Yearly Archives: 2012
This post will look at the effects of guilt and how to overcome them.
A Guilt Trip is when someone tries to get you to feel guilty.
We already know that Guilt means you broke one of your own highest standards. The Self-Protection Reaction to Guilt is to punish yourself. Your emotions punish you for two basic reasons. One is to try to make you stop. The other is to deny that the behavior is who you really are.
We also know that the rule needs to be evaluated. We may feel guilty even though we did nothing wrong. If that is the case, then the rule needs to be changed. Language of Emotions 101a teaches one of the most powerful techniques for changing rules. There are others as well.
Often, we really did do something that is wrong – at least wrong for us. Others may or may not hold the same standards, and maybe the particular rules that apply to you need not be followed by most others. But, whatever the reason, they are your rules for you – and you think they are good rules. To you, you did something wrong.
The Point of No Return is the key technique to keep to your own highest standards. If you pass the Point of No Return, maybe you’ll stop, but if you do, it will take something outside yourself to do it. Someone may have to stop you for you. You might have to run into an obstacle, or get caught, or, or, or. Whatever it is, it is not you simply making a choice. The Point of No Return is where you can still decide – without outside influence – to hold to your standard.
There might be absolutely nothing wrong with the whole range of behaviors between where your draw your line and the bad behavior you’re trying to convince. The only reason you hold that line is because, for you, you will slide off the cliff if you don’t have help.
Where something does not tempt you at all, the Point of No Return is exactly at the edge of the wrong action. You can literally face every opportunity and not do it. All of us, though, have a “chink in our armor.” All of us have our weakest area – that area where our own Point of No Return is some distance away from the bad act itself.
Guilt Trips are an effort to make you believe you’ve violated one of your own highest standards – even if you haven’t. Guilt Trips have two parts.
1. They try to get you to accept a standard that they set.
2. They try to convince you that you violated that standard. If you did not feel guilty on your own, chance are the guilt trip is being used in a sometimes blatant attempt to manipulate you.
When someone tries to Guilt Trip you, take a look at what they are saying and evaluate it yourself. If you don’t think you have a reason to feel guilty, then you can stop a Guilt Trip most times simply by calling them on it.
Few people are willing to admit that they are using Guilt Trips to manipulate. The first time you call them on it, just ask them “Are you trying a guilt trip?” Most people will back off. If they continue, you can follow up with something like “It still seems like you’re trying to use guilt to manipulate me. Are you?” Since to continue, they might be both admitting they are using a Guilt Trip and also trying to manipulate you, almost everyone will stop. If they persist in Guilt Trips anyway, you might need to make some changes in the details of the relationship.
There may be some reasonable basis to what they are saying (even if they are exaggerating it). In that case, you can make a deal with them that is reasonable and balanced. If, for example, an older parent want you to write, call, email, and come visit frequently, more than you can or would choose to, you can make an actual deal. You can discuss how often you can talk, email and visit. If the parent is the one with more time, you can even set it up so they initiate since you’re the one that’s busy (and likely to forget).
If you really did so something bad, the Point of No Return might help you not do it again. If you make a good deal, even once-valid Guilt Trips should no longer work. You may still find that you need to forgive yourself. For easy things, the Forgiveness lessons in Language of Emotions 101a may be enough. If you have a deeper need than that, the full exploration and guidance in Pure Power 101 might be in order, and possibly the extra tools you have available in Pure Power 202.
Guilt can be a heavy subject. Many people are riddled with emotion of guilt. They live with far too much of it to ever be happy. Sometimes it is because they’ve done terrible things in their past. Sometimes they didn’t do anything wrong at all – but they feel guilty anyway. There are times other people did something wrong, and the victim ends up with guilty feelings. What IS guilt, and what does all this mean?
If emotions are a language, then Guilt is trying to tell us something. What is it saying? Guilt means “I violated one of my own highest principles.” It’s a challenge to our identity. It is saying “You are not who you want to think you are!”
That’s what is saying. “If you are who you think you are – then you would not do what you did!” That’s why the self-protection reaction is to self-punish. It is a way to protect our identity. “Sure, maybe I did it… but I feel really bad about it!” It uses the self-punishment as part of saying, “That NOT me! I HATE that in me! It’s not who I REALLY am!”
