Why Bother Pinpointing Emotions?

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.

Why Bother Letting Go of Blame?

Why Bother Letting Go Of Blame?

     Blame is a little, but powerful word and carries with it, big and lasting consequences. When ignored, blame creates impasses between individuals and divides families. It cuts off fruitful communication, and muddies the water, making the real issue difficult to see. 

     It is convenient to accuse another person of hurting our feelings, making us feel bad, or tell them they are causing us emotional discomfort. When we do so, then we tell ourselves we are not the problem. The other person is. We don’t need to change. They do. The problem lies in their court, not ours.

      Pinning the blame on another is easy, but the harder thing to do, taking responsibility for our own actions, is the better thing to do. 

Take a Good Look At the Face in the Mirror

      We don’t have too many leaders in the world today giving us good examples of facing up to our wrong doings. Even professional athletes and politicians shift the blame to someone else. It is a rare occasion to hear someone in the limelight fess up to their own infractions. But when they do, we applaud and admire their humility. We don’t have to wait for a famous person to set an example. Instead, we can be the one to set an example for others. 

     Like an ice jam damming up the flow of water in a river, blaming freezes an issue.  Productive communication halts, grudges form and anger, a regular contributor to blame escalates.  Relationships turn rocky, rough, and toxic,  sometimes coming to end. 

      But when just one person owns up to their wrong attitude, or actions, the ice begins to thaw and possibilities abound. Honest communication can flow, resentments fall by the wayside and repairing the damaged relationship can begin.  In essence, when we let go of blame, own what we need to own, then good changes can take place.

    Why bother letting go of blame? It is worth letting go of our blame because even if it is the harder thing to do, it is the better thing to do. 

Why Bother To Notice When You Are Peeved?

Why Bother to Notice When You are Peeved?

Anger is one of those emotions that I easily recognize in myself and in others. Some of the signs include; a red face, foul language, objects hurled through the air, crossing the arms in front of one’s chest, or stomping away. Some even take on the code of silence, refusing to speak. 

 Bad tempers are never displayed in a lovely way and can be horribly harmful. But noticing what causes our tiffs and huffs before we do any damage, can make us a little more emotionally intelligent. Ever notice what makes your blood boil? 

Emotionally Intelligent

Some people frustrate me. These are the drivers who go under the speed limit and grocery shoppers who park their cart in the middle of an aisle instead of off to one side. These incidents are fairly benign. Usually taking a deep breath prevents me from going into a mindset of road rage and making a simple u-turn to go down a different aisle in the store averts any possibility that I will display rudeness toward my fellow shopper, something I’d later regret. Most small incidents in life are easily diffused. 

Exasperation on the other hand, is feeling more than ill will toward a stranger in the store or a slow driver. Exasperation is a disruptive student, one whose constant antics or chatter keeps the rest of my students from their learning. Do I see them as a threat? Most likely, since I’m very protective of the culture in my classroom. It is for scholars after all, and not clowns. Nipping the disturbance in the bud with a short, sharp reprimand usually brings everything and everybody back into balance, including me. 

Finally, there is my boiling point, that particular button that liars, disingenuous people, and accusers seem to have the power to press. I am not one to get physical and hurl objects, but I’ve chucked hurtful words toward those who rile me up and turned a cold shoulder toward them.

My idiotic reaction to someone who doesn’t tell me the truth, is insincere, or unfairly reproves me is not one that I care to repeat. Lobbying ugly and unkind words or a disrespectful attitude in their direction serves as a warning; I need to have a look inside. 

All too often it is easy to blame justifying my anger and hostility. Yet, I’m the one who is vexed not them. They may feel completely at ease in their falsehood, dishonesty or allegations against my character. I only have the power to change me, not them. 

Like the idiot light on my dashboard that warns me when something is wrong with my car’s engine, so too anger is like an idiot light for me. My hurtful words, and less than kind attitude tell me it is time to pull over and examine what is going on under my hood. 

Why bother to notice when you are peeved? It is worth it to be emotionally intelligent rather than being an imbecile.