General Question

lostinyoureyes's avatar

Can you feel things you've never experienced?

Asked by lostinyoureyes (1118points) March 21st, 2010

I can. It’s why I am so afraid of things in life sometimes.

I have never been in love so I’ve never had my heart broken. But I can easily imagine the pain.. the sinking feeling in my chest.. the nausea..shortness of breath.. tears.. feeling like the world will end. I almost cry just thinking about it. How can this be if I’ve never even come close? What does this say about me?

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23 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

It means you have a ruminative style in dealing with anxiety.

Exhausted's avatar

I would say you are sensitive and empathatic. That is not a bad thing. Having the ability to put yourself in a position you have not experienced indicates you will be able to avoid a lot of things that most people won’t see coming. Use it to your advantage.

LoveNickValensi's avatar

It says you are very sensitive and need to try it.Life’s to short.It’s about making mistakes.So make em.I bet the pain you are imagining wont be as bad.Nothings wrong with you.Your just scared.Like me and a lot of other people.

MissAnthrope's avatar

In short, yes. Like you, I knew what being in love would feel like, and I also knew what certain sex acts would feel/be like, without having any frame of reference. I agree with the sensitive and empathetic diagnoses. :) It can be a really good thing.. I spend a lot of time thinking about things, including different variations of how something might go down, and I find myself more prepared, more flexible, more adaptable (because I’m less surprised), and can come off way more experienced than I actually am.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Oh sure, I just finished reading about how some cows aren’t really killed the first time around in the slaughterhouse and then they get skinned and their hind legs cut and various others things happen before somewhere down the torture line, yet another attempt is made to kill them by cutting through their spinal chord which doesn’t always kill them either, just immobilizes them. I could literally feel the pain of this cow or the fear, at the least, as she’d try to climb away from this pain.

Chongalicious's avatar

It means you are very empathetic… I am too. But don’t be afraid because although you can feel it without experiencing it; you never truly know what it’s like… This is like the difference between watching a movie and feeling like you’re there and actually being there. You get the sense of it but not the true experience…and imagination can’t help us learn so much as experience can. Get what I mean?

lillycoyote's avatar

Well, you can have empathy, you can understand intellectually and if you’re thoughtful and sensitive you can understand how an experience that you haven’t had may be similar to an experience you have had, and that can help you understand someone else’s experience, I guess that’s kind of what empathy is. I believe that. But I also believe there are quite a number of things that you can never fully understand until you have gone through them yourself.

janbb's avatar

You might be interested in reading the book The Secret Life of Bees if you haven’t already. One of the characters in it, May, is depicted as having an extreme amount of sensitivity.

I have it too, to an extent. I find it almost impossible to watch scenes of war or great violence in movies because I can empathize so strongly with the feelings.

thriftymaid's avatar

Yes, I’m doing it right now.

Cruiser's avatar

It means you have heightened sensory abilities. Others have mentioned empathy but I suspect you are simply more in tune with your senses. You may be hyper sensitive to light, sounds, touch, smell and combined, you my simply pick up on the feelings and emotions of life…yours and those of others as well.

Jeruba's avatar

Have you had feelings like this and then later had the actual experience? and if so, did it turn out to be the same as what you imagined?

As a young person I had a lot of vicarious experiences through reading. By identifying with characters in books, I had some notion of romantic love, heartbreak, and happiness, death of someone close, fear and rescue, courage and adventure, etc., etc. To some extent movies can also give us the feeling of having been through experiences we haven’t really had. But it simply isn’t the same as when you undergo the real thing in your own life. That’s why I’m wondering if you have had any opportunity to compare what you imagined with how you actually do feel in the situation.

Feelings like these are part of being alive. Don’t be afraid. Don’t run from them. Life is full of risks, but you actually stand to lose more by not taking the risks than you do by taking them.

SeventhSense's avatar

@lostinyoureyes
There is no manufactured state of love or heartbreak that compares to the real thing. It’s like imagining a nice taste of ice cream. As good as you may imagine it, there is just no comparison to the real thing. And imagining lost love without experiencing the love is doing yourself a huge disfavor. In the real case you’ve actually experienced love’s pleasure and then the loss. In the imagined state, you only have the loss. Now stop ruminating and start living. Unless of course you’re stilll very young. In which case just be patient. Either way enjoy life. Live lough and laugh as if today was your last.

Coloma's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

Good grief..thats horrible..why would you even read something like that!

I am not an overly sensitive type, I am empathetic and contemplative but…I checked out of all media about 8 yrs. ago. No TV either, dvd’s when I want to watch a movie.

I am a huge believer in not inundating ourselves with negative input.

It is unhealthy to expose yourself to all the graphic details of situations you are powerless over. Thats just masochistic.