Just as with anger, the first thing we need to do is take a look at the principle. Sometimes we feel guilty because someone use a Guilt Trip on us (wich we will deal with in the next lesson). Sometimes we did something that we may not be proud of, but it really is the best way (think: tough love). Sometimes we look at why we feel guilty and realize that it is a completely silly thing to feel guilty about. Sometimes crime victims or disaster survivors feel guilt because of what happened or because they got through it when others did not. That tells you that there is a standard buried inside that you may choose to deal with.
Sometimes you really did do something wrong. You need to learn your lesson and make a change. When it “just happens” then you’re fine. Your Guilt was enough to punish you into compliance with your own rule.
Where we feel the most intense Guilt is when we keep doing the same thing again and again. In time, we might even end up not feeling bad about it any more. That happens when our emotions give up on us. “I guess you really are that kind of person after all.” If that’s not who we choose to be – we have an option. A powerful tool we can use is called The Point of No Return.
The Point of No Return principle is fairly simple. Every action that tempts us has to “get close enough” to have a chance to get to us. Drawing a line far enough away from temptation can protect us.
Legalistic churches will draw lines WAY away from the bad thing to keep people from doing a wrong thing. They say no drinking when the real issue is getting drunk. They say absolutely no, none, nada, not at all on things that may seem silly sometimes. What they are doing is drawing a line at a “safe” place so you don’t fall into the bad thing. That’s the proper use of legalism.
Just be legalistic with yourself! What’s your personal Point of No Return? If your issue is drunkenness, maybe you need to stop at two drink. Maybe you need to stop at one. Maybe you need to have none. Maybe you can’t have it in your home. Maybe you can’t even go to a place where you can get a drink. Whatever YOUR Point of No Return, that’s where you draw the line.
There may be nothing wrong with cross than line – not objectively – except that, for you, it means you’ll keep going. That’s why you stop there. You stop there because at that place YOU can still choose. You know that if you go much past that, you’re not so sure you can make the choice.
It seems simple, and it is. Simple. But not always easy. It can take practice. That’s okay. Just practice! You’ll get it. Maybe you’ll be 100% starting on your first try. Maybe not. Move the line back farther if you discover your Point of No Return was farther away than you thought! You’ll get it.
Remember the basics: Emotions of Duplication mean “do that again!” Emotions of Change mean “something must change!” Hopelessness is an Emotion of Change – a very narrow emotion of change!
Hopelessness is a very specific emotion. In general terms, it mean “it’s hopeless!” Understanding what that actually means requires going deeper. Broken out in more detail, Hopelessness means “Exactly what I’m doing, exactly the way I’m doing it, will never product the outcome I desire.”
Note “exactly,” “exactly,” and “outcome I desire.” It’s specific. It’s narrow. It FEELS big. It’s actually an emotion that is laser-focused on the “exactly”s that need to be changed so you might product your desired outcome.
The self-protection reaction is “give up.” That’s there to protect you. It’s there to stop you from doing exactly the same thing that isn’t working right now. It’s suppose to help you stop doing something exactly the way that really won’t work.
It’s supposed to be a pause, that’s all. At that moment, it calls for just a little bit of creativity. What, exactly, am I doing? Can I do something different? How, exactly, am I doing it? Can I do it differently?
If I try to exit a room and I have a few doors to choose between, I might pick the closest one. That’s “exactly what I’m doing.” Then, “exactly how am I doing it?” Push! It doesn’t work. Should I keep pushing? Of course not. I might pull. If that doesn’t work, I might try to slide, jiggle, push and pull harder (just in case it’s only stuck). I might check for a latch or lock I didn’t see. At some point, I give up on that door and go to another – changing “exactly what I’m doing.”
What is the outcome I desire? I want to get out of the room. Suppose I’m trying to leave a building to do to the parking lot, but all the doors that most easily lead there are locked. Maybe I can’t do it the way I wanted. Maybe I need to go backward, leaving out a side door or a back door.
Sometimes with Hopelessness, it’s the goal itself you must surrender. You might be pursuing a goal you simply cannot achieve on the terms you’ve established. Maybe you wanted to get outside right now without help, but you have to call security and wait.
