Our relationship with our feelings and emotions
We are all designed to feel and experience emotions; it is an unavoidable and hard-wired aspect of being human.
The relationship we have with our past, present, and future feelings and emotions is central to our emotional well-being.
Fear our feelings and emotions, and behaviours such as denial, suffocation, avoidance, suppression, and repression develop; this makes for an adversarial relationship with them.
Love our feelings and emotions – which makes for a cooperative relationship with them – and not only are denial, suffocation, avoidance, suppression, and repression less likely, but good physical and mental health, together with states such as acceptance, peace, ease, and equanimity, are more easily achieved.
However, if you consider that “loving” your feelings and emotions is too big an ask, or you are at odds with the very idea, I recommend that as a minimum you settle for being honest about them.
Whether we like it or not, our feelings and emotions let us know how someone or something is affecting us; there aren’t many other feedback systems that are so reliable, instant, and capable of informing us in this way.
Adversarial, honest, or cooperative, the choice is ours.
However, the how in ‘how do I develop an honest or cooperative relationship with my feelings and emotions’ is a question many people struggle to find an answer to. I have searched and found more than one and invite you to stay connected if you are interested in hearing about them.
So, what exactly is emotional well-being?
The jury remains out on an exact or all-encompassing definition, although among experts there’s an emerging consensus that several common factors co-exist, factors which collectively represent and illustrate what emotional well-being looks and feels like.
I consider being well emotionally to be a way of life and a way of living, as opposed to an end point or specific achievement.
There are degrees to which we can consider ourselves emotionally well and there are countless ways in which we can foster that state.
Healthy levels of emotional well-being are reflected in how happy we are, how at ease, relaxed, comfortable and in the flow we are with our life, together with the amount of confidence, fulfilment, harmony, certainty, and contentment we experience.
How can we improve and enhance our emotional well-being?
Whilst feelings of discomfort, dis-ease, disharmony, discontentment, disruption, and distress are difficult to avoid altogether, their strength will be mediocre and their existence fleeting if our overall state of emotional well-being is robust.
This year I’ll be publishing the research I have undertaken, as well as teaching the skills required to cultivate optimal emotional well-being, whether that be for yourself personally or in a professional capacity to help others. If you’d like to be notified when my research and teaching events become available, make sure you have joined my Stay Connected service.
I look forward to helping improve and enhance your emotional well-being in any way I can, which can begin right now by reflecting on the following:
A charter for our emotional well-being
In this context, the word ‘charter’ means a set of aspirational principles that prioritise and seek the achievement of healthy levels of emotional well-being. The principles here-in are an invitation to:
- Establish and enjoy a cooperative relationship with our emotions, one in which we choose acknowledgement over denial, acceptance over resistance, integration over rejection, and expression over suppression.
- Develop the skills to express and communicate our needs, boundaries and emotions clearly, eloquently, with equanimity, and without fear.
- Appreciate our emotions and understand how to honour, manage, embrace, regulate, express, resolve and integrate them.
- Approve of ourselves and bring a halt to seeking or relying on the validation, approval, acceptance or favourable judgement of others.
- Cultivate feeling good about ourselves by nurturing a healthy self-image, buoyant self-esteem, appropriate self-confidence, adequate self-respect, and robust self-worth.
- Become unaffected by the potentially harmful, unhelpful, and unsupportive words and actions of others.
- Naturally default to an unhurried, considered, and deliberate response to deal with whatever life hands or throws at us.
- Make a non-negotiable commitment to uncover and attend to any unhealed emotional wounds arising from ongoing or past traumas, conflicts, and stressors.
- Deepen our awareness of our unconscious needs and seeking to meet them in healthy ways.
To your emotional excellence and beyond…