Why Bother Pinpointing Emotions?
It is vital to our mental wellness to admit to how we feel. When we own up to our interior emotions then we can begin to preside over our exterior actions.
Getting to Know Our Emotions
When we begin to take note of our feelings— grumpy, growly, snarky or snippy, then we can respond instead of react. Until then, we will most likely continue to let the awful and no good feelings direct our actions.
I did not grow up in an emotionally intelligent household. Instead, I learned to survive by ignoring in myself, and in others, anger, sadness, or disappointment. But emotions are not something to be ignored because they do not go away. Instead, over time, the buried feelings in ourselves or others intensify, resulting in anxiety, fear, and shame.
But change begins when we start listening to how we feel. Instead of ignoring the churning and burning inside our guts or the thoughts that race through our brains, we can begin to ask ourselves some questions. What made me feel edgy? Was it legitimate?
With time and lots of patience, we become more attuned to our patterns, of the ebb and flow of feelings and just how many different emotions we experience in any given day. Our emotions have something to tell us and when we begin to listen we become acquainted with them.
But being emotionally well isn’t just about knowing myself better, it also makes me more savvy about the feelings of others. And being savvy about the feelings of others allows me to show them empathy.
For instance, conversing with one of my highly emotionally charged students following one of their angry outbursts, I asked what their insides felt like when they were angry. With great insight, they told me that they just wanted to run away. Gently, I explained that running away from our anger or hurt wasn’t any more possible than running away from one of our arms or legs because our emotions are part of who we are. That brought a smile to their face. Then we talked through some alternative behaviors such as breathing or counting down from 100.
Though we can’t get away from how we feel, we can learn to feel differently.
So why bother to pinpoint our emotions? Our emotions are part of who we are. If we listen to what they have to say, then we can take charge of them instead of letting them be in charge of us.