Being too emotional is only our minds – and lets be clear here, often other people’s minds – saying can’t be trusted, whoa you’re out of control here, you might do something that you will regret later. We only couch it in these terms because our minds are thinking – ‘moving into unfamiliar territory here, no experience of this, be careful’.
Sure when we are emotional, we respond differently then when we think about how we might react – except, that the emotional response will have come in first and our minds will have then jumped in and censored it either saying ‘yes go forward’ or ‘no stop – close down’. Here’s a thought then, what if we were to bring a pause in just after the emotional response happens, but before the mind steps in – giving us time to take on board the emotional intelligence as well as that of the mind, and therefore allowing us a wider choice in how we respond?
Creating a pause
I am a great advocate of breath work. There’s a buddhist practice – the ‘mindfulness of breathing‘ that asks the meditator to become aware of two pause points within the cycle of in and out breaths – there’s one just after the ‘out breath’ finishes and another just before the ‘in breath’ starts. I’ll let you pause here to experience these…Using these then, as our response ‘pause points’, gives us time to decide whether we need to be ‘careful’ or whether we can move forward and experience something in a new way.
Take for example, an emotional response that we can often find difficult in others, but can feel ‘good’ for us – anger. Something happens, we don’t like it, we respond angrily. The other person reacts – either an argument ensures or they become submissive and the first person storms about, until the emotion subsides. The angry person has got it out but will have learnt that this is the only way to respond, the receiver has been on the end of some negative energy, and if an argument has happened, things may have been said that will be regretted later. How can we bring a pause in to help here?
Playing that through again – something happens, Person A doesn’t like it, they let the emotion of anger come up, but this time they pause, by taking a breath and then see the wood for the trees. In this second scenario Person A uses anger positively – to help them to take action yes, but in a way that is healthy. Either, yes it’s important to say no, ‘that’s not okay’, or ‘whilst I’m definitely not happy about this, Person B, I see that we both need an opportunity to express what’s going on for us'; and in that place of increased understanding finding a way forward that works for both of them.
Letting our emotional intelligence guide us too
Our emotions are more intelligent then they are often given credit for. Whilst they are a more raw, uncensored response to the world, then our habitually protective minds ….once we get used to how to handle them, they can be great guides to choosing how to go about our lives. So, go ahead, let your emotions express themselves too – but do remember to breath as well!
If you would like to share your emotional experiences or to work further with how you respond emotionally, then it would be great to hear from you. You can leave a comment below or email me direct here.
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