Last month you were introduced to Plus-ing up your life with Emotional Intelligence. This article will focus on the ‘me, my’ aspects of the model. The crux of this part of the model is the ability to recognize the “what” and “why” behind our feelings.
Plus-ing Up Your Life With Emotional Intelligence, Part II
How many times do we go through life out of touch with our emotions only to have a sudden rush of emotion? When we have the rushes, it’s usually a generic “mad” or “happy.” To understand the “what” of our emotions we need to start by increasing our emotional vocabulary!
Consider the following emotions or words associated with negative feelings
- Disappointed Hurt Jealous Anxious
- Dumb Pained Stupid Ridiculous
- Stupefied Dumbfounded Scared Humiliated
- Tired Confused Annoyed Embarrassed
- Vengeful Bored Miserable Shamed
- Worried Put down Defeated Harassed
- Fearful Idiotic Frustrated Sullen
It’s almost depressing just reading all that, so let’s consider emotions or words associated with positive feelings
- Energized Happy Excited Appreciative
- Courageous Confident Conscious Empathetic
- Thoughtful Powerful Satisfied Tender
- Brilliant Attractive Beautiful Carefree
- Ethical Encouraging Truthful Fair
- Gentle Flexible Generous Gifted
- Honest Just Helpful Humble
- Noble Loyal Modest Open
- Patriotic Outgoing Patient Polite
The key to increasing your emotional intelligence is tapping into the emotion to find out what the emotion really is!
In order to understand your feelings, make sure you use the “I” word – not we, they, us, or you. Right now it’s about Me and My feelings. I’ll use a story to demonstrate.
I was once sitting in a meeting and from my perspective the person in charge was going down the wrong track. I made comments to the positive of other ways to approach the problem in attempt to change the direction, but my comments made no difference. I was so MAD, but then I realized I wasn’t mad at all. I identified the emotions as; disappointment, embarrassment, fear and discouragement. This is the ME. It’s how I am feeling.
But it’s not just about ME, it’s also about MY. Why am I having MY feelings?
The why of our feelings is an incredibly important aspect to improving emotional intelligence. The why is more than just identifying the emotion. It’s also the history of the emotion and the importance we assign to it based upon our life experiences.
To follow through with the meeting example: I was disappointed the leader wasn’t listening to my comments. From my perspective a person in a leadership position should listen. I felt like person let me down since up to that time I had held the leader up in high esteem. I was embarrassed that a person with so little emotional intelligence, from my perspective, had been put in charge of something important. I was concerned since I was a subordinate of the leader, others may think less of me!
I was fearful others would lose faith in the leader and the project I believed in would fail. I don’t like to fail in anyway shape or form and this potential scared me. Lastly, I was discouraged. I had faith in system that put people in charge and this leader was making me question my faith in the system I held dear. Additionally I was discouraged thinking it wasn’t going to get any better and I didn’t seem to be able to make a difference.
Hopefully by now you are getting the point through the bolded I, me and my words. This is all out me and my feelings. No one else is making me feel the way I feel. It’s all the history and baggage I come with that lead me to my feelings. It’s important to stop and dissect your feelings after you’ve had an emotional rush.
You may be thinking, “But some people know my hot buttons and push them anyways to make me feel that way!” If they purposely push them, it’s because they know they are going to get the reaction out of you they want because you respond that way. No one makes you feel anything except you! Always remember responsible (pronounced response-able) can be better stated as able to respond.
Here’s a helpful hint for getting in better touch with your feelings; “Be a STAR,” Stop, Think, Act and Reflect.
Take a time out and pause even if it’s just for a feel seconds. Take a good long deep breath and think about what you are feeling. Then when you act, act with the correct emotion identified. Later, take the time to reflect on the emotion. Did you correctly identify the emotion? Can you identify the history that made you have the emotion at that time?
My guess if you have had similar feelings, but didn’t take the time to get to them – sometimes it’s easier to just be mad! I’d encourage you to take the time to not only understand your feelings but also the history you assign to them. People come from all walks of life and your feeling disappointment may be totally unrelated to my feeling of disappointment.
Next month we’ll talk about that more as I cover the “you/you’re aspect of the Plus-ing up your life with emotional intelligence model. The last article will cover tips and tools so me and my feelings can better getting along with you and you’re feelings?
Marlene Abbott is CEO of Growing Leaders of Worth, a woman veteran owned company providing leadership development training, education, speaking and executive coaching. Visit
Post Facto: This organization is no longer in operation.