On some things, you might need to change your outcome. Some goals might cost more than you expected, and it’s not worth it to you. When you make that choice, it’s not “giving up” in an emotional sense. Rather, it is a strategic choice you might make when you’ve learned your cost-benefit analysis is weighing heavier on the costs than the benefits, and you choose.
Remember the basics: Emotions of Duplication mean “do that again!” Emotions of Change mean “something must change!” Anger is an Emotion of Change.
Anger means “broken rule.” The most likely thing that needs to change is “me.” With “broken rule,” then, the first thing I do is look at my own rule.
What is the rule? The hardest thing here is being brutally honest. This is not the rule we are willing to public admit – but the real rule. If a rule developed in us when we were children, then it could be a very childish, immature rule! If we understand that many of our rules developed young, it’s easy to admit we may have some simple-minded, self-centered rules.
Does the rule need to be changed? Those rules that developed as children, when we were immature, or when we lacked sophistication may need to be altered. Maybe we need to get rid of it entirely. Maybe it just needs a bit more sophistication. We’ve grown up, and sometimes all we need to do is mature our rules a little.
That said, very often we have perfectly valid rules that ought to be followed. Even rules that developed very, very young can be excellent rules. How old do children realize that “fair” is important? Properly applied, it’s a perfectly good rule to expect people to be fair. Of course the rules we develop when we’re older and wiser will reflect our maturity. Finally, a rule benefit from some minor adjusting, but the behavior that broke it still needs to be changed here.
What, exactly, broke the rule? Take a look at the objective behavior that broke the rule. The first consideration is whether or not the rule was actually broken. Maybe our rule has to do with motive and we’re presuming a motive. We naturally think and feel is right. If we suspect certainty just long enough to find out, that can pre-solve all sorts of potential problems.
How can I communicate effectively so the other person will want to follow my good rule? The best way to get a good rule followed is to get the other person to willingly follow it. Understand where they are coming from first. What do they think they’re doing? Define any terms so you are both talking about the same thing. Then help them understand your rule and the reasons behind it.
You can build the relationship while getting rules followed by mostly asking questions. Protect the good and important rules. Also protect the relationship by using communication rather than coercion, threats, manipulation or any other kind of “force.” Whether it’s a romance, a friendship, a family relationship, you want to protect the relationship. In business, you probably want to avoid any unnecessary damage to an employment relationship. You certainly want to protect relationships with customers!
Handle anger properly, and all this becomes easy for emotional intelligence techniques.
Having the power to inspire others is critical for any entrepreneur. Happier employees are more productive and efficient. You can increase your profitability if you can train yourself to become a business owner who understands the people on their team and knows how to motivate them. You want the best possible results, So you should create the best possible team. This article is going to look at three suggestions that will make it simple for you to motivate the people that work for you and improve their performance at the same time.
Increasing Social intelligence With The Big Picture
People are very motivated when they are working together towards a common goal, when they have a similar purpose. This means that you should involve every person on your staff in all the stages of a project, from planning, to reviews and obtaining results. You have to arrange meetings regularly so that everyone is fully aware of what is going on at all times. The more knowledge they have, the harder they’ll strive to get the results you are expecting. People are going to feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves and that they matter to you in what they do, the skills they build and that you appreciate them when they make strides increasing their worth to you. When people think they are making a difference, they are going to work harder to make you happy because they respect you.
Leading by example to increase EQ in the workplace
Among the most highly effective motivational tools at your disposal is setting an example. You can’t expect people to do things you aren’t prepared to do, so by setting a positive example, your staff will do everything they can to emulate you. For example, if you are open to the idea of change, are driven and hard-working, your team members will follow your example. Alternatively, if you don’t open up, or come to work for two hours, you’ll have non motivated workers who have no interest or drive to promote your agenda. The standards you set for yourself are vital as the more demanding you are with yourself, the more people will want to be just like you. Make sure to remember that you want to be an inspiration to your team, which means being dependable, open and fair. The cost of failing in emotional intelligence is too high.
Discipline or Postive Reinforcement?
