Humans are ruled by emotions. It’s impossible to live and breathe as a person without them. But what makes one person more emotional than another?
Emotions are complex human expressions still seen as weaknesses by many. Many of us say we are ‘not the type’ to talk about our feelings, but does that really mean we haven’t been taught how or feel it’s safe to?
When we’re out of touch with our own emotions, we can also be unaware of others. I grew up in a family who hated confrontation and discussions of how we were feeling. The room would grow silent when I shared something personal and I’d be urged not to get upset. Consequential I learnt it was wrong to speak honestly about my state of mind and felt a burden for doing so.
I hold no one accountable for this, every person has their own coping mechanisms that they have picked up subconsciously, but my adult self has learnt that by speaking honestly about what’s upsetting me is the fastest way to make myself feel better.
Historically women knew this intuitively but as they’ve come into power in a patriarchy I see the same consistent problems come up with both men and women in my coaching sessions. People who have spent a lifetime numb to their true feelings share the same symptoms – lack of self belief, feeling unsupported, stuck and uninspired. They often overreact and explode into fits of fury or sabotage the part of their life that makes them feel overly emotional.
It’s impossible to change how we’re feeling if we trap it inside like an angry fly. To change our perspective we have to let others in, to shine a light into that emotion and give it the space to pass. Resistance or denial leads to further frustration and a lack of compassion for ourselves and others.
As a coach I have seen that the more support a person receives on their emotions, the more powerful they become. I have regular sessions with other professionals as I know this to be true for everyone. No exceptions.
Emotional intelligence can be strengthened and this exercise is a great technique to do it.
Make a list of as many emotions as you can think of going down the centre of a piece of paper. Then look closely at each one, writing to the left side a synonym (word with the same meaning) which is subtler and in the right side a word which is stronger. You can use a thesaurus if necessary.
Here’s an example:
Fill in the gaps!
Once you have your list carry it with you. Check in regularly on how you’re feeling and contemplate how others around you might be as well. If the words aren’t on your list add them and their counterparts.
Our language is limited and we tend to use only a small percentage of words for our emotions.
Doing this exercise daily will help expand the subtleties of your true feelings and discover how temporary they are when you pay attention to them. As you gain greater awareness of your own and other’s emotions, your sense of empathy will grow. Often being more emotional means we have a greater understanding of each other.
Our culture has become robotic, rewarding speed and indulgence over sensitivity and awareness. The conflicts we face are often down to our own inability to connect with each other. Humans may not be the only species to experience emotions but we are the only to be able to articulate them, and when we do so we become better for it.