How to be friends with your emotions?
People talk behind me that I am a tyrant. They don't see my intention. They only see my outburst. I don't want the whole team to suffer because of someone's carelessness. Yet, I am the person people hate.
Why should mistakes be sugar-coated? My 360 is filled with one major AOI - improve ability to control emotions. ~ Senior leader, Tech
Emotions may make you. Emotions may break you. What they need not do is 'define' you.
Emotions in layman language are feelings - they are in essence a message from our body & mind that something is not going as per our expectation.
Emotions are carriers of messages - something is happening that you need to pay attention to.
Yet some of us hold on to the emotion and leave the message.
This makes us "un-resourceful" and people around us "hurt" or "raging".
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be aware of, understand & regulate emotions.
Many experts like Peter Salavoy, John Mayer & Daniel Goleman have done extensive research on the subject and their books are a great read.
Below are shared discoveries on the many coaching conversations that I have had on the subject.
These may give you some insights on becoming Emotionally intelligent.
1. What vocabulary do you have to denote emotions?
Image Courtesy Calm
Each emotion has a lot of words in every language to enable expression. Due to our conditioning to hide emotions and come across as "strong", we hide behind the few words we know as shown in the innermost circle.
What happens because of this is - we bottle them up as we don't know how to call/label what we are experiencing. This increases the intensity of the emotions - as the message is not acknowledged.
It is not only that - to be understood by others we need to expand our vocabulary and be able to express how we feel inside.
So whenever you feel emotions - as a starter, look at the wheel and articulate the emotion closest to how are you feeling inside.
"Labeling" helps in identifying the emotion. For eg, instead of sticking to "angry", you can say, I feel let down / disrespected.
2. What is your belief system on emotions?
Some think emotions are like horses and you need to rein in on them.
Some people attribute judgement to emotions by calling them "negative emotion" or "positive emotion".
An emotion is a feeling. The way you experience it will put you in a positive resourceful state or a negative un-resourceful state. The "object" becoming positive or negative is not the emotion - its your mental state. Triggers are emotions.
What you need to preserve/rein-in is your mental state. Not the emotion.
If a postman drops a letter that has bad news for us - does he/she become "bad"?
Does controlling the postman do any good?
3. What is your "Why?"
Most people start looking at their emotions when others start to complain about it at work or at home.
Then it becomes a problem to be fixed.
However if you are willing to accept what emerges in you and look at being resourceful as a goal, then its easier to take small actions to change.
Since emotions are your feelings, the why has to be yours too. Find a compelling "why" to become resourceful.
4. What is the shelf-life of emotions?
One of the important property of emotion is that they are "transient".
They arise and if experienced fully, they move out.
Just knowing this brings a lot of relief for people. Emotions are temporary just as the rainbow in the sky, the rain, the passing cloud, the thunder or the lightning.
5. Who is the greatest ally in handling emotions?
Your body & your breath are great friends that help you experience emotions well.
Moving the body or regulating the breath can help you come out of the effects of emotions faster than if you don't.
As a starting point, just bringing your attention to your breathe when you are angry, sad, fearful, disillusioned can work wonders.
Any physical activity that moves the body helps in easing the emotion out of the system.
What works for you when emotions arise in you?