Discipline is a debatable issue when it comes to motivation as many people believe exclusively in the power of positive motivation. Discipline is still vital at times, even if much more can be achieved with positive reinforcement and motivation. If a person, for example, is not doing their job thoroughly as a result of negligence and routinely makes the same mistakes over and over, then you have to apply discipline and be quick and efficient about it but that never means you should intimidate people. The key is not to constantly reinforce negative motivation and to give incentives when they do perform well.
To efficiently motivate the men and women on your team, you should understand what pushes them and how to read them by increasing your emotional intelligence. It’ll be easier for you to motivate your employees and make sure they do well if you know and understand them. Getting to know the men and women you work with is important and it’s the secret to easy motivation. Let them know you are a human and not a slave driver and they will respond with commitment and drive your success just by applying some simple emotional intelligence in the workplace.
Emotions of Duplication are emotions that say, “do that again!” Emotions of Change are emotions that say, “something must change!” One of the most common emotions of change is Fear.
Fear, simply, means “something’s coming; I’m not ready.” The Self-Protection Reaction is “hide.” If there really is something coming and you’re really not ready, “hide” protects you. It keeps you safe in case the thing that is coming is dangerous to you in some way.
Look at what’s coming. I perceive something coming. What, exactly, is coming? Is anything actually coming? If nothing is coming, then there’s nothing to fear. Sometimes we know that what we fear isn’t really coming.
If something is coming, what is it? What does it actually mean? What are the odds? What might happen? Really? Think objectively.
Look at what “ready” looks like. Often we feel “not ready” because we haven’t figure out what it looks like! After all, how can you know whether or not you’re ready if you have no idea what that means? Go past the feeling to what “ready” actually, realistically looks like.
If you’re ready, then you can just go. You can have confidence. Confidence is a certainty you can do a thing. If you don’t know you can do it util you do it, then developing confidence can take a while. You may know that you can give it a try. You know you can get started. You can that level of confidence. You can do it, and you can learn from the experience. You can get better.
Some people have an inflated idea of “ready.” They want to be “black belt ready” at their first “white belt lesson.” A more objective view of what “ready” should be for you right now helps you. You know where you ought to be right now. Then you can start.
If you still feel fear, going anyway is courage. Courage means “I feel fear; I’m going anyway.” Yes, I know what I need to do, and it still scares me. I’m going to do it anyway.
At the very least, you know you can do what you need to do and produce some kind of result. You can have confidence in this even if you’re still afraid. You can move forward with both confidence and courage, even if you still feel fear.
I’m gong to do what I’m going to do. If it’s good enough, it’s good enough. If not, then not. I’ll find out more.
Of course “it’s not that simple.” This barely scratches the surface of how to actually do all these steps. For a more complete exploration, you want to learn the Language of Emotions in much more depth!
How do you move emotional intelligence forward the fastest, most powerful, most efficient way possible? Understand a core principle: Emotions are a Language. That is the number one thing to know about emotional regulation techniques.
Emotions mean things!
There are two broad categories of emotions: Emotions of Duplication and Emotions of Change.
Emotions of Duplication mean “do that again!”
Some happiness rule got fulfilled and you feel great! Do that again! You felt certain you could accomplish what you were doing – confidence! Do that again! You felt fear, but you were totally motivate to go do it anyway – courage! Do that again! That’s a source of power! Do that again!
Gratitude: I value what I have. Love: I want the best for you, I want to be the best for you, and I want you to have transcendent joy! All great emotions! Do that again!
The only challenge is knowing exactly what it is we need to do again.
Emotions of Change are the painful emotions. These are the negative emotions. Emotions of Change mean “something must change.”
If I’m feeling an emotion of change, the most likely thing that needs to change is “me.” So when you feel an emotion of change, when you feel a painful, unpleasant emotion, the first thing to do is look in the mirror.
If I’m getting angry, that means “broken rule.” Maybe the problem is my rule – the rule is a bad rule and it needs to be fixed. I need a better rule. That’s a change I need to make in me.
If I feel fear, that means “something’s coming; I’m not ready.” I need to look. I need to look at what’s coming. I need to know what ready looks like. If I’m not ready, then I need to get ready. Maybe I need to hide.
With Emotions of Change, I look to myself first. The beauty of this is it means I have the power. Many of us feel at the mercy of our emotions. The Language of Emotions gives us power!
