HOW TO UNDERSTAND YOUR EMOTIONS
We know that as humans, we have emotions and that they come and go. We also know that there are certain situations where it makes sense to feel a certain way. For example if someone we are close to has just passed away, we know that it’s ‘normal’ to feel sad. If we are walking down a dark alley alone at night, we know it’s quite ‘normal’ to feel afraid. When I say ‘normal’ here, it’s because we would all agree it makes sense or it’s commonly agreed upon. There are other situations or emotions that are not so simple to understand and for those we might need to dig a bit deeper.
These are the three steps we can take when we want to further understand our emotions:
We need to know exactly what we are feeling. It sounds like common sense, but we generally don’t take the time to really sit with the feeling long enough to know exactly what it is. We might be jumping to conclusions and these quick conclusions can lead us the wrong way.
We also don’t have the most developed emotional vocabulary. Although we know many words to describe feelings, when it comes to naming our own feelings, we tend to come up with the same 5-10 words. Finding the right words to describe how we feel matters. If we really put our finger on the exact feeling(s) we have, the simple act of naming the emotion accurately, already brings a sense of relief. What’s more, it’s much easier to understand something if we know what it is, wouldn’t you agree?
Once we know exactly what we are feeling, we need to accept it. That doesn’t mean, we have to be OK with feeling that emotion forever and do nothing about it. Accepting our feelings is about acknowledging them and giving them the benefit of a doubt that they have a reason for being there. It means we do not try to get rid or them (by suppressing or ignoring them). It means we don’t wish them away. The reason being, that it doesn’t work. If we ignore, suppress or wish away our emotions, they simply get stronger.
Think of a good friend, who is concerned about us and wants to help out. They don’t just leave if we ignore them or tell them to go away. They just keep knocking on our door and telling us to open and let them in.
It’s the same with our feelings. They want us to notice them so that we can understand why they are there. The only way to quieten them and have the unpleasant feelings disappear, is if we pay attention to them - accept and acknowledge them.
Finally, once we know what we are feeling and we are not fighting it, we can truly reflect and begin to understand why the feeling is there. Then we can act on it. It means we are not just responding with knee-jerk reactions anymore. It’s about developing a level of self-awareness and understanding of ourselves so that we can choose to act in the best possible way to get us the result we want.
Different feelings are there for specific reasons and knowing these reasons sometimes helps us to understand what is going on. Beyond that, feelings are also reflecting to us valuable information about our beliefs, our thoughts, needs and also the things that we value. Here is an article about what emotions tell us about our needs.
These are in a nutshell the three steps that you are guided through when using Feeling Magnets, which we specifically designed to help people understand their emotions. It takes a bit of practice and with time becomes second nature and makes life so much easier.
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