Sensing what others feeling

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Become a Sensor

We need to work on our ability to collect and interpret subtle interpersonal cues and detecting what’s going on without others’ have to spell it out.

I’m not particularly good at this. Plan to learn this this year. Be sure to stay tune, I might update my notes here soon.

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4 ways to control our emotions in tense moments

4 practices that have made an immense difference in controlling my emotion in tense moments are as follows:

Own the emotion

Emotional responsibility is the precondition of emotional influence. You can’t change an emotion you don’t own. The first thing I do when struck by an overpowering feeling or impulse is to accept responsibility for its existence. My mental script is, “This is about me, not about that or them.” Emotions come prepackaged with tacit external attribution. Because an external event always precedes my experience of an emotion, it’s easy to assume that event caused it. But as long as I believe it was externally caused I am doomed to be a victim to my emotions.

Name the story

Next, you need to reflect on how you colluded with the initial event to create the present emotion. Emotions are the result of both what happens, and of the story you tell yourself about what happened. One of the powerful practices that helps me detach from and take control of my emotions is to name the stories I tell.

Is it a victim story, one that emphasizes my virtues and absolves me of responsibility for what is happening?

Is it a villain story, one that exaggerates the faults of others and attributes what’s happening to their evil motives?

Is it a helpless story, one that convinces me that any healthy course of action (like listening humbly, speaking up honestly) is pointless?

Naming my stories helps me see them for what they are , only one of myriad ways I can make sense of what’s happening

Challenge the Story

Once you identify the story, you can take control by asking yourself questions that provoke you out of your victim, villain, and helpless stories.

For example, I transform myself from a victim into an actor by asking, “What am I pretending not to know about my role in this situation?”

I transform the other person from a villain into a human by asking, “Why would a reasonable, rational, and decent person say this?” and I transform myself from helpless into able by asking, “What’s the right thing to do now to move toward what I really want?”

As I pondered these questions in my interaction with the other person, I saw how my impatience and arrogance, was a big part of why he was saying this. As I asked, “What is the right thing to do…” I felt an immediate release from resentment and anger.

A calming humility emerged. And, I began to ask questions rather than present my defense.

Find your primal story

Over the years, I’ve wondered why the stories I tell myself are so predictable. And that most people have habitual stories they tell
in predictable circumstances as well. Early life experiences that we perceived at the time to be threats to our safety and worth become encoded in our potent memories.

When my chest got tight sitting across from the other person, simply thinking, “This can’t hurt me” and “Humility is strength not weakness” had an immediate calming effect. Reciting a specific script in moments of emotional provocation weakens trauma induced reaction that is not relevant in the present moment.

How to express our anger usefully?

NVC can help express our anger usefully.

First, we need to sever the link between other people and our anger because if we think that their actions make us angry, we’ll blame them for what we feel. Hence, we are not actually in control of our emotion, and by default we cannot change that which we have no control over.

What we need to understand is that another person can be a “stimulus” for our feelings, but it’s never a cause.

Therefore, instead of blaming others, look inside ourselves to identify which of our needs isn’t being met and as best to our capacity, change it.

Anger

Anger can misdirect your energy. We become angry or violent when we believe others are causing our pain and should be punished.

Stop and take a breath !

Remember, when we get angry and need to express it, stop and take a breath. Simple tips which we can easily remember, since anger make it a bit harder to rationally think.

Look inward for thoughts that are judgments.

Identify the unmet needs that underlie these judgments.

Express what you feel and need.

Most of the time, if you want someone to listen to us, we would need to listen to him or her first and empathize actively. When we hear what someone else is feeling, we can recognize the humanity you share. So, stop being so selfish.

“The clearer we are about what we want, the more likely it is that we’ll get it.”

“Making requests in clear, positive, concrete action language reveals what we really want.”

So, that’s it. Easy, right?

Goleman’s definition of EI

Goleman’s 5-part definition of Emotional Intelligence

  1. “Self-awareness” means that we know what we feel and intuit and that we know our mental and emotional strengths and weakness.
  2. “Self-regulation” means handling our inner feelings and impulses.
  3. “Motivation” is our drive to achieve what we want.
  4. “Empathy” means recognizing others’ feelings.
  5. “Social skills” have a specific, self-serving job: to get other people to do what we want.

Gauging Happiness

Author of Search Inside Yourself, Chade-Meng Tan, teaches us that “contemplative practices” can make us happier. 

He explains that determining the “relative activation” of an area of your brain’s left prefrontal cortex gives you a reliable indication of your happiness.

The greater the activity in the left prefrontal cortex, the more you register delight, passion and energy. 

More right-side activity means darker emotions.

3-Steps for “Search Inside Yourself” Program, which has been part of Google’s curriculum since 2007. The steps are:

1 “Attention Training” 

This involve governing our ever-wandering attention means finding calmness and clarity. 

A calm mind can look inward.

2 “Self-knowledge and Self-mastery”

When we can control our attention, apply it to our “cognitive and emotive processes”. 

This lets us consider our “thought stream” and how our emotions function.

3 “Creating useful mental habits”

Harmful mental behaviors include jealousy, resentment and self-doubt. Adopting a counter-balancing mental habit, such as wishing sincerely for the best outcomes for everyone you encounter. 

Goleman’s 5-part definition of Emotional Intelligence :

  1. “Self-awareness” means that we know what we feel and intuit and that we know our mental and emotional strengths and weakness.
  2. “Self-regulation” means handling our inner feelings and impulses.
  3. “Motivation” is our drive to achieve what we want.
  4. “Empathy” means recognizing others’ feelings.
  5. “Social skills” have a specific, self-serving job: to get other people to do what we want.