LinkedIn Conscious Business Week 11: Emotions
From the introduction:
For each week of this course I am going to take my notes on what I learned and turn it into a short blog post. I am hoping this will encourage you to take a look at the course and maybe do it yourself.
This weeks notes on Conscious Business focus on emotions.
Every Emotion Is Useful
There is a very basic distinction in our emotional life. We are attracted by pleasure, and repulsed by pain. Our emotions tell us whether our life is attractive of repulsive, and then guiding us to take actions to move further towards, or into, the attractive state.
The story of sadness is that I believe that something meaningful to me has been lost.
The action sadness asks you to take is to grieve. You need to recognise that what was lost was significant and that it wasn’t a triviality. By doing this you create a relationship with the hope rather than what was lost.
If you want to be happy you have to accept that when things go wrong you may not be happy. So when something goes wrong, an unproductive approach would be to respond with the “chin up”, “everything will be okay” mentality. It is far better to think of it as closing one door and then being able to open another with full energy, motivation, and the knowledge that even if it goes bad you can handle it.
The story of sadness is that I believe that something meaningful to me is at risk. And so the action that the emotion of fear is asking you to take is to protect what is meaningful to you, that you believe is also at risk.
Anger is a composite emotion. It has two parts.
There is always hurt: that something bad has happened or could happen. Then there is a second emotion that distinguishes if from sadness or fear. There is some force, either a group, or some person, or some god, someone that I can blame that has behaved in a way that has created this bad outcome.
Let’s say I am trying to sell to a customer. Then a colleague calls up your customer and gives them more information that confuses information and causes them to backtrack and potentially back out of the deal.
Firstly, I am sad because something went wrong, and I am afraid that it could go even more wrong in that I could lose the deal. But this isn’t a natural occurrence, where the rain fell and the customer decided to exit from the deal. A colleague behaved in a way that transgressed a line or an agreement that triggered a bad outcome for me.
The story of anger creates a need to correct the situation. You need to raise the issue with the other person and discuss the issue and come to a resolution. The line that has been crossed needs to be repaired. And you need to believe that in the future that the line would not be crossed again otherwise I am left feeling unprotected and at the mercy of people who don’t feel much about me.
Being angry at another person means they have transgressed a boundary and created a negative outcome. Feeling guilt or regret towards yourself is when you feel as though you’ve transgressed boundary with a similar outcome.
Like every emotion, guilt is alerting you to something that needs attention and care. Specifically, for guilt it is your values. When you act in a way that isn’t aligned to your personal values, and you create negative outcomes for other then that is rightfully bringing up guilt.
Guilt is telling you that you have behaved in a way that is not compatible with how you want to live your life.
So, when you feel guilty you don’t want to beat yourself up. Rather, this emotion is asking you to repair the problem that you’ve caused. By taking care of them, you make sure that they are okay and fix the wrong you’ve done to them, and you will re-establish your integrity.
After repairing the wrong, the healthy part of guilt is over. There can also be an unhealthy part of guilt that after performing all the actions you still feel the need to build yourself up. This is shame. Shame is not about what you did, it’s about who are. And there is no way to repair this with actions because you can’t change who you are.
Don’t Forget to Celebrate
The emotions associated with pain are: sadness, fear, anger, and guilt. These emotions have four mirror emotions which are, respectively: joy, excitement, gratitude, and pride.
Just as with the pain emotions, which all require an action either on your part or the part of another, the pleasure emotions also require an action.
For joy, the action is to celebrate. Without celebration, you are not honoring your emotion and so you are less likely to encounter joy in the future.
Excitement sends a message that the thing that is so valuable to you that you might accomplish, you have to work to get it. It is giving you the energy to accomplish that which is very important to you. So to honor excitement you need to re-double your efforts in order to accomplish it.
Gratitude is asking you to be thankful. The expression of that gratitude is asking you to thank that person or group of people. Gratitude is highly correlated with the joy people feel in life. Part of this is to recognise the people and thank them. This is one of the key markers of emotional health.
Finally, when you feel pride you recognise you have done something good, that aligns with your values, and that adds values to the lives of other. This requires a reward and recognising yourself as a valuable person who is acting in the world and producing value for other.
Once you learn how to understand and navigate your own emotions. You can work to help other people manage their emotions.
The first stage is to recognise that what they feel is right. There are no wrong emotions because saying an emotion is wrong is encouraging the other person to repress their emotion. Next is to try and understand what is leading to the person to feel the emotion they are feeling. And then, once you know the story. Finally you can ask the person what they want to do about this, what action they want to take that aligns to their personal values.
This will help the person to make a conscious decision and express their values in order to accomplish a result they want, building the relationships they want and with a feeling of integrity and peace.