Do anxiety, outrage, frustration, or sadness often grip you? Do they get in the way in high stake situations? Do you wonder why you are not getting what you want? The solution could be lying under your unrecognized emotions. We are emotional beings. Emotions are signals that inform us that something important is at stake. When we notice and acknowledge them and take the time to process them, we can make better decisions and improve our relationships. But when we plow through them with premature action or hide them under a mask, we do more harm to us and those around us.
Emotional Intelligence or EQ is a well-known term these days, even though very few people consciously apply it in everyday life. We incorrectly assume that it is our personalities; some are more aggressive, some are more harmonious, and some are less energetic, etc. Even though emotions are running underneath, in the name of harmony or professionalism, we tend to avoid them, and when it comes out, we label it negatively as “emotional.”
Emotions got a bad reputation because of unrecognized, unregulated emotional outbursts. On those occasions, we get swept away by our excessive emotions and have very little control over our behavior. Unless we have a trusted relationship, this could end up badly. Most people think the solution is to suck up the emotions and act “professionally.” It would be very convenient if we could do that. When we do not acknowledge and process our emotions in a safe place, it keeps building up inside us and can get out of control. Emotions are an integral part of being human.
Gifts of Emotions
Each significant feeling brings a gift of awareness as an important message to attend to. EQ Fitness Handbook lists them as below:
Direction, motivation, and boundary setting.
Protection against harm
Sensitivity to other’s loss as well as one’s own
Humility – knowing that we have limits and are “perfectly imperfect” as human beings.
Emotional vitality – zest for living and involvement in life.
Warmth, caring for others
It is often not easy for us to distinguish the distressing feelings when we are intensely experiencing them. Commonly we feel “anger,” which results in “blame.” According to Brene Brown, it gives us a sense of control. I have also been in that place when I suppressed my sadness with blame on me and then covering it with getting busy with actions. It becomes like an overloaded car – burning too much gas to move forward. Anger is not always visible like outrage; avoidance, disengagement, and passive-aggressiveness are other expressions of anger.
Imbalance in Thought, Feeling, and Actions
Many of my clients, including me often bias towards actions to avoid distressing feelings. You could be sad or disappointed by your management’s decision. You can react to that feeling by blaming, quickly getting over engaged (vigilant), or dis-engaged (caring less about the work). The truth is you have a heightened emotion that needs your attention. Take time to acknowledge, find someone who can listen, and help you process. During coaching sessions, my clients often bring such workplace situations. As I offer them to process the emotion first, they say that it helps them clear their mind, lessen the burden they have been carrying around. Emotions are information that something is important to you. The only problem is that it is not delivered cleanly as a memo. It comes with its baggage, and it hinders your analytical thinking, too. If you start analyzing w/o processing the emotion, it doesn’t do much good.
Whether we are conscious or not, our feelings are the ultimate drivers of everything we do. It impacts our relationships and career and business success. One of my very high-achieving clients recently realized that that EQ assessment helped him know that his emotional lens was getting in the way of his career progression. For so long, he had been blaming his management, and now he sees his part in it. It opened up so many possibilities for him.