Do I need to change? Do I need to change something about me? As you understand the emotions of change, you can quickly figure out exactly what to do click here.
Emotions of Change also come with a self-defense mechanism: The Self-Protection Reaction. It’s there to give you an auto-pilot moment to keep you safe. It’s like touching a hot stove. You hand jerks back feet when it really only needs to move inches. It over-reacts just to be safe.
People tend to just go with Self-Protection Reactions because they don’t understand them. If we understand the Language of Emotions, we know what the SPR is, and we know how to respond.
Just going with the SPR can be a problem. Think about our hot stove analogy again. If I touch a hot stove, my physical reaction might be to pull back two or three feet. If I just go with that, then I can no longer what I went near the stove to do in the first place: cook! Maybe I won’t get burned again – but I can’t cook!
If we understand what the Self-Protection Reaction is and what it’s doing, then we can make good choices in our own emotional regulation techniques.
Perceive starts with labels. What would you call the emotion you feel? What label could you put on an emotion?
Very simple Perceive: Can you tell what you’re feeling? Can you rate your feeling on a scale of 1-10?
Can you tell what someone’s feeling? Can you rate their feelings?
What does their feeling mean? Can you understand why someone would feel the way they feel? Can you look at the facts and their emotion makes sense to you given those facts. You can see why someone would be angry. You can see why someone would be afraid.
A higher level of understanding is to know what that feeling means. If you know they are angry, and you understand that anger means “broken rule,” then you can help. You may be able to help them resolve their anger. You might even be able to head off their anger.
If you deeply understand anger, you might even be able to manage and use it. It’s possible to shift from being the person they are angry with to being the person who solves their problem. That requires a deep enough understanding of anger!
Common “management” is to suppress your emotions. This is VERY unhealthy!
One of the most powerful, common (and dangerous) management techniques is Instant State Change.
As you deeply understand the emotions through a decoding system like the Language of Emotions, you’ll be exponentially more effective at managing emotions. It starts with a very solid understanding. That understanding then gives you the tools to manage emotions!
Over-promise and under-deliver will create Anger. By understanding that Anger means “broken rule,” you can see that you are helping someone set and expectation (a rule), and then you are breaking the rule. If you see that, then you know that you need a way to manage expectations. You need a way to pre-frame delivery. The most obvious way is promise only what you can deliver. Inform clients as soon as you know of a possible change. Keeping expectations at least in line with delivery will eliminate anger!
Fear means “something’s coming; I’m not ready.” If you “manage” fear by ignoring it (or even using Instant State Change), whatever was coming is still coming! If you weren’t ready, you still aren’t ready. Maybe you feel better for a while because you’ve ignored it, it’s still coming, and you’re still not ready!
That creates stacked negative emotions! You’ll add overwhelm to the list! Overwhelm means “too much!” Added to the fear, now you really have created a problem!
To use emotion means you know what it is, you know what it means, you know how to manage it – and now you can use all of that to do what needs doing.
When you feel fear, you know that you need to take a look at what’s coming. It becomes a prompt to take a look at what’s coming. You look at what ready looks like, and whether you are ready. Then you prepare. You use the fear to get ready.
Having a practical, working model helps frame how you handle emotions. PUMU: Perceive, Understand, Manage, Use helps you frame emotions in a way to help you deal with them effectively. The Language of Emotions gives you a powerful advantage whether you have high natural emotional intuition or you hate dealing with feelings. It gives you a systematic way to talk about emotions, understand emotions, and train others in how to do the same check this out.
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The Most Common Powerful Emotional Intelligence Technique: Instant State Change (and how to keep it from ruining your life!).
Sometimes there is no time to unpack our emotions. We may feel an Emotion of Change, but right now simply is not the time. We need another emotion, and we need it now. For those times, we have a skill called Instant State Change (also called State Management).
Instant State Change is the single most common “emotional mastery” technique taught. It is a fundamental technique in NLP (neural-linguistic programming). A great many people have learned it directly or indirectly through Tony Robbins. If you’ve ever heard the saying “motion equals e-motion” it is talking about this technique.
