In the last few days since the launch of the Bearapy online campaign for World Health Day, I have posted one bear a day on my social media platforms. Different people answered the question “What emotion is this bear feeling?” and thank you to everyone who reposted or commented. We got varied answers.
For this first bear, we had comments as: longing, sad, regret, lost, excitement for the future… My favourite one came from Instagram: the bear had lost his fishing rod after a fight with a whale shark and so he has to go home and buy a new one, wasting one day. Humourous creativity!
Quite a few people wrote to me and asked, is that a tear on his face? And a few others told me that was his cheek or his smile. Why such varied responses?
We tend to project our own feelings on to others, and on to objects around us, i.e. we attribute how to feel on to others, as if they were carrying the feelings we feel. Part of this might be to protect ourselves from some emotions that are not so pleasant. This bear photo is just one example of how different perspectives are at play. We carry with us, our own assumptions based on our past experiences. Depending on our emotional states, our own feelings and thoughts in both the conscious and unconscious mind, and our learnt perspectives of the world, we see the same picture differently from what others see. Or you could think the bear on the boat feels both excited and lonely at the same time. There is no right or wrong!
With the second bear on the beach, if you thought he was feeling exhilarated, fun, perhaps you are enjoying your life, or could it be because you feel your life is monotonous and you are looking for something to spice it up? A few remarked that the bear looked alone on the beach, playing on his own – are you feeling lonely, not understood, not heard? By whom? Though the amusing one is where one of my friends commented that the bear was so enjoying himself he did not notice he was naked — such carefree spirit and honesty the bear has!
What we see, or how we think the bear is feeling is the first step. The bigger question is: WHY do we see the bear like that, and WHY do we think this bear feels longing and excitement and not regret? What does it reflect from inside us?
What is the strain or melancholy we feel with the bear playing the piano? Or the me-time we might relish in – and find no time for – in imagining the songs the bear is composing?
Thinking about why we project certain emotions helps us understand our inner feelings better, and increases our self-awareness. This is one step towards accepting ourselves, and also being able to face up to our fears and worries in life – and to be able to confront them.
The bears will continue to pop up over social media — check out the Fourth Bear today! Keep commenting, keep reposting, keep thinking. In the next post I will write more about how these bears are related to our mental well-being and what we could do in our daily lives!
#Bearapy #LetsTalk #depression #Everythingsnotokay #RealEmotions