Emotions are a huge part of who we are and an essential ingredient in human relationships. Emotions are what drive us to other people and what tear us away from them. Living in intimacy with another person means emotions will inevitably get high. Circumstances, old wounds, and defense mechanisms will push our temperature up and inform how we communicate and behave.
We often talk about emotions ‘getting the better of us’. What we mean when we use this phrase is that our emotions are robbing us of the opportunity to excel in relationships. We recognize that our emotions sometimes drive us further from the actions and words that reflect the kind of person we most want to be.
These five tips will help you encounter your emotions honestly without letting them rob you of the kind of person you want to be and the kind of relationships you want to have.
1) Give Them Their Due
Emotions are not inherently evil. They are so easily out of control that the most popular approach is to swing to the other extreme and try to stuff or quiet them altogether.
Someone might say ‘I need to not be so angry’. This is not true. The truth is that we need to figure out how to handle our anger. In handling our emotions and following the tips below, we will start to see our emotions through a proper perspective.
Emotions are good. They are indicators that something of significance is happening. An emotion is an alarm that awakens us to the threat or affirmation of our purpose.
It is impossible to suffocate our emotions. They are there and will continue to be there. We need to acknowledge them and not be afraid of them, and we need to give ourselves some room to feel what we feel.
We must understand that the problem with emotions is not the presence of them but the way in which we respond to them.
2) Get the Order Right
When the alarm bell of an emotion awakens us, we often startle into action. We respond in a knee-jerk sort of way. We feel and then we act.
Emotions are valuable servants but terrible masters. When we act in direct response to our emotions, we give them a place of honor that is not properly theirs and we skip over an important ingredient in the human process.
Essentially, we get the order wrong. We Feel – Act – Think rather than Feel – Think – Act.
Emotions and mindset are dance partners. It takes two to tango. When we short circuit our thinking, we close ourselves off to half of the tools given to us to determine our actions.