious to feeling, be it Fe or Fi, that just completely undermines the purpose of this function. I think both have awareness, when they are strong and developed. It's more likely that low feeling experiences confusions over it.
Well, there's two possible reasons, no? Either because you get nothing, or because you get far too much to easily untangle it. In a sense, it's a signal-to-noise problem -- there's very little noise for me, but the signal is nonexistent too. On the other hand, what some people above wrote seems to be an overwhelming amount of noise, so that the signal is simply buried. Either way, the ratio is bad and makes figuring out your feelings hard.

To be fair though, when OP talked about the "knowing what you feel" thing, the absence of it usually means the former, i.e. inferior feeling, yes. (I also assume that, given experience, you could learn how to untangle everything you're feeling, so the latter is not a fundamental problem.)
 

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Well, there's two possible reasons, no? Either because you get nothing, or because you get far too much to easily untangle it. In a sense, it's a signal-to-noise problem -- there's very little noise for me, but the signal is nonexistent too. On the other hand, what some people above wrote seems to be an overwhelming amount of noise, so that the signal is simply buried. Either way, the ratio is bad and makes figuring out your feelings hard.

To be fair though, when OP talked about the "knowing what you feel" thing, the absence of it usually means the former, i.e. inferior feeling, yes. (I also assume that, given experience, you could learn how to untangle everything you're feeling, so the latter is not a fundamental problem.)
Hmm interesting, I think I agree with that... wouldn't it actually be classic example of Fe gone extreme, to lose itself in the noise... and contradictory feeling states. And that usually leads way to negative and inferior Ti which begins to ruthlessly remove all the noise that causes disturbance. All that to get back to the signal, maybe?

I still can't imagine being overwhelmed by feeling myself... or at least I wouldn't experience it as such. Idk. But I assume a feeler wouldn't be as obviously overwhelmed when compared to people with inferior feeling - with whom it can get painful.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
These are all great responses!

I can never really label it, either. Really, it does seem to be a driving factor, but one that I just go along with, and it’s difficult to describe it. This makes it almost impossible for me to really talk about feelings with others, because I don’t even really articulate them to myself, but instead just observe them.

Any attempt to really dissect them just leads to dead-ends or glaring holes that make it impossible to describe or categorize them. And doing this too much, trying to dissect them, categorize them, or discuss them seems to almost disrupt a process that’s working well enough on its on. This seems important for typing though.

I can get strong impressions from the environment I’m in. It's not uncommon that I can get a strong impression of dislike or discomfort just from a room, but I can never tell why. There doesn’t seem to be any pattern, so I can’t really tell anything beyond “room BAD”.

This makes it so difficult to explain things to others, because “I just don’t like the room” is a strange response that’s not going to satisfy others, but I can never offer any explanation beyond that because there doesn’t seem to be one. I’ll spend a lot of time trying to understand why I’m getting such a bad impression from a room, and try to think of ways to change it, but all in vain.

I get inexplicable positive, happy impressions from a room or environment often too, but I don’t spend as much time questioning that. I just enjoy it and the benefits it brings.

I don’t seem to be able to tell what other people are feeling in a consistent way. I don’t know if I really absorb the emotions of others or not.

If someone is upset or angry, I’ll usually become upset. If someone’s happy, I’ll usually become happy. I can’t tell if this would be considered absorption or not though or if it’s more of an internal process responding to the situation.

I’ve noticed with music/movies/books I select what matches my mood, but sometimes it’s an effort to influence my mood by going with something that’s almost the opposite, but not quite. Though I usually do this without realizing it. It’s not a conscious process when I select something and often can’t make the connection until after the fact.




ANNNNND I just confused myself again. :confused:


Thanks for sharing the article @Vivid Melody , it's really helpful!
 

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As a Fe user I don't think it's correct to say we don't know what we're feeling.
I think it's correct to say that we perfer not knowing what we're feeling.

Fe is extraverted, Fi is introverted.
Fe wants to extract values, feelings and all that to the outside world, it feels more comfortable with that, while Fi prefers doing all of that inside and won't let much of it outside.
As a Fe user I often feel like I know what I'm feeling but when I truly come in contact with it...well it just doesn't feel right and it bugs me, I much rather talk with another person about what I'm feeling or being around people.
My Fi friend hates most of the time when people try to talk with him when he's feeling down for example and he's extreamly hard to read.

The knowing what another person is feeling is that F winning over T but I also think that Ni is pretty overpowered when it comes to knowing what another person is feeling, Ni can take so many subtle notices like your body movement and the tone of your voice and know what you're feeling (or at least automatically tries to know).
 