EdMayhew's avatar

Yes of course you can, hence the phrase “there’s a first time for everything”

Good luck with it when you do for real!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Coloma I find your response interesting. Why would I read something like that? Because it’s reality and I was not aware of it – because I want and ought to be aware of it. To say that we shouldn’t expose ourselves to ‘negative input’ especially given the fact that our society, itself, does this to the animals we eat is beyond arrogant, for me – to turn a blind eye, especially when I have learned something I can’t unlearn, is not in my character.

Coloma's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

No offense intended. I too, once upon a time many moons ago was subject to feeding on a lot of cruelty based issues, ( I am a big animal lover ).

I have come to understand what I can and cannot do to change things in the world.

My orientation has shifted greatly over the years as will most.

Seek and ye shall find, be it good or bad.

I choose to seek the good rather than the negative and accept there are things in life that are beyond my control.

I was merely attempting to say that if one is prone to depression or ultra sensitivity feasting on all the woes of the world is probably not ones highest choice.

Like giving a diabetic a 5 lb. cake. Reaction will happen, intensify.

I do what I can but don’t fill up on too much ‘reality’....there is nothing new under the sun, and once you know something it is safe to assume that there are plenty of other varients to that one unhappy thing.

I love my pet geese, don’t buy down products, don’t eat fois gras, but I also do not spend time reading about the cruelties of fois gras farming.

I know the ‘reality’ of such, I choose to put my energy on enjoying my geese and providing them with a wonderful life.

The quickest way to misery is to feed on all the worlds injustice, especially via the slow fear drip of media.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Coloma There are certain things that are in my control like my own eating habits and those of family as well as an ability to talk and educate others on some of the issues concerned, to spread information quickly and effectively – I know many people out there simply don’t know and I’m looking to reach them…I can also help organizations out there that promote vegetarianism or that work on human treatment of animals for those who simply must eat meat but would like for their animals to not suffer. I don’t understand what you mean about feeding on all the world’s injustice – there are a lot of injustices and staying clear of them because of our privilege is not my cup of tea. I am an activist, have been for years, this is what I do – you can lead your life however you want.

Coloma's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

Well, clearly you are sensitive to these issues. Good for you. Activism is one thing, masochism and co-dependant wallowing in the woes of the world, quite another.

I am simply saying that I do not agree with the sensationalistic presentaions many so called activist groups employ.

I do not need to see pictures of dimembered fetuses or downed cattle of gavaged geese to be aware. Extremism in anything is not my cup o’ tea.

The best to you in your endeavors.

Of course I can lead my life however I want, thanks for the green light on that. lol

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Coloma I do not believe I am masochistic whatsoever and I do not believe you’ve ever been exposed to any of my activist work so you can’t actually know my ‘tactics’ but it’s great to know the immediate assumption one makes as soon as anyone tries to objectively discuss certain FACTS that occur

Coloma's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

Chill girl…I never assumed anything…I stated the difference between empathetic reaction and the more unhealthy sidekicks of such. I never ‘personalized’ the ‘you’.

I am quite aware of all the horrendous ‘facts’ surrounding animal cruelty, factory farming, on & on…and now it is you that assume I have no expereince with these issues at all.

I had a background in animal rights activism in the 70’s and early 80’s. My outlook mellowed and matured and I do not agree with acvtivism that uses violent, illegal, or sensationalistic appraoches to the problem.

These tactics lose all credibility for the cause IMO.

But I digress…the topic of ultra sensitivity, simply saying that feeding on negative words, pictures, the 11 o’ clock news, whatever unhappy material is something that a highly sensative type should probably avoid. If they choose not to I would look for the deeper payoff.

Alrighty….this horse is quite dead. Happy day to you! :-)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Coloma Sometimes it’s unclear which ‘you’ you’re using. If you didn’t mean me, then disregard what I said and accept my apologies.

Coloma's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

No worries…the written word, especially on sites such as this, coupled with everyones sensitivity filters…can muddy the waters at times.Now, gotta go make the breakfast salad for my geese! lol

Marodr13's avatar

@lostinyoureyes: being scared of something that you have not experience is normal, maybe you have seen others who have been in horrible relationships and had major heartbreaks… I think that I am in your boat currently, when it comes to getting married.. i just got chills thinking about it.. i have been with my children father since I was 22, i just turned 35, so yeah its been a long time but the thing is that I am scared of the marriage deal… I know that neither of us is going anywhere, but its more about how I see marriage.. Its unconditional and I am willing to give that which I have been not sure what his feeling about it are.. I want to marry once, and the thing is that divorce has become a joke in our society.. I am not scared of commitment but more about the ideal of the entire thing.. i might just jump the hill and see what goes.. I would say that my mother had 3 failed marriages and I think that is a major part of my reasoning… Just a little inside info.. Good luck, and also dont let things like this ruin your chances of experiencing love, its a wonderful thing…

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