How to Better Understand Your Emotions and Be In Touch with Them

 / 

,
How to Better Understand Your Emotions and Be In Touch with Them

Your emotions are a part of you, and you should never ignore them. The more you understand your emotions, the more you will be able to be in touch with them.

So much is written about emotions — how to understand them, how to control them, or how they can help or hinder you. Just look at the self-help section of a bookstore or the cover of the multitude of grab mags at the checkout counter of your frequented food store. All can be helpful, but they are not always the truth and are not personalized for you.

So, what are emotions, really, and why do we have them in the first place? Emotions can best be viewed as essential reactions to being human and a clue of what you experience from the inside out. Emotions are really energy in motion.

If you ignore or suppress a challenging emotion like sadness or anger or guilt (and all the associated reactions), you actually feed the dragon. It is crucial to recognize a feeling, take a moment to assess where it came from, and in a safe place, really notice and feel those feelings.

Don’t deny them. If ignored or suppressed, they grow. If attended to and expressed, they shift in energy and you can become emotionally numb.

Culturally and historically, the importance of emotions has often been overlooked. Humans have been focused on logic, reason, and thinking. For a long time, I believed that this is where answers are to be found.

Human beings are now realizing the importance of emotions in thinking, reasoning, decision-making, leadership, and relationships. Indeed, like other human activities such as sleeping, eating, and breathing, emotions are non-discretionary.

Related: Emotionally Overwhelmed or Feeling Trapped. Here’s How You Can Reclaim Your Life

You may be able to choose to some degree when or how you react, but you do not get to choose if or when you experience them. They are a part of what makes us human.

People are learning a great deal about emotions from various perspectives. Some insights come from psychology and others from neuroscience.

If you’ve been attempting to prioritize logic while shutting out emotions, you may find yourself feeling numb, disconnected. But you can change your relationship with emotions to see them as a useful part of your makeup that you may not spend enough time cultivating.

Here are a few ideas for how to grow to understand your emotions better and become more in touch with them.

1. Learn that each emotion has a specific meaning or story to tell, that each emotion has a specific impulse or predisposition and each emotion exists for a purpose.

In other words, emotions are not random and are actually quite logical. Each is very specific, and you need to listen to and understand them to think clearly, know yourself, act in accordance with your values, and understand the thinking and action of others. Learning this can make them a tool as powerful as reasoning, thinking, and conversation.

Getting “emotionally naked” is about learning how to be open about your authentic self with the rest of the world (well, at least those you trust). It is about how being secretive about yourself can lead to physical, mental, and emotional sickness. Can we actually try to live healthier by being honest with our fellow humans about who we are and how we are?

2. Try this exercise if you feel emotionally numb and overwhelmed with an emotional experience.

As Sue Monk Kidd says in her book The Invention of Wings, “There is no pain on Earth that doesn’t crave a benevolent witness.”

Here’s a process used for reclaiming parts of your authentic self that you may have left hidden in the shadows. Follow this template for naked-sharing slowly, using a journal, personal reflection time, and patience.

Recall: Remember a belief or experience that causes you to keep it hidden.

Reflect: Consider this memory. What happened? Who was there? How did it affect you?

Reveal on paper: Write in a journal your memories, thoughts, feelings, actions, and emotional reactions. Just free flow, get it out and on paper. Then read it to yourself as if you were hearing about it from your younger self.

Reveal to another: This is where you make a big step. Who can you share your story with? Who can you trust will listen to you with suspended judgment and full acceptance? True release from the chokehold of emotional angst is with a benevolent witness or committed listener.

Reboot: After you have shared with a trusted other, imagine you are rebooting your memory, just like computer memory. Let it be defragmented and safely put away.

Restart: This is when you get back on your journey to your future, starting now. You have now achieved a clean restart pertaining to this memory or story.

Get real. Be authentic. Be courageous. Make contact and learn to empathize. Trust and disclose yourself and invite others to do the same. You can be a committed listener to someone else.

Related: 7 Things You Need To Do To Heal Emotionally

3. Own your story.

Brene Brown’s work on vulnerability and the concept of whole-heartedness is wonderful research and life lessons for being more courageous. We can be purposeful and careful in revealing (or discovering) who we really are while also establishing strong boundaries and being very deliberate about when and with whom to share. Her books The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly are wonderful titles and books worth reading on your journey to living optimally and fully.

She says in The Gifts of Imperfection, “Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love, belonging, and joy — the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

We are all a compilation of our experiences, our memories, and our perception of those. What we learn from them is the key. Chosen change or unchosen change eventually has to be accepted and digested before life continues.

These times are when you need someone to be emotionally naked with, and those lessons are what this book is about for you.

What key points of your life have affected your way of living, and what you share or don’t share? How could that change if you found the place and person to share what you have not shared, to say what you have not said, and to dream out loud with a caring listener?

Responses to events are mediated. In other words, when an event takes place, our responses — our behaviors — are shaped by (a) our interpretation of the event, which is a consequence of our beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions, and (b) the feelings generated by those beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions.

Those beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions are the preexisting lenses we wear and look through, which determine, or at least color, our observation and interpretation of events. Discover ways and means to be naked emotionally, when it is safe and secure, and you will find yourself feeling whole and open, at the right times, places, circumstances, and with the right people.

We are, in essence, relationship-beings.

If you live your life never revealing things that you have kept hidden, your authentic self will always be hidden as well. You will be loved by some and befriended by others, but there will be something crucial missing.

Related: 4 Easy Ways To Let Go Of Negativity From Your Life And Find Happiness

You will feel a hole somewhere inside of you, and that hole will keep you from feeling whole. In addition, if there are dreams or aspirations that you have given up on or have stuffed away, you are likely to feel unfulfilled in your calling. Likewise, if there are stories of abuse, hurt, loss, grief, shame, or guilt related to life experiences that you have also buried, you will have to live with the burden of keeping them hidden and protected.

The point is not to share these parts of yourself with everyone or just anyone; it is to find a trusted listener who will keep your stories sacred and personal. Naked living asks you to find that committed and trusted others and simply share the stories from your shadowy storage space and reclaim the energy that is attached to keeping them in hiding.

The witness is key. You can be emotionally naked by yourself, and there is value to that experience, yet it can only take you so far. Being emotionally naked during a relational experience with a trusted other has the power to evoke even deeper revelations. It must be a relational experience with a trusted other to be transformative.


Written By Patrick Williams
Originally Appeared On YourTango
How to Understand your Emotions Better and Become More in Touch with Them
How to Understand your Emotions Better and Be More in Touch with Them
better understand pin

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply



Up Next

7 Warning Signs Of Losing Yourself In A Relationship And How to Rediscover Your Sense of Self

Signs Of Losing Yourself In A Relationship

Are you starting to feel like you have lost yourself in a relationship? Do you have this persistent feeling that you don’t know who you are anymore? You know, that feeling when you are so caught up in someone else’s world, that you forget who you are? Well, these are just some signs of losing yourself in a relationship.

Believe it or not, this is actually quite a common feeling, and lots of people experience this. If you have ever felt like you have lost yourself in a relationship, then this article can be a godsend for you.

Let’s delve into the all those signs of losing yourself in a relationship, so that you can stop yourself from doing so (at least to some extent!). And not just this, we will also talk about what to do when you lose yourself in a relationship. So, are you ready to explore this? Let’s go then!



Up Next

4 Steps To Open And Hopefully Change Someone’s Mind

How To Change Someone's Mind: Useful Pointers To Remember

If you want to change someone’s mind, there are a few things you need to remember. This article is going to talk about some of the best ways to influence someone’s mind, but in the right way. So, are you ready to explore how to change someone’s mind? Let’s go then!

KEY POINTS

Starting conversations with respectful curiosity can open someone’s mind without evoking their resistance.

Our brains are very protective of how we think. Arguing with someone activates the fight-or-flight response.

Practice summarizing key ideas people share so they feel heard before you ask if you can share your ideas.



Up Next

Are You Struggling To Manage Your Emotional Reactions? 3 Important Steps To Take

Managing Emotional Reactions: Effective Steps To Take

If you are someone who struggles to control or manage your emotional reactions, then you have come to the right place. This article is going to talk about some of the best things you can do when it comes to controlling emotional reactions or emotional reactivity.

KEY POINTS

Emotional reactions are based on mental habits you can change if you want to, believe you can, and can commit to the steps.

Even when you know a new mental habit will relieve your stress, you must consistently override your protective brain while forming the new habit.

Start with small steps so you can see your progress and celebrate your successes.



Up Next

3 Zodiac Signs That Bear The Burden Alone With A Never-Say-Die Attitude

Zodiac Signs That Bear The Burden Alone

When life throws its toughest challenges the way, some are drowned by it while others manage to swim through. Below are 3 zodiac signs that bear the burden alone with extraordinaire calm and resilience.

One thing about these zodiacs carrying the burden alone is that they always handle the hard things in life all by themselves. They don’t vent their problems on social media, or cry about it. These people a determined and strong, and can handle anything without support from other people.

When carrying the burden alone, they keep silent and confront all their troubles – this is what really truly sets them apart. So are you one of those who don’t shy away from problems and face them head on? Let’s explore the zodiac signs that bear the burden alone!



Up Next

The Philosophy Of Forgiveness: What Is True Forgiveness And How To Forgive People

What Is True Forgiveness? Tips on How To Forgive People

Have you ever held onto anger and resentment because someone did you dirty? Most of us often become trapped by the weight of bitterness and make wrong decisions that affect us more than it affects others. This is where true forgiveness comes in. But exactly what is true forgiveness?

There is a transformative power hidden within the philosophy of forgiveness. True forgiveness has the potential to liberate us from the chains of bitterness, allowing us to heal, grow, and rediscover the joy of living. 

Let’s explore the depths of what is true forgiveness and learn how to forgive people so that we can be liberated from the pain and bitterness.

What is True Forgiveness?



Up Next

“Why Do I Hate Talking On The Phone?”: 7 Signs You Might Be Dealing With Phone Anxiety

Why Do I Hate Talking On The Phone? Signs Of Phone Anxiety

Do you ever find yourself rolling your eyes and letting out an exasperated sigh when your phone starts ringing or buzzing? Do you feel dread at the mere thought of having to make or receive a phone call and try to find out how to avoid talking on the phone? If you’ve ever said these words to yourself, “Why do I hate talking on the phone?” with frustration, you’re not alone.

There are many people out there who feel the same as you, and hate talking on the phone. And it turns out, there’s a very valid reason behind feeling this way, and that’s phone anxiety.

Today, we are going to talk about phone anxiety and the signs you hate talking on the phone, so that the frequency of you asking “why do I hate talking on the phone” lessens. So, are you ready to know more about this? Let’s get started, then.



Up Next

The ‘Sincericide’ Trap: How Being Too Honest Can Backfire

Sincericide: Dangers Of Being Too Honest

In the realm of human interaction, truthfulness is often described as a virtue—a foundation of trust and authenticity. However, there’s a phenomenon called “sincericide,” which denotes the paradoxical act of undermining one’s own sincerity.

Honesty is appreciated, but the idea of “Sincericide” – an oxymoronic pitfall that may lead to undesirable results through too much sincerity.

Trust is built on transparency but it’s also important to know how not to cross the line between being frank and rude.

In this article, we’ll discuss ‘Sincericide’, the secret killer of strong relationships — telling the truth without sugarcoating it. How do you communicate honestly without destroying you