EMOTIONS GIVE IMPORTANT INFO
– how I feel & respond to the world
PREVIOUS: Communication #2
Review post : “Getting to our Es – Over”
SEE Acronyms Page for abbrev.
1. SOCIAL NEEDS
2. INDIVIDUAL NEEDS
a. To Feel ALIVE
The over-all purpose of Es is to experience & get the most out of life.
They are spontaneous responses to everything inside & outside of ourselves. They’re what make us feel alive – both the thrills & chills – telling us who we are BY how we feel about our experiences. The more an event or person means to us, the more intense our emotional response to them.
“NORMAL”: A healthy, integrated life includes having access to a full range of Es. They are meant to surface temporarily & then pass thru us, so we can feel other ones as we go thru our daily routine. When an emotion is experienced to the fullest & allowed to run its course, it dissolves like smoke but remembered with a smile – even if it was unpleasant !
• Positive Psychology tells us that psychological satisfaction & well-being come from participating in activities that boost pleasant Es, which then allow us to discover & use our character strengths & virtues.
It offers 4 broad pathways that can enhance these Es, in order to experience happiness more often – PATH OF : joy & pleasure, love & relationships, peace & tranquility, hope & resilience
DAMAGE: Without Es we would be like robots (“Computer Role”). Anyone who is physically healthy but emotionally cut off has trouble identifying with other people’s feelings, & so can do a lot of harm – usually unaware.
If someone’s damage isn’t too severe (like NPDs & psychopaths) their emotional numbness can be modified, if they’re willing to do the ‘thawing out’ work.(Secretly angry ‘nice’ people)
A medical parallel can be made with autistic people, who have a disability in recognizing facial & body cues. (“The Body & Es, Part 2”) This limits their capacity to identify Es in others & therefore hard to make ‘normal’ emotional attachments & social connections.
However, autistic people do have feelings, & if taught early in life to identify physical cues, they can lead more satisfying lives, & others will be more comfortable around them.
b. For SELF-AWARENESS
The “Self-Perception Theory” & “Cognitive Appraisal Theories of Emotion” suggest that we figure out how we feel about things, by staying awake & observing ourselves. This allows us to access Inner Guidance, using Es as indicators of what’s good & bad for us, & therefore what our needs are
But each person differs in the amount of the ‘things’ that suit us, so that some people require more sleep, stimulation, space…. than others. One person may need freedom & independence while another security & continual social connections. Some may have a need to ‘understand’ life & satisfy a great curiosity, while others are content to accept whatever they’ve been taught
Es also alert us when any natural, normal need is not being met. They are a signal for us to pay attention & deal with the lack – hopefully by doing something appropriate & empowering. So, when we feel:
• lonely – we’re not connected (enough) with others
• afraid – we don’t feel safe, for self or loved ones
• rejected – we aren’t being accepted, respected, valued….
REALISTICALLY, we would’t fare well in life without any Es
– How long could we physically survive if we never felt fear?
– Why would we want to apologize for hurting someone if guilt was not available?
– How could we miss the company of others if we couldn’t feel loneliness?
– Why would we want to help someone in dire need, without empathy?
ACoAs grew up in environments where our Es were constantly minimized, invalidated & punished, making is very hard to get our legitimate human needs & distresses taken seriously.
It taught us to not trust our feelings, nor believe in the right to have needs, even though they never go away – until met. (EXP: You’ll feel hungry until you eat, be tired until you sleep, scared until comforted…)
🔸In reaction, some of us increased the intensity of our Es & how we express them (dramatically, which is not crazy), desperately trying to be heard.
🔹Others decreased the strength & expression of most or all Es (withdrawn & invisible), making it hard to be seen & appreciated, leaving us even more emotionally ‘starved’!
NEXT: Awareness #2