When we talk about “managing” our emotions, we’re not talking about repressing them, we’re talking about not letting them run the show or invading us. Emotions are often indicative of our state of satisfaction and non-satisfaction. They tell us about what we are going through. They often tell us more about ourselves than about others involved.
Events, circumstances, people, everything that happens outside of us, can trigger emotions that we already have inside us. You’ve certainly witnessed someone driving a car who honks at the slightest misstep of another driver, raises his arm with a sigh of impatience, and expresses his anger verbally and aggressively. The chances are high that this person has accumulated a lot of frustration and anger from other sources other than on the road.
It’s not always easy to identify our emotions especially if their existence has never been validated or acknowledged at a younger age. In some cases, they may have been judged, criticized, misunderstood and ignored. Today, you have the power to acknowledge them, to feel them, to understand their message and to release them.
In the workplace, emotions are still taboo; we don’t talk about them, it’s as if they didn’t exist. However, the workplace is famous for triggering a whole panoply of emotions: anger against a colleague or a boss by whom we don’t feel respected, sadness because a promotion has been given to someone else, shame of being the under-performer in the group, guilty of saying no even when we’re overwhelmed.
And what about the fear of feeling our emotions?
Remember that an emotion is a passing energy; I don’t know anyone who died of feeling one.
The worst that can happen if you embrace an emotion is to experience discomfort for a while. Much better than putting this emotion under the carpet and having it explode dramatically at an inappropriate time!
Here is a little recipe to “manage” your emotions when they come up:
1) Take the time to feel your emotion.
2) Welcome the emotion (do not ignore it or try to push it under the water).
3) Do not judge it (there are no “bad” emotions or emotions that are not allowed to be).
4) Feel it in all if its subtleties and identify it if you can. Acknowledge it; admit to yourself that it exists.
5) Take a deep breath, step back and get in touch with the message or the indicator of non-satisfaction that it brings up in you.
6) Act accordingly (release it, express yourself, take action, change your perception, become available again, etc.).
Remember not to marinate too long in your emotions; you risk becoming a raisin instead of a fresh and juicy grape!