The Importance of Emotions
Are Emotions More Trouble Than They're Worth?
For so many years I wanted to get rid of my emotions and feelings. They seemed like a constant problem. Then I went to a therapist that told me how important they were, and why.
I said, "I don't believe you."
Obviously he got through to me. Now my experience tells me what an ally feelings can be, and how necessary. That's what I hope to share on this page.
[Note: I talk about emotions and feelings on this lens. EMOTIONS ARE a physical response to a situation, like fear or sadness. Emotions are what they are. FEELINGS ARE more specific and have a thought component (your interpretation). Example: I feel like having Italian for dinner. This involves some judgment on your part.]
Feel What You Feel
WHATEVER YOU FEEL, ACKNOWLEDGE IT TO YOURSELF
WHETHER OR NOT YOU SHARE YOUR FEELINGS WITH SOMEONE IS YOUR CHOICE
IF YOUR EMOTIONAL REACTION TO SOMETHING SEEMS "OVER THE TOP", YOU MAY BE REACTING TO SOMETHING FROM THE PAST, NOT THE PRESENT
How Emotions Help Us (Overview) - DETAILS BELOW
- They give us helpful INFORMATION. (see #1 below)
- Emotions are essential for making GOOD DECISIONS. (see #2 below)
- They help us COMMUNICATE. (see #3 below)
- Emotions and feelings help us NAVIGATE through life. (see #4 below)
- They are the reason we have ENJOYMENT, react to beauty, know friendship and love. (see #5 below)
Baseline tranquility . . .
1. Be Informed
EMOTIONS ARE INFORMATION FOR YOU, AND ABOUT YOU
ANGER is like a home security system. When it goes off it informs you that, in your perception, your space is being invaded in some way, or threatened.
FEAR is like the alarm in a home security system. It wakes you up, gets you focused and ready
for action. For example, if someone pulls in front of you on the expressway, the adrenaline rush that comes with fear focuses you on keeping yourself safe. (Worry, is different . . . not helpful)
SADNESS tells us we've been disappointed or lost something we value (or think we won't get what we value). In spite of your state of the art security system, something is missing. Or perhaps the promotion you worked hard for doesn't materialize. Tears are cleansing, no matter why they are shed.
HAPPINESS gives a message too. Your life, at least for the time being, is in balance, and/or you feel connected, and/or you feel good about yourself. (Or you've won the lotto).
JEALOUSY is like wanting something your neighbor has and you realize you can't get past their security system (and you don't want to get arrested). But jealousy can give you good information about yourself. Let's say you are green with envy over Ed, the top salesman in your office. You probably want his success for yourself, or maybe envy his charisma.
If you are chronically jealous with your significant others, you are like a home security system that goes off when a bee lands on the window. Not everyone who talks to your S.O. is a threat. On the other hand, trust your instincts and check things out.
GRIEF is the result of losing something very valuable; as if the home security system failed and something valuable and irreplaceable was stolen. Though painful, grief is cleansing and healing. If we allow grief, rather than trying not to feel it, it helps us process the loss, and find a way past the worst of the pain.
2. Decisions and Feelings: Peas In A Pod
People that have damage to the emotion centers in the brain have a hard time making good decisions. The head and the heart, together, are necessary for making better choices. For example, you've researched all the ratings on new cars and there are 5 cars that meet your requirements. Then your feeling-self can help choose one by indicating which one you like, which one you feel good sitting in.
3. A Universal Language
It's well documented that all human beings share the same emotional language. Sad is sad in Oregon and in Tibet. An angry face is described angry by someone in London and in Siberia. Anywhere you travel, people can connect with, and understand you, on an emotional level. (You'd think we'd stop causing one another so much pain).
4. A Built In GPS System
Feeling and intuition are related. For that reason, feelings are like having an internal, personal GPS navigation system. If you are able to "read" people, or the energy in a room, it can help you make good choices about where to go, how to act, and what you wish to say. If you've ever walked in to a room and immediately felt it was filled with tension, then you've heard from your GPS.
5. Love, Beauty, Joy and Beer
Pain isn't fun, but much of our pleasure in life is derived from our emotions and feelings. Feelings help us recognize truth, appreciate beauty, and give us the experience of joy. Would people listen to music if they weren't moved by it in some way? Yes, even the pleasure of enjoying a cold beer requires feelings.
Beauty is something we feel . . .
Feelings (instrumental) - I never liked this song but it seems appropriate
ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO EXPRESS A FEELING IS TO START SENTENCES WITH THE WORD "I."
FOR EXAMPLE, "I'M ANGRY. I'VE BEEN WAITING HERE FOR AN HOUR."
OR, "I FEEL HURT EVERY TIME YOU CALL ME SAUSAGE LEGS."
THIS REDUCES CONFLICT BECAUSE YOU ARE SHARING INFORMATION RATHER THAN ACCUSING THE OTHER PERSON
Emotions are a universal language
DVD: Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child
In this 90-minute live presentation, Dr. Gottman provides an easy to follow overview of how to raise emotionally intelligent children. It teaches parents and caregivers how to be "emotion coaches" by being aware of a child's emotions.
Also available in book, cassette, video, and mp3 download formats.
Emotions Effect Water Molecules - And Humans Are Mostly Water
Get More Information On These Sites & Pages
- EQ Alliance Forums
The emotional intelligence directory and EQ Alliance Forums
- All About Emotional Intelligence
A comprehensive resource for Emotional Intelligence in business, education, for families and individuals. Increase leadership, learning, and team effectiveness with research-proven emotional intelligence training and development.
- Emotional Smarts At Work
Information on using emotional intelligence at work.
- Its My Life
This site's section on emotions may appeal to children/adolescents 9-14 years old, give or take a couple years. There are games, videos, advice, and oh yes . . . good information.
- Test Your Emotional Intelligence Here
A 20 minute online test.
- World Center for EFT
EFT Emotional Freedom Techniques: Easy Free EFT Manual gives all basics for everyone. Complete training for serious students. thousands of EFT articles. Forums. Help
- The Emotional Brain
Excellent article on the brain and emotions.
- CHART: Facial Emotional Indicators
Anxiety: Eyes damp; eyebrows slightly pushed together; trembling lower lip; chin possibly wrinkled; head slightly tilted down . . .
International Society for Research on Emotion
- Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations
The mission of the EI Consortium is to advance research and practice of emotional and social intelligence in organizations through the generation and exchange of knowledge.
Teaching Children About Emotions
Kids need help learning how to manage their anger. This book is written for 9-12 year olds (or anyone who wants a simple guide for expressing anger effectively, without stuffing it or using violence).
Heart and Mind Working Together Are Wings
THE WELL OF GRIEF
Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief
turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe
will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,
nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown by those who wished for something else.
~ by David Whyte ~
Emotional Intelligence Is . . . - from Changing Minds.Org
'Emotional Intelligence' is a neat metaphor that borrows from the notion of IQ. It implies that some people are better at handling emotions than others. It also hints that you might be able to increase your EQ. Practically, it offers a useful set of guidelines for doing just this.
Being emotionally self-aware means knowing how you feel in "real time." Self-knowledge is the first step in being able to handle emotions. If you can see them and name them, then you at least then have a chance to do something about them.
Emotional literacy means being able to label emotions precisely. This includes the emotions of others and especially yourself. It also means being able to talk about emotions without getting overly emotional or (as happens with many people) denying them.
Emotional literacy is not using 'I feel...' statements to offer opinions, ideas, etc. Thus 'I feel that is a good idea' is not emotional literacy, whist 'I feel angry' is.
EMPATHY & COMPASSION
Empathy is the ability to feel and understand the emotions of others. If you can empathize, you can engender trust, as people desperately want to be understood at the emotional level. All great carers and nurturers major in empathy and compassion.
It also means appreciating and accepting differences between people, accepting that we have different priorities and capabilities around emotion.
The ability to balance emotion and reason in making decisions leads to good decisions. Emotion should not be abandoned, lest cold and callous decisions are made. Nor should logic be abandoned unless you want a wishy-washy outcome.
Emotional Intelligence means taking primary responsibility for your own emotions and happiness. You cannot say that others "made" you feel the way you feel. Although they may be instrumental, the responsibility is yours, just as if you kill someone, there is no argument that says that someone else made you do it.
Facts About Emotions
- Emotions are not weapons.
- Emotions are not a shield.
- Emotions are not "who" you are. They are something "you" experience.
- If feelings and emotions are information, there are no "bad" ones.
- Feelings are not right, or wrong, unless you judge them to be.
- Your feelings will always tell the truth about your subjective experience in a given situation.
- Feelings don't need to be rational. We already have a mind for that.
Gratitude is a Healing Feeling