Emotions Habits Relationships Self Improvement Thinking

Giving Emotions a Name

To lose patience is to lose the battle. – Mahatma Gandhi

I for one am SO impatient. I have long known this but I now recognize how my impatience can catapult me into more dangerous territories, such as frustration, anger, unwillingness to forgive, swift judgement and more. Knowing this, I have to be very careful and conscious of my feelings or I know I will act out in a way that is neither good for me or beneficial to the situation. I am not a parent, however, I point you toward a parenting site because I want to have show a tool that I very much enjoy and find useful. Click here to see the “Feelings Wheel” in all its colorful glory! *I will put it at the bottom of this post as well*

While it’s important to recognize our feelings (such as the ones I listed earlier), sometimes we don’t have the right vocabulary to do so. Many people tend to stop at the inner most, broad description and then feel “stuck” in the feeling and unable to really get a resolution. While not ALL encompassing, and some may bleed into other areas (some things may be both feelings under “mad” or “scared”, and that’s normal) this wheel can help when you begin to better understand the feelings that come up. Sometimes just by giving them a really specific identifier we can being to understand WHY this makes us feel that way and (ideally) experience catharsis, eventually.

For example:
I often feel frustrated at work. I know the “frustrated” slice of the wheel doesn’t go out any further – but I know that if I were to work my way through, it would process something like this:
1. Mad – Today one of my bosses made me mad.
2. Angry & Hostile – I felt particularly angry and hostile about the situation.
2a. WHY? Well, I know that I felt betrayed and “thrown under the bus” in a way because one of my bosses handed over information that wasn’t meant for the other party to see/read. It made me feel closed off toward that person/boss and it also made me feel like I “lost” my motivation/ambition in the work realm for a bit. I didn’t WANT to be agreeable, helpful or a “team player” when my hostility kicked in. I felt unable to trust that boss with feedback, because it was (in the end) used in a way that ended up undermining my ability to do my job and work cohesively with other people in the office. Although my feedback was honest, as well as “true”, it didn’t need to be put out in the manner it was, and since it was, it likely made the other parties more aggressive, distrustful and sour feeling toward our work group.
3. Sarcastic & Frustrated –
3a. Since I felt ^ the above, I also responded (as did they) with a bit of sarcasm. Did it help the situation? Probably not, but it is an understandable response, which is why when they responded with their own sarcasm toward me, I didn’t answer.
3b. I felt frustrated because this is not the first time they have done something like this. Also because they have lectured me in the past about my not having “good working relationships” with other people in our office, but then when they do things like today it again just drives a further wedge into the working relationships. I felt frustrated because I know that they have done it in the past and will very likely do it again in the future and they are very careless/lacking attention to detail in the day-to-day, so it ends up hurting more than just me.
4. Reflection – Recognizing that those 3 steps sort of all came through in a matter of seconds, if not less, it’s really important to digest them. We don’t always take the time to examine how quickly our reactions take place, and how our responses can be almost just as fast.

Now that I have “unpacked” that situation, worked my way through the feelings and made it to the outer edge, it is now up to me to release that and find that catharsis, or closure that I need. While lingering frustration exists, I know that I feel better, even just slightly, by recognizing the feelings/emotions and taking the time to understand why I felt those things in that moment. Every person will release the moment in a different way, but I think it’s really important to seek and actively try to push forward/lean in to the process of finding closure. I could stay in the red area of the wheel, but really it’s not going to make me feel any better, and odds are that boss will put me right back into that slice within the next 48 hours or so. Knowing that, I have to decide to let this go.

How do you deal? Do you name your feelings?


Picture from AHA Parenting



By DreamerSD

Life enthusiast

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