Working With Your Emotions
Working with the emotional imagery that you use to describe your emotions enables you create a much healthier and effective connection between your inner and outer worlds. Instead of feeling like you are just experiencing a confusing and uncomfortable jumble of emotions, you become far more aware of what is emerging in your inner world and how you are connecting that awareness to your outer world. As you become more aware of your emotions, you also become more accepting of them and this makes it much easier to work in seemingly emotionally fraught situations. It also means that you become more aware and accepting of how other people’s emotions may be affecting their behaviour and their connection with you. By having a healthier connection with other people, you have more opportunity to put your shared perspectives and insights into valuable and productive action.
Why Idealised Emotions Don’t Work
Instead of actually using real emotions as a way of positively connecting inner and outer worlds, many organisations promote idealised emotions as prescribed feelings is that everyone should be displaying. This is the approach taken by Emotional Intelligence, where it is advised that individuals should behave in a particular way, rather than asking why they aren’t behaving in that idealised fashion, and why they are behaving the way they actually are. Always feeling that you have to aspire to an idealised set of emotions means that you become increasingly disconnected from your actual feelings as you conceal them and mask them. Although idealising happy and cheerful emotions can seem like a great concept, the reality is that your actual emotions are naturally making sense of the situation you are in, and indicating how you can achieve the outcome that you desire.
Working With Fight Emotions
When you create fight emotions, you are actively engaging with whatever tension you are experiencing so that you have the opportunity to take decisive action to resolve that tension. Fight connections are rarely physical and, although you may feel like you want to hit someone, fight connections are often experienced as harsh words or prickly defensiveness where you push your inner world out into the outer world. Fight connections can help you identify tension and move to action but often those actions can feel impulsive and risky. You may also find that the people around you show resistance to you directing their feelings outwards across the boundary between your inner and outer world. The main challenge in working with fight emotions is that you’re pushing your inner world outwards and constantly feeding forward without paying any attention to what might be feeding back to you.
Working With Freeze Emotions
When you create freeze emotions, you are not engaging with tension or running away from it, but simply doing nothing and hoping that the tension will just go away without you having to take any action at all. Freeze connections can help you to stabilise a situation so that you can gain a firm understanding of what tensions are existing between your inner and outer worlds. This feeling of stability, however, can create an inertia that prevents you from connecting your inner sense of purpose to real value in the outer world. Freeze connections can be experienced in passively agreeing to working in a particular way, or feeling a stubborn unwillingness to engage with particular challenges and opportunities. The challenge in working with freeze connections is that is that you’re constantly letting the outer world feedback into your inner world without taking any action to feed it back forward across the boundary between your worlds.
Working With Flight Emotions
When you create flight emotions, you are attempting to avoid confrontation with any tension that you may be experiencing by simply running away from it and leaving any tension unresolved. Flight connections can help you to view a situation in a more detached manner so that you can make some choices but you have to put those choices into action and not continually avoid them. When you create flight connections, it can often lead to a belief that you have no opportunity to make a difference, and so it feels easier just to disconnect your inner and outer world. Although a flight connection might be experienced as a feeling of just wanting to escape from your workplace and never return to it, flight connections are usually experienced as just making generalisations or idealisations. The challenge with flight connections is that your inner and outer worlds are disconnected and so there is no feedforward or feedback across the boundary between them.
Working With Flow Emotions
Although the fight, freeze and flight connections can help you to understand the tensions along the boundaries between your inner and outer worlds, there is another emotional connection that you naturally create. This is the experience of flow, where you have a healthy and free-flowing connection across the boundary between your inner and outer worlds. Rather than being outwards, inwards or disconnected, flow connections are constantly feeding your inner world forward into the outer world and feeding the outer world back into your inner world in a circular gyre. One of the challenges in creating flow connections is that they are often considered to be merely a happy coincidence that ‘just happened’. In reality, however, flow is not some abstracted mystical state but is actually an emotional connection where the ideas and imagination of your inner world seem to merge effortlessly with the realities of the outer world. Creating this healthily free-flowing connection requires you to actively work with the tension along the boundaries between your inner and outer worlds, rather than just waiting for a flow connection to happen by some mystical chance.
Turning Your Emotion Around
The most challenging conversations that you create are usually the most emotional ones, but they are also the most meaningful, purposeful and hold most potential for powerful action. By working with your emotion, you can use the connection between your inner and outer worlds to create a conversation that will help you to turn together with another person, or your self, so that you can turn any situation around. And as you use your emotions to turn the situation around, you often find that your experience of your emotions seems to turn around as well. What was crippling self-doubt turns around into a clarity of insight that allows you to resolve confusing dilemmas. What was an almost obsessive jealousy comes round into a deeper understanding of your value and how you can step into your power. What was a brief moment of transitory joy turns around into more expansive sense of contentment.