“Emotions are the language of the soul.” ― Peter Scazzero
Emotions are more than fleeting feelings. They are the language of our inner selves, conveying messages and insights that guide our actions and decisions. Therefore, in order to clearly understand your inner self, it’s crucial to learn the language of emotions and become emotionally literate.
Have you ever asked yourself “What is really an Emotion?”
The meaning of the word means many different things to many differnt people.
Emotion: Energy in Motion.
Emotion: The thing that moves you.
Emotion: A felt experience.
Emotion: The label we put on our sensations.
No matter what definition you focus on few things are clear: Emotions carry energy, they help us describe a certain experience, we can feel them, and they drive most of our behaviors.
In this article, we will delve into the profound concept of emotional literacy and explore key takeaways from a thought provoking podcast episode with Dan Newby, an emotional literacy coach and founder of the School of Emotions.
Find out how emotional literacy can empower you to navigate life’s complexities and truly understand the language of emotions.
Who is Dan Newby?
Dan Newby is an emotional literacy coach and founder of the School of Emotions. He started his coaching back in 1999. He co authored “The Field Guide to Emotions” and “The Unopened Gift: A Primer in Emotional Literacy,” and offers courses, mentoring, and coaching to help people harness the power of emotions for personal and professional growth.
He is also one of the speakers on The Superhuman Summit that will dive deep into the language of emotions, Emotional Literacy, and he will share with you all the secrets on how to learn the language of emotions and unleash that superpower from within.
There will be over 25 other experts and coaches that will dive deep into each of the 4 fundamental pillars The Spirit, The Mind, The Body, The Heart, and show you the hidden superpowers within each of the pillars.
If you want to discover your 4 hidden superpowers, get your 4 DAY VIP PASS for The Superhuman Summit Here.
How to Learn the Language of Emotions:
Emotions are the driving force behind our actions, the labels we place on our sensations, and the messengers of our inner world.
Each emotion has a distinct purpose, urging us to move in specific ways.
From the adrenaline rush of fear to the warmth of love, emotions carry underlying messages and narratives that shape our responses to life’s challenges.
Understanding these messages is crucial for making conscious choices and gaining control over our decisions.
There are 7 steps to learn the language of emotions and become emotionally fluent, so to say…
- Understand what is an emotion.
- Understand how your emotional self speaks.
- Become aware of the sensations that you feel.
- Make space.
- Name the emotion.
- Research similar emotions.
- Keep learning and become fluent.
In this article we will explain step 1 and step 2 in detail, so you can better understand what emotions really are and what are the mechanics behind them.
Once you have this knowledge, it’s up to you to make a habit of slowing down and becoming more aware of your emotional self by observing how you feel without reacting.
What kind of sensations do you feel? Where in your body do you feel them?
And just observe them…
This will help you make space between you and the sensation you are experiencing so you can better name the emotion.
We dive deep into these steps within the podcast. Also, for the practical techniques you can watch the full podcast or join us on the Superhuman Summit 2023, Day 4, 14th of November. For less than 40$ you will have the opportunity to master emotional literacy and also work with over 25 coaches on your other superpowers. Don’t miss this opportunity. Grab your pass while there are still tickets available!
What are Emotions?
Emotions form a vast spectrum, and their definitions can vary from person to person.
Dan Newby introduces three criteria for understanding emotions: narrative, impulse, and purpose.
While cultural nuances may affect actions, reactions, behaviors, and meaning, the fundamental narratives behind emotions remain universal.
To effectively work with emotions, it is essential to reach a consensus on what each emotion signifies individually.
Much like language, discrepancies in emotional labels can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts.
Harmonizing our emotional vocabulary allows for more meaningful and constructive communication.
Emotions are Like Words. Emotional Literacy is Learning to Communicate with Yourself.
We often encounter sensations and experiences for which we lack appropriate labels.
Consider the cozy sensation of a loved one sleeping on your shoulder during a journey or the heartwarming sight of elderly couples holding hands as they walk.
These sensations may elude conventional emotional categorization.
Expanding our emotional vocabulary equips us with the tools to decipher the nuances of our emotional landscape.
Just as a broad vocabulary enhances communication, recognizing a wide range of emotions offers clarity in understanding our emotional selves.
By not having good emotional literacy we often mistake one emotional experience for another, and we are left confused.
Let’s take “Fear” as an example.
Real Fear is a primal emotion that in the modern world is very rare. And widely misunderstood.
That’s why I like to call most of the fear we experience on a day to day life within the modern society, “Fake Fear”.
There is real fear and fake fear.
Real fear emerges in life threatening situations, triggering survival instincts to keep us safe from imminent danger, such as a bear attack.
Conversely, fake fear arises from ego based concerns, often hindering personal growth.
It prevents us from fully experiencing life and can manifest in scenarios like public speaking.
Differentiating between these two types of fear allows us to respond appropriately and live more authentically.
But just because we use the same label of “Fear” to both of these vastly different emotional experiences, we end up stuck or “running away” from situations that might help us grow whenever “Fake Fear” shows up.
“Real fear prevents you from danger to keep you alive, Fake fear prevents you from living to keep you from danger.” ― How to Play The Greater Game of Life
We Don’t Experience Just One Emotion.
In our complex emotional landscape, it is common to experience mixed emotions simultaneously.
While we may be aware of the predominant emotion, our emotional selves often convey messages through multiple sensations.
Just like we don’t communicate with only one word sentences, our emotional self is not communicating with only one emotion.
Each emotion carries a message, just like each word in a sentence.
The real message of the emotional experience is translated only when we translate each emotion that we feel in a particular scenario.
Just like words, sometimes these emotions might look contradictory on first glance, but they provide a broader perspective on our experiences.
Just as combining words like “pretty” and “bad” creates meaning, experiencing for example pride and envy simultaneously, though conflicting, conveys a meaningful message.
But we can decode this message only if we understand what pride and envy are really trying to tell us.
Embracing the complexity of mixed emotions allows for a deeper understanding of our emotional world.
Should Emotional Literacy Be Taught in School?
Emotional literacy should find its place in the educational system.
Incorporating emotional education into the curriculum benefits students by enhancing their overall well being and personal development.
By equipping the younger generation with emotional tools and knowledge, we pave the way for a more emotionally intelligent society.
Emotions are an integral part of the human experience, and it is essential to provide students with the skills to navigate their emotional landscapes effectively.
Should We Listen to Reason or Our Emotions?
There is often a misconception that focusing on emotions can lead to bias or procrastination, especially in scientific contexts.
However, the key lies in finding a balance between logic and emotion.
Logic presents one facet of the truth, while emotions reveal another.
The choice between the two depends on the purpose and intent of our actions.
Both logic and emotion have valuable contributions to make, and integrating them harmoniously can lead to more holistic decision making.
Why Emotional Literacy is so Powerful?
One of the most empowering aspects of emotional literacy is the ability to choose our emotions consciously.
While some emotions may be more impactful and enduring than others, we have the power to influence the emotional landscape.
Acknowledging our emotions and actively selecting them allows for a healthier emotional state.
By becoming aware of the emotions that serve us best in various situations, we gain greater control over our emotional experiences.
What is The Purpose of Sadness?