It is common and popular precisely because it works. Used fully and completely, it provides real emotional state change. Great actors use it extensively to manifest real emotion for the roles they play. We can all tell when an actor is just pretending to an emotion. Using Instant State Change, a great actor really feels the emotion his character is supposed to feel. When you consider movie and television actors who may have to summon real emotion for take after take after take, this is particularly impressive. It’s also why playing intense characters can be so exhausting for actors. They really feel the emotion!
As powerful as is this technique, it is also dangerous. Used improperly, it can ruin your life. The fundamental insight of the Language of Emotions is that Emotions Mean Things. Negative emotions are Emotions of Change. They say “Something Must Change!” If you ignore that message long enough, you can literally ruin your life. You can live in denial of the content of important messages! If you get really, really good at Instant State Change and rely upon it too much, you can miss the messages entirely!
So I’ll quickly teach you the basics of the technique, and we’ll get back to the solution to the problem Instant State Change creates.
How to Do Instant State Change
Choose your emotion and create it. It’s not “pretend,” it’s actually, really, honestly creating the emotion. Even just this really quick tutorial will be enough for you to give it a try.
The simple version is a combination of physical technique and mental technique. The physical is the most powerful because it is easiest to monitor and control.
Adopt the posture, facial expression and gestures of the emotion you desire. Fully express the intended emotion. Say what you would say, and do what you would do if you genuinely felt the emotion. As a sort of default test, let’s take a generic “feeling good” sort of happiness.
Stand up. Take a deep breath and stretch your lungs a bit. Lift your chest. Open your arms, palms forward, and stretch them back as far as you can do it comfortably. Then let then down, keeping your shoulders back. Look upward. Put a silly grin on your face, laugh, or giggle for no reason. With that big, silly grin on your face, take a deep breath and let out a contented sigh. It should sound like a relaxed, contented “ahhhh…..”
Put a bit of a sparkle in your eye. Some people do this with a wink or with a hint of batting your eyelashes. Take another deep breath and imagine energy filling your body. Keep looking up, and gesture like you have more energy. Say “yes!” or nod knowingly like you’re really having a good time. Say out loud “I feel GREAT!” and move your body like you really mean it.
Chances are pretty close to 100% that you’re already feeling the difference. Maybe you feel GREAT already! Maybe you just feel “better.” At least 9 in 10 people already feel pretty good … and we’re not done!
The mental side is next. You need to focus your attention on the facts that support your intended emotion. You need to self-talk, actively think, and make the mental pictures that support your intended emotion. All this can be tough. However, if you hold the physical side for at least 60 seconds, the mental usually becomes much easier.
Once you’ve got it, keep it up for one minute. In a single minute, your biochemistry starts to catch up with your behavior. When you get good at it, the change can become almost instant! You can create and maintain the emotion of your choosing for a while. With practice, you can do it for hours at a time.
Always Remember The Language
Remember I said use of Instant State Change alone might be dangerous? It is because Emotions are a Language. The Language of Emotions tells us that the emotion we’re changing means something. We need to revisit that meaning.
If we were angry before we used Instant State Change, there is still the issue of a broken rule to deal with. If the emotion was Fear, then we need to consider what’s coming and whether there is anything we ought to be doing to get ready. Hopelessness should prompt us to make a change, and if we use Instant State Change to get out of the feeling, the fact that some change is required remains.
Emotions of Change say “Something Must Change!” Whatever it is, we must go back and take a look. The more fluent you are in the Language of Emotions, the more effective you can be here. Taking your Emotional Intelligence up to Genius level with the Language of Emotions is a powerful and very necessary tool if you use Instant State Change regularly!
If you do not know what needs to be changed, or even forget that things need changing, imagine what that can do. It’s like having warning lights lighting up on your dashboard. Imagine that rather than have someone look at your car, you just put black tape over the light to ignore it. In time, you will break your car. If you’re lucky, you’ve only been ignoring a light that tells you a sensor is out or you’re low on gasoline. You can ignore some of those problems or figure them out easily enough when they happen. Or it could be more serious. It could ruin your life – and leave you wondering “What happened? Everything was going so well!” The Language of Emotions rescues you on this!