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As a "feeling" type a majority of our decision-making is guided through our emotions. Compared to "thinking" types, "feelers" are more in tune with emotions. Feelings and emotions come with an inherent understanding of nuances and significantly drive actions.

I'm not going to explain this in very objective terms (what's objective about personality anyway? :p) but in my own interpretation so forgive me if it doesn't end up being too coherent:

However, based on my interpretation- for Fi, the feeling aspect is internally based and more-so based on strong identity. Fi is confident in feelings and expression of that to others as an extension of identity. For Fi, those feelings are stubborn, less likely to change.
For me, the difference doesn't stem from not knowing whether the feelings are good or bad. In one part, it is difficulty in being able to describe how I'm feeling to others. It's difficult for me to find the right words to express how I feel and even if I knew the right words, figure out exactly what it is I'm feeling, separate from everyone else. At a time, it was so ingrained in me to please others (I call Fe the feel good function) and in an attempt to connect, I would absorb and reflect back feelings instead of expressing my own true emotions, sharing the minimal necessary to connect. It was only after having time to reflect on my own, did I realize how I truly felt about certain situations and experiences. How I'm feeling can also easily be swayed. I tend to look externally before confirming my feelings. Basically I'm better with helping others express their thoughts and feelings than I am with figuring out and explaining my own. Scrolling up, I see others voiced similar thoughts. Late, again! D:

Edit: Sorry, I keep editing this, this is an extremely interesting topic! Sometimes, I also think that Ni dominant function and Fe auxiliary conflict and work in opposition to each other.
 

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I just have to ask, what on earth does Fe have to do with subjective emotion? I don't see how it could!
There's no operating platform there for Fe to look into the user's heart and find the answers.

What we can do is express to others / a rock what we're feeling... and then we can see it.


What I find happens most often for me, is beyond just taking on others feelings... I also struggle with their expectations on how I should feel.

Example:
Someone hands me a present. It's beautifully wrapped. They're smiling and excited to be presenting it to be.
A smile takes over my own face, because they're so happy.
I open the present.
What's in there is something they put thought and effort into.
That's wonderful. I'm so glad!

Or so I think.
Days or Weeks later, I finally realize that what they gave me has really nothing to do with me - they didn't know my tastes well enough.
But they were so sweet to give it, that I thought it was a wonderful gift and made me glad. Or was I?

Oooooh, who knows. Who knows when I'm happy, or when I'm sad? Expectations rule the land. It's not on purpose.


Perhaps dominant Fe users have an easier time of it, not because they actually know their own subjective feeling state better, but because they're so persuaded & dominated by the voice of Fe that they never notice the incongruity in what they're supposedly feeling?

I know there was a funny convo on the ENFJ forum a year ago, where the general consensus was it was very difficult to determine how they were feeling personally.
This meme came from that discussion, it always makes me laugh, courtesy KC Tan.



Chin Movie Nose Forehead Photo caption



 

See, look, while I was searching for 1/2 hour for that wiley hiding meme, I realized that the open of my reply here was full of emotion... mostly frustration! Yey me!



Also, I believe that Fe expresses a wider range of emotion than Fi, but that it understands far less range than Fi.
Sometimes when my mother (Fe aux) or I (Fe aux) are angry... it turns into "Me MAD. Me GRUMPY. Me don't know WHY!"
 

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I have found using a feelings chart helpful. I’m pretty familiar with hearing myself say I’m tired or annoyed or whatever, and I like that it’s listed as “When your needs are not being met” as it reminds me to put myself first until they are!



I’ve been doing meditations often with hands over my heart lately and that has made me feel a lot more in tune with myself versus others too.
 

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I would say that "knowing your feelings" can be put into stages. First of all there is simply awareness of your internal state; realizing that your body has a physical reaction, your thoughts have a certain pattern to them, and that there is an emotion. Secondly there is the ability to label the feeling; say what kind of feeling it is, explain it to others, is it good, bad, intense, relaxed, is your chest beating, etc. Thirdly there is the ability to name a reasonable cause of the emotion. That's much harder since, at least in theory, emotions and physical responses have an unconscious origin and the exact reasons therefore cannot be known, but of course it's usually possible to give a good estimate.

If you don't know your own feelings it's most likely because you've never taken much interest in them and thus haven't learned to discern them quickly. In my estimation most people are naturally poor at this, but it can be trained by asking yourself what you're feeling and why, like @lizw47 said. Mindfulness meditation is also very useful for training that initial awareness.
 
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