Emotions And Feelings (Cont.2)


1. Categories of Emotions

Sometimes emotions are described in 1 of 2 categories

        i) lower arousal like contentment, peace, tranquillity, satisfaction, disappointment, etc
        ii) high arousal like anger, joy, disgust, hatred,
embarrassment, love, rage, etc

2. Classification of emotions

Emotions and feelings can be sometimes classified as a

   - state (a temporary condition that can be experienced for short period of time, ie it passes)

   - trait (part of an individual's embedded personality and demonstrated by behaviour, actions and feeling)

   - practice (a way of doing, trying, failing and trying again; it is tangible)

   - attitude (a way of thinking)

3. Main emotions

When people are asked to name the main emotions they experience, 3 dominated

- happy, ie glad

- sad

- angry, ie mad

This means that many emotions like shame, disappointment, wonder, awe, disgust, embarrassment, despair, contentment, boredom, anxiety, stress, love, overwhelmed, surprise, rage, etc are missing or less understood!!!!

This limited emotional vocabulary helps explain how lack of understanding around emotions.

4. Language

"...we must first establish a common understanding of the language of emotion and human experience..."
Brené Brown, 2021

 "...language is our portal to meaning-making, connection, healing, learning, and self-awareness. Having access to the right words can open up entire universes. When we don't have the language to talk about what are experiencing, our ability to make sense of what's happening and share it with others is severely limited. Without accurate language, we struggle to get the help we need, we don't always regulate or manage our emotions and experiences in a way that allows us to move through them productively, and our self-awareness is diminished. Language shows us that naming the experience doesn't give the experience more power; it gives us the power of understanding and meaning..."
Brené Brown, 2021

In addition to communicating emotions, language can shape your feelings

"...Our understanding of our own and others' emotions is shaped by how we perceive, categorise, and describe emotional experiences - and these interpretations rely heavily on language..."
Brené Brown, 2021

"...language speeds and strengthens connections in the brain when we are processing sensory information..."
Brené Brown, 2021

If access to the emotional language is blocked, then your ability to interpret incoming emotional information is reduced. Likewise using the correct words to describe particular emotions, helps us identify and handle those emotions in others and yourselves.

The ability to accurately recognise and label emotions is called emotional granularity. The greater this ability, the better your emotional and psychological well-being.

"...our emotions help us make sense of our surroundings and provide needed input for managing ourselves and responding effectively to others..."
Susan David as quoted by Brené Brown, 2021

Need to be careful of semantics, ie playing with words. For example, empathy can be regarded as taking on all the feelings of another person. Some people will regard this as bad!!!

"...this linguistic gaming is about wanting to be contrarian. There's nothing more seductive and clickable than a discovery that something we believe to be good is bad: empathy is bad for you..."
Brené Brown, 2021

Definitions cannot be arbitrary; they need to be experience-centric and backed up by research.

"...language matters. It's the raw material of story, it changes how we feel about ourselves and others, it is a portal to connection. With the same amount of power, language can also be used to strip people of their dignity and humanity. With awareness about how dehumanisation words comes a responsibility to call out dangerous language when we recognise it..."
Brené Brown, 2021

5. Positive emotions

"...positive emotions wear off quickly. Our emotional systems like newness. They like novelty. They like change. We adapt positive life circumstances so that before too long, the new car, the new spouse, the new house - they don't feel so new and exciting anymore..."
Robert Emmons as quoted by Brene Brown, 2021

6. Linking of emotions with body language and facial expressions (for more detail, see other parts of the Knowledge Base)

For example, disgust is often conveyed in a very physical manner:

"...when we feel disgusted, we often wrinkle our noses, choke or gag, cover our mouth or nose while hunching over (as if to vomit), recoil or back away, and say 'yuck' or 'ew'..."
Paul Ekman as quoted by
Brené Brown, 2021

Need to understand and feel the physical sensations and impacts of your emotions, ie to connect your physical sensations to psychological events. This is called embodiment, ie the ability to feel and allow the body's emotions and sensations.