More and More
There is more to know, of course. Mere mention has been made of several relevant techniques that are far beyond the scope of one short article. There is more depth as well. Learn the Language of Emotions to develop emotional genius in dramatically more detail in the audio programs Language of Emotions 101a and 101b, or in the book Emotional IQ.
Talking About Emotions For People Who Hate Talking About Feelings: Relationships battles emotional IQ
In the last article, we talked about how you talk about emotions with someone who doesn’t talk about emotions. In this article, we jump to the other side. How you have a discussion about your feelings when you hate talking about feelings?
There are all sorts of reasons to not talk about feelings. For many people, it doesn’t seem to matter. Who cares how someone feels? There are things to be done! For other people, emotions are confusing (that’s a feeling), messy things that are hard to discuss.
We’ll go with the stereotype because it does seem to be about 80% true. It’s men that don’t like to talk about feelings. Women can and do talk about feelings. When they talk with other women, there is a sort of mutual shorthand that allows for understanding conversation. Stereotypically, men do not have a similar level of understanding. This makes the discussions difficult, sometimes strained, an occasionally frustrating. Men are known to avoid such discussions.
Suppose you’re the man. You know your lady wants to talk about feelings, but that’s not something you’re good at. Fortunately for you, Language of Emotions to the rescue!
One of the most powerful ways to use the Language of Emotions is if both of you learn it. If both have listened to Language of Emotions 101a and 101b and both of you have read Emotional IQ, then you’d have a shared vocabulary and shared insight. This would be the most powerful way to talk about feelings whether you’ve ever been able to do so before in your life!
For this article, let’s assume the woman in the discussion has no idea. Here, it’s the man who got the programs and listened to them on his way to and from work. Or maybe he got the book and read it. In this example, she has a stereotypically feminine insight into emotions but no particular training.
We’ve been focusing on a handful of Emotions of Change: Anger, Fear, Hopelessness and Guilt. Many stereotypical males only allow themselves to express Anger though men are equally known for actually feeling the full range of emotions. Anger has many more constructive ways to express than are typically used. Even so, since expressing Anger is common enough in the male experience, we’ll use a different emotion: Hopelessness.
Hopelessness is an emotion that women typically give themselves permission to experience more than men. Curiously, both sexes have an equal need for the process of the feeling. If you take any action on any goal or outcome you desire, Hopelessness is one of your most powerful allies!
Hopelessness means “Exactly what I’m doing, exactly the way I’m doing it, will never produce the outcome I desire.”
For a man to simply say “I feel hopeless” or “It feels hopeless to me” or even “I’m just depressed” can feel like a huge indictment on his masculinity. However, with an understanding of what some of these terms actually MEAN, these ideas can be easier to expresss.
You can even begin. “I understand what this feeling means. What I’m feeling means that I feel like what I’m doing and how I’m doing it just won’t work. It’s telling me that I need to do something different. So, yeah, I guess I’m feeling a bit hopeless.”
Look at what just happened from a stereotypically feminine perspective. He just admitted to a feeling! He admitted that he felt hopeless! We’re talking about FEELINGS!
Look at it from a stereotypically masculine perspective. I just said that I don’t think what I’m doing is working, and I need a new plan. I’m thinking. I’m leading. I’m analyzing problems and working on solutions. And she’s happy that we’re talking about feelings!
You can do the same with Fear, another emotion a lot of men don’t want to admit they feel. Fear means “Something’s coming; I’m not ready.” The conversation is much the same.
“What I’m feeling means that I’m not 100% sure I’m ready for what might happen. So, yeah, I guess you could say that it scares me a bit. I have to think this through more and figure out what I need to do to be as ready as I can. I’m going to have to take action anyway, even if I’m still feeling afraid, which, I guess, is what having guts is all about.”
To her, they are talking about feelings again! He actually admitted his fear (which she probably sensed all along). It validates her intuition about his feelings, makes her feel closer, lets her come alongside, and she can feel like a full partner in his life.
To him, he just stuck a label (fear) on something he already knows is logically true (I’m not sure I’m 100% ready for what’s coming). He also expressed how he’s solving the problem and that he plans to take action. He expressed his own courage. So she gets what she wanted (an admission of vulnerability, which, to many women, feels like “letting her in”), and he got to express his masculine courage. He gets to the be the Man of Action, and she feels closer to him.