How To Master Emotional Intelligence Chapter 14 – Acknowledging Feelings And Facing Them
Acknowledging Feelings activities help families discuss and value the unique feelings and experiences that siblings have and have their feelings acknowledged. They learn to identify and name feelings. They explore the experiences and mixed feelings that many families feel about their brother or sister in a supportive environment.
Body Feelings. This is a fun activity that encourages siblings to think about their own reactions to feelings. You will need large sheets of paper (a roll of wrapping paper works well), pens or markers. Ask a family member to lie on the paper and draw around their body. This can be a group activity with one outline, or you can break them into pairs/small groups to create many outlines.
Ask siblings to think of feelings they are having and draw how those feelings affect their body, e.g., worried – wrinkles on forehead; nervous – butterflies in stomach, scared – sweating under arms; proud – holding head up, angry – a volcano exploding from head. Color the body according to the feeling, e.g., red for angry, blue for sad, pink for happy, green for jealous Talk about times when the family had these feelings, e.g., being angry when the family broke homework; being proud when they or their family did well in school, sports, or work.
Sometimes life brings a lot of new difficulties and uncertainties into our lives. Along with that, we have likely experienced a range of unpleasant or negative emotions. Some of our emotions may be short-lived, like a momentary annoyance, or longer lasting, like persistent sadness.
When these feelings arise, we may immediately want to deny them or not even acknowledge them. This is a psychological defense we use to protect ourselves and block out the expected pain. However, we do more harm to ourselves when we do not fully process our feelings, and it is not a productive way to deal with them. Therefore, it is still important to process and deal with unpleasant feelings. Why is it so hard for us to face our feelings? Much of this can be attributed to a larger cultural problem. We live in a culture that traditionally resists and fears emotions. In addition, those who are vulnerable and express their feelings are often viewed negatively because they are seen as “weak” or “too sensitive.” However, these harmful claims are not true. Feeling our feelings and owning our emotions is one of the most powerful things we can do.
What Our Emotions Do for Us? Whether we realize it or not, our emotions play an important role in virtually every aspect of our lives. The emotions we feel compel us to act and influence the decisions we make. They help us survive and avoid danger, better understand others, and help others better understand us as well. By paying attention to our emotions, we can become much stronger and more resilient. Although our emotions help us, we still tend to judge them or not give them the attention they deserve. This can be detrimental to our mental health.
What Happens When We Block Our Emotions? When we try to constantly block negative emotions, our sense of self is likely to use harsh and critical language to dissuade us from those feelings, telling us, “Stop feeling that way!” or “What’s wrong with you?!” This self-talk suppresses our feelings and creates new emotions because we feel hurt or judged by our inner self.
This can easily become a cycle of turning against ourselves (which can lead to deeper problems like depression). Do not judge your feelings but notice them. Use them as a map. Do not be afraid of the truth.”
How to Welcome Our Emotions? Part of the problem with welcoming our emotions is that we need a major cultural shift in the way we view emotions and the education that goes with it. But there are things we can do to be more accepting of our feelings and to deal with unpleasant emotions. While we cannot completely eliminate unpleasant feelings like sadness, anger, anxiety, or fear, we do have control over our reactions to them.
Pause and evaluate. It’s okay to take a moment to just stay with a feeling and breathe. We may not be used to pausing and slowing down to acknowledge our feelings. However, this can help us better understand what we are feeling and why we are behaving in a certain way.
Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is another, more structured way to slow down and assess your feelings. You can practice mindfulness in the traditional sense or engage in other activities that help you sort through your feelings, such as journaling or spending time in nature. Find an activity that calms your uncomfortable feelings so they do not keep you from dealing with them.
Have self-compassion. Sometimes we judge our feelings and get angry at ourselves for feeling a certain way. This does not help us process our feelings well. Try to have compassion for yourself and be kind to yourself even when you are frustrated about why you feel a certain way. Talk to others Talking openly about our feelings with people we trust helps us process them and see them from a different perspective.
It also shows the person you are talking to that they have a safe space to be open with you. Try therapy Talking to a friend or family member about your feelings can help, but if you still feel like you are stuck with your feelings, therapy can also help. Therapy is about helping people understand their emotions and how to work through them. It’s a great way to work through the uncomfortable feelings and become more resilient as a result. Sometimes we do not welcome emotions because they are hard for us to define or confusing. And sometimes we judge or feel ashamed of our own feelings. But when we avoid or delegitimize our feelings, we block out important clues about who we are and what we may need. This limits our capacity for self-knowledge. We can all work to find healthy ways to deal with uncomfortable feelings. By normalizing how we confront and process difficult emotions, we can all become more resilient.
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