"...The habits that are embodied in us are the ones that we practise the most often......when we are disembodied or disconnected from our own feelings and sensations, it's easy to become habituated to practices that we don't believe in or value..."
Prentis Hemphill as quoted by Brené Brown, 2021

We become what we do.

7. Competing Emotion and Contradictory Thoughts

"...What happens when we feel two competing emotions at the same time? Can two seemingly contradictory thoughts both be true?..."
Brené Brown, 2021

This can make you feel uncomfortable, vulnerable, irritated, etc. However, it helps you to understand who you are and what you need.

This is an important part of human complexity. You need to have the skills and experience to handle this complexity, ie tolerate the uncertainty and ambiguity.

"...when we are reading, listening, or watching, we can learn to recognise complexity as a signal of credibility. We can then favour content sources that present many sides of an issue......When experts express doubt, they become more persuasive. When someone knowledgeable admits uncertainty, it will surprise people, and you may end up paying more attention to the substance of the argument..."
Brené Brown, 2021

When you open your mind to learning more, it can result in you questioning your current point of view. Thus acknowledging this uncertainty is a function of grounded confidence and humility.

8. Pain

"...people will do almost anything not to feel pain, including causing pain and abusing power......very few people can handle being held accountable for causing hurt without rationalising, blaming, or shutting down......(yet) pained by the amount of hurt that we are capable of causing......We become terrified of feeling pain, so we engage in behaviours that become a magnet for more pain. We run from anger and grief straight into the arms of fear, protectionism, and the desperate need for control..."
Brené Brown, 2021

"...we all fear pain and struggle, but they are often necessary for growth..."
Brené Brown, 2021

9. Enemy (near and far)

    i) near enemy This is a Buddhist concept that refers to something that is similar to the desired state. However, it can actually undermines the desired state as it is too similar; 'near enemies' are usually a greater threat than 'far enemies' as they are more difficult to recognise. For example, compassion and pity, ie

"...Pity sees them as different from yourselves. It sets up a separation between yourselves and others, a sense of distance and remoteness from the suffering of others that is affirming and gratifying. Compassion......recognises the suffering of another as a reflection of our own pain......mutual connection with the pain and sorrow of life. Compassion is shared suffering..."
Brené Brown, 2021)

Some examples of 'near enemy':

        a) compassion is pity
        b) love cf attachment, ie clinging and fear
        c) equanimity (a balanced engagement with all aspects of life) is indifference (based on fear) or callousness
        d) grounded confidence cf knowing and proving; the former is driven by learning and curiosity
        e) walking alongside cf controlling the pathway
        f) stories stewardship cf narrative takeover (the latter suggest appropriation and making its your own perception of what happened and this can include rejecting the truth of somebody else's story and letting your ego, behaviour, etc take over, eg
'Black Lives Matter' expanded to 'All Lives Matter', 'Blue Lives Matter')  and narrative tap-out (can range from subtle disinterest to complete shutdowns)

The near enemies can look like close connections; however, ultimately they drive you to be disconnected

"...without awareness, near enemies become the practices that fuel separation, rather than practices that reinforce the inextricable connections of all people..."
Brené Brown, 2021

    ii) far enemies (are the opposite emotions or experiences:

        a) compassion is a long way from cruelty and despair
        b) grounded confidence is very different from fragile self-worth
        c) walking alongside is hugely different from walking away (the latters can include discounting and dominating behaviours such as ignoring, dismissing, power over, building walls (literally and figuratively), etc)

10. Recognising others' emotions

It is hard to accurately recognise emotions in other people as
        i) too many emotions and experience present in exactly the same way. For example, tears can come from grief, despair, hopelessness, resentment, etc
        ii) despite there being some universal facial expressions that can reflect a number of emotions, physical expressions of feeling and experiences can be as unique as we are

The best way to know what other people are feeling is to ask them

"...when they tell us what they're feeling, what happened, what they fear or desire, we listen and we become trusted stewards of the stories..."
Brené Brown, 2021


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