Emotions 101 - Achieving Emotional Sobriety
Twice now, I have facilitated a workshop on emotions with my dear friend and fellow coach, Kim Sawyer. The participants’ reactions are nothing short of powerful. While there are many, many emotions, they all can be diluted into five basic emotions: sad, angry, afraid, guilt/shame, happiness. From this workshop has emerged a simple tool that packs a powerful dive into vulnerability, self-awareness, and if you are brave enough to share your truth with another, true intimacy. I am implementing this tool in my own life and recommending it to all of my clients.
Emotions give us a kind of weather report of ourselves and others, and that is powerful information. Without that information we are not prepared for what storms may come. When I don’t know that it’s going to be 110 degrees outside today, I might not dress appropriately. When I am angry about something and unaware of my own anger, I can easily let that anger come out inappropriately.
For example, if I am angry about a long wait at the doctor’s office with my mother, and I come home to my teenager on the couch playing video games with his friends, I may explode all over him because the house messy and smells like burnt popcorn. YIKES! I really really don’t want to show up like that…anymore.
As I learn to recognize my own feelings without judgment or criticism, I can be honest with the people around me, as well as better soothe and nurture myself. In the above example, now aware of my own anger, I could call ahead to my teenage son and give him a heads up. “Hey kiddo, I am feeling frustrated and angry about how long we waited at the doctor with Grandma. It would be great if things were calm and somewhat clean when I get home.” This way I am 1) aware of myself 2) asking for what I need/want 3) teaching my son what loving action looks like for me 4) modeling self-care to my kiddo! WIN WIN WIN!!!
Here’s the basic tool. My suggestion is that you check in with yourself, morning and evening, in the following way:
- I feel sad about ____________.
- I feel angry about ____________.
- I feel afraid about ____________.
- I feel guilt/shame about ____________.
- I feel happy about ____________.
Keep it simple and short. No need for story here. Just the data.
- I feel sad about the news I got of a friend’s cancer.
- I feel angry about the long wait at the doctor today.
- I feel afraid about what life will be like when my youngest son leaves for college.
- I feel guilt/shame about not having more money in my savings account.
- I feel happy about seeing my middle son this weekend.
Bonus – step into vulnerability and greater intimacy (into me you see) by sharing the list with your significant other.
If you are interested in hosting or participating in the Emotions 101 – Achieving Emotional Sobriety workshop please contact me at TrueLightTracey@gmail.com