A tool for improving your emotional intelligence
Emotions drive the majority of the decisions in our lives. Even those that believe that they are highly logical would be surprised at how much emotions rule our lives. Think about it. Logically, we all know that exercise and a healthy diet give us greater health, yet we live in a world of obesity and sickness related to health. It’s not the logic that is driving our behavior. It is our emotions.
Creating awareness of our emotions allows us to become more emotionally intelligent and leverage our emotions to our advantage.
Emotions aren’t good or bad, they just are. Some are empowering. Some are disempowering. They are a tool that we can use in our lives to improve ourselves, or they can cripple us. Think of the emotions of anxiety and depression.
Each emotion has a sponsoring thought. Many times these thoughts are subconscious and have actually created programs in our subconscious. Sometimes, we create disempowering programs called triggers. A trigger is when we get emotionally charged at something that reminds us of a previous traumatic instance. These disempowering triggers are normally caused by fear.
One morning, during a meditation, the acronym S.A.F.E. came to me regarding our emotions. Here’s what it stands for:
S= Separate from the emotion
A= Acknowledge the emotion
F= Feel the emotion
E= Excuse the emotion
I’ll go into detail for each of these.
Separate From The Emotion
Most people identify so closely with their emotions that they think they are their emotions. An example of this is when somebody says “I am angry”, like it’s who they are. We are NOT our emotions. We have emotions.
In order to create separation, we get to create language that supports this. Instead of saying ‘I am angry’, we can say ‘I am feeling anger’. In my mind, I actually visualize the emotion existing away from me, so I say “I am feeling anger over there”. Sometimes, I even visualize this by imagining me sitting on a couch and my emotion (visualized as a person) sitting a few feet away.
Acknowledge The Emotion
We acknowledge our emotions by naming them and observing them. We don’t attach to them or resist them.
I like to explore my emotions with curiosity to see if there is a root emotion. Sometimes, the emotion that we first identify with is a secondary emotion that is caused by another emotion. For example, my anger is usually a secondary emotion stemming from fear. My experience with myself and my clients has shown that nearly all disempowering emotions stem from fear. There are five major fears that most people deal with:
- Fear of failure / rejection / not good enough
- Fear of loss / abandonment
- Fear of the unknown / change
- Fear of what other people think of us
- Fear for our safety and security
Our brain creates these fears, or better said, they imagine these fears. When we realize this, we can honor the emotion without getting lost in it.
Our emotions are like children that are simply wanting attention. Once we give them that attention, there’s a good chance they will go away.
Feel The Emotion
Each of our emotions has a specific frequency. For example, the frequency of love is higher than the frequency of fear.
Additionally, each emotion has an amplitude. The amplitude is the strength at which we feel the emotion. The amplitude of the emotion is exponentially increased if we attach to or resist the emotion. For example, if I am feeling anger at a level of 3, if I attach to or resist the emotion, the amplitude rises to a level of 9. It is easier to deal with our emotions as their native level (3) than at their amplified level caused by attachment or resisting.
When we separate from the emotion, and acknowledge it, then we can simply feel it. When we take away any judgement about an emotion being right or wrong, good or bad, then we can explore the emotion with curiosity. We can ask ourselves probing questions, like:
- Why am I feeling this?
- What is the sponsoring thoughts that are creating this emotion?
- What is this emotion wanting to teach me?
Our emotions are great motivators and great teachers if we take the time to sit in awareness and honor the emotions that arise.
Excuse The Emotion
After you’ve observed your emotions, felt them, and learned what there is to learn, you can excuse the emotions. There is no right or wrong time limit for doing this. Each person and each situation is unique. With practice, you will know when it’s time to excuse the emotion and let it go.
If we don’t address our emotions, they will stay with us until we do. For disempowering emotions that we refuse to deal with, this may show up in our bodies as fatigue and sickness.
We all have emotions, and most of us were not taught how to deal with them. This simple practice of being S.A.F.E. with our emotions is a great tool to provide greater peace, power, and a higher level of emotional intelligence in our lives.
Leverage the emotions that serve to propel you forward. Honor the emotions that are holding you back, so you can let them go.
If you’d like to learn more about living life to its fullest and enjoying more peace, power and purpose, you can download my FREE ebook “Zenpowerment Power Principles for Executives and Entrepreneurs”.