With this article, I would like to start a 2-part-series of blog posts dedicated specifically to understanding and owning our emotions. Feelings are a big part of our lives. They dictate how we react to everything surrounding our being and so, it is very important to nurture them and be aware of them every single day.
I like to think about my emotions as a bank account, that needs periodical reviews and certain readjustments. The reason for this is quite simple – to understand where I stand emotionally, to see what and how I feel about people around me, to let go of the negative in my life and to allow myself to grow.
For me, summer is the ideal time to reevaluate one’s feelings. And I’ll tell you why.
During the warm weather, our brains are wired to see things on the bright side. When we go through rough patches of time, we do get into a swirl of negative emotions. But, because of the beautiful weather, we are more relaxed, we feel a little more adventurous and we accept change easier than usual. The sun also stimulates our system to react more positively to any given event, to seek better solutions to our problems, as well as create better existential circumstances.
So, why not take this opportunity and see how you feel about the world, your current situation, and, most importantly – about yourself!
To do a proper “emotional audit”, as I like to call it, I’m going to give you a short checklist, that will help you identify what is going on inside of you.
- Understand and name your emotions.
Feelings are not only for girls or suckers. We were all born into this world with a set of emotions that don’t go away once we grow old, no matter what others may claim. We are all emotional human beings and we all feel in the same manner. When a certain sentiment comes around, take a moment to understand what you feel: happiness, excitement, joy, hope, satisfaction, passion, anger, anxiety, frustration, fear, guilt, etc. Make a memory note of that feeling at that time. Try to make it a habit of identifying your feelings for at least a week. Soon enough, you will be able to be more aware of what you feel in a day, thus, be able to see what is going on underneath the surface.
Fun fact: a person experiences around 15 emotions in one day!
- Peel your feels like a citrus fruit.
Now that you understand your feelings, you can start working underneath the “citrus skin”. The reason I say this is because one emotion usually carries 2 or 3 other sentiments, that can unearth your real problems or situation from the deeps of your soul. In other words, your feeling of anger can represent the tip of the iceberg, while your other feelings associated with it are the core of it.
For example, you are constantly stressed about a project you need to submit on a certain date. You work well, you finish it, but the stress still doesn’t go away. What’s the reason? It might be that you are frustrated about constant demands from your boss or co-workers. Or you’re annoyed by constant interruptions during your working process. Or maybe you feel unsupported when you are addressing to your co-workers during certain tasks.
When you see your emotions as a part of yourself and as a normal process in your life, you feel more prepared to deal with them and to avoid potential draining situations.
- Express your feelings.
I, personally, find this part quite hard and sometimes I wished I crawled under a tree and never faced any real-life situation. I believe many of you are not fond of the idea of expressing your feelings, too, especially when this part means going to another person and telling him/her what is going on.
But, to be able to move on from a nagging situation, to grow personally and professionally, we do need to attend to our feelings and sort them out accordingly.
The best way to tell someone what you are feeling is to express yourself assertively and with utmost honesty. If talking to someone directly makes your guts turn upside down, write them an e-mail or a letter. The idea is not necessarily how you address the situation, but rather your courage to do so and your respect towards the other person. Even the most stubborn individual will appreciate your effort if you try.
So there you go, these are the 3 big steps to take in order to “audit” your emotional state.
Now, I want to mention one very important thing here, that you MUST NEVER skip reevaluating your one of the longest lasting relationships in life – the one with YOURSELF! Knowing yourself, accepting yourself, loving yourself for who you are will always be your supreme mission in life. People come and go, but you are the only constant in your life, that never fails you and is there with you through good and bad.
As I believe and love to say – be yourself, always do you, and the rest will fall to where it belongs.