Do You Feel Like I Do?
Learning to label emotions with a more nuanced vocabulary can be absolutely transformative.
Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart
Human beings are emotional beings.
Not some people. Every person.
Not sometimes. All the time.
We believe that we are largely rational, but that is just our brain playing tricks on us.
Every decision we make is emotional.
After we decide emotionally, we devise a logical rationale for our emotional choice.
And this is not just something that happens to the unsophisticated masses.
The smarter and more educated we are, the better we are at weaving a narrative to explain logical reasons for our actions.
Our goal should not be to shut down our emotional nature.
(Something that is impossible.)
Our goal should be to become more and more aware of what we are feeling.
When emotions are below our awareness, the quality of our decisions is poor, and the quality of our relationships is poor.
Our culture encourages men to experience every emotion as anger.
If we are embarrassed, we feel angry.
If we are afraid, we feel angry.
If we are sad, we feel angry.
Improving our emotional intelligence improves the quality of our lives.
Here is a brief list of often confused emotions.
Fear and Worry
Fear is a valuable emotion that protects us from dangerous situations.
Worry is a waste of energy directed toward something we can do nothing about.
Anxiety and Excitement
These emotions feel very similar.
If you need to make a presentation to an audience, you may feel anxiety. But you can reframe it as excitement and channel that energy for good.
Shame and Guilt
Guilt is regret about something we did and is useful for learning from our mistakes. Shame is an attack on our self-worth and prevents us from growing.
Happiness and Joy
Happiness is a fleeting experience that is dependent upon circumstances and tends to be selfish. Joy is more durable and independent of circumstances. It tends to be directed toward others.
Love and Lust
We understand this distinction, but we confuse these emotions all the same.
Emotional awareness is emotional intelligence.
We think we are better at this than we really are. And we often become defensive about our feelings.
But our feelings don’t need to be justified.
But they do need to be acknowledged.
In the words of Peter Frampton, “Do you… you feel like I do? How d’ya feel?”
Now available at Amazon: The Courageous Heart: Wisdom for Difficult Times in paperback and eBook.