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I'm an emotional health mentor, edu-preneur and coach who loves teaching you how to understand, manage and embrace your emotions.
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Hey guys! You’ve probably heard of emotional intelligence. But did you know the first step to being emotionally intelligent is awareness? But being able to identify your own emotions can sometimes be difficult. Read on to discover common emotions and how to identify them.
A quick note before you dive in! I’m not a therapist. I’m simply here to share what’s worked for me and my emotional health in hopes that it will help others. Please read my full disclosure here.
In my experience, when I feel depressed it means that I have anger that I need to address. It’s also anger that I don’t think I’m justified in having.
For example, I had a lot of anger toward my dad that I had shoved away over the years. But once I addressed it, I didn’t feel so depressed anymore.
Note: this is in the context of depression when it comes up as an emotion. NOT when it’s a mental illness.
You’ve probably heard that anxiety means that you’re living in the fear of the future. But did you also know that anxiety is a signal? It means that you need to look at what your fears are and address them.
For instance, the other day I was feeling anxious about the upcoming weekend. Since I had so much to do, I wasn’t sure I could do it all.
So, I took time to think about why I was so anxious. Then I actually removed a few things from my to-do list and felt much better.
Note: this is in the context of anxiety as an emotion, not as the mental illness.
Jealousy means that you want what someone else has, but you don’t feel like you deserve it. For some reason you don’t think you can have it. But a part of you really wants it.
Here’s a story to demonstrate this. Before I was married, I knew this couple who took really good care of each other. And I was SO jealous of the wife and actually had dreams about her.
Well, at the time I didn’t believe that I was worthy of having a partner take good care of me. So, I worked on why I didn’t think I could have that. Also, I acknowledged that having that was something I REALLY wanted (I’m happy to report that I’ve since found a partner who takes great care of me!).
Resentment means that you haven’t respected your boundaries and either you’ve given too much of yourself, or you’ve let someone else take advantage of you.
For example, a few weeks ago I said I would babysit for a loved one. When she told me how long she’d be gone, it seemed too long for me. But I said yes anyway. Well, at the end of that 8-hour day with the kids, I was full of resentment. So, now I know that next time I should only commit to a shorter window of babysitting.
When you’re bitter, that means you’re withholding forgiveness. It shows you where your anger has hardened and you’re holding onto old hurts. When you feel bitter, consider the reason you’re withholding forgiveness.
Personally, I really loved a certain person but stepped away from them a few years ago. And honestly, I had a lot of bitterness toward that person.
For me, withholding forgiveness was my last connection to this person. Also, my bitterness helped protect me from them. As long as I was bitter, they couldn’t hurt me again.
But once I forgave, I had a lot more space in my heart for people who wouldn’t hurt me.
Anger is a very important emotion. It shows you what your boundaries are. It also shows you where you want change, either for yourself or in the world.
For example, I had a boss I was SO angry toward. But it was because I was staying in a job long after it was good for me. So, my anger was telling me that this job wasn’t serving me anymore.
Shame means that you’re internalizing who other people think you should be. It also shows you that you need to reconnect with yourself and your own beliefs.
One example of when I felt shame was after leaving the Mormon church. Since they believe in dressing modestly, I felt ashamed about wearing clothes Mormons wouldn’t wear. Such as tank tops, sexy tops or anything that shows your shoulders.
But once I realized that my shame didn’t belong to me, I was able to wear what I wanted without feeling shame.
Guilt shows you where you’re still trying to reach other people’s expectations, but that those expectations aren’t in harmony with what you actually want.
For instance, I recently felt guilty when I said no to a friend. That’s because I was taught that women should always “be kind” and say yes. So, sometimes I feel very guilty when I say no.
Sadness shows you what you truly love and value. It also shows you the depth of your feeling and love for others.
For example, remember the person I mentioned above that I was bitter toward? Well, I heard that that person isn’t doing well at all. And even though this person is no longer in my life, I was still devastated to hear about their problems. My sadness showed me that this is because I really love them (they were important to me for a long time).
When you feel disappointed, that means you tried for something! So, you actually still care and didn’t give into apathy or fear.
Back when I was looking for my first job in Montreal, I experienced a lot of disappointment. Actually, I applied for about 200 jobs before I finally got one. But the fact that I was disappointed each time I didn’t get a job showed me that I cared, that I was alive! And that’s important to me.
While insomnia isn’t an emotion, it still shows you something. Insomnia means that there are two opposite parts of you that are fighting to exist.
For example, recently I’ve had some disagreements with loved ones. And the people I love are the MOST important to me.
However, being free to be myself is also the MOST important to me. So, these two core values of mine were at odds with each other and I spent a lot of sleepless nights while I worked through it all.
Well, there you have it! I hope that this helps you become more in touch with what you’re feeling.