We know intuitively that we often respond in life based on emotions, information from our limbic system. Those uncomfortable emotions you’re feeling about work and your situation are providing you with information. Get curious and look more deeply at the emotion. Emotions are cues, what are they signaling? What you find out about yourself can be enlightening and provide guidance for the future.
To live fully, you need to experience the full range of human emotions, learn from them and then you get to act in alignment with your values. Emotional agility is the ability to experience your emotions, learn from them and choose you actions. I am a proponent of building up positivity as long as it is in balance and reflective of your experience. That disturbing anger, disappointment, and guilt etc. can motivate you to make a change. When you bolster yourself with some positivity, you have the energy and perspective to make the change rather than just brood on what is wrong.
Below is a strategy to use to benefit from your uncomfortable emotions.
- Identify specifically what the emotion is. Name it accurately; go deeper than “lousy,” “bad,” or even “burned out.” Giving a name to the underlying emotion provides a little distance so that you can examine what it is that is upsetting.
- Get Curious – What is the emotion telling you? Often, ‘negative’ feelings are associated with a sense of threat – perhaps your values are being threatened, your autonomy, your integrity or your physical being. What is the wisdom that is being expressed?
- With compassion, allow yourself to experience the emotion. You may have been stuffing these uncomfortable feelings down. Allow yourself self-compassion to feel and know that the feeling will ebb and flow. When it comes to emotions “What we resist, persists.” So it shows up in various devious ways and continues to reside in us. Overtime when we limit our emotions in one area, it can limit our emotional range generally and ‘deaden’ us. Part of what influenced my own burnout was the amount of difficult feelings I was pushing aside and then I moved to not feeling much and acting like a bit of an automaton. I got help and invoked self-compassion so I could learn from and integrate what I needed to experience.
- Engage your wisdom about how to deal with this now and in the future. Once you understand what the emotion is conveying then you can determine if there is an action that you want to take. On what aspects of the situation can you make an impact? What attributes about you can you change to make the situation better? What possible actions can you take that are consistent with what is important to you?
It takes time to integrate strong emotions and their accompanying experiences . When you emerge from the intensity of the experiencing, you will have more room to experience positive emotions that can provide you with the needed energy to affect change. When you are feeling more grateful, loved, accomplished or generally more positive you will be able to engage with a broader perspective on what is going on.
Your emotions are cues, what are they signaling? Take advantage of your renewed energy by engaging with courage to change the things you can, and accept the things you cannot, and may you experience the wisdom of knowing the difference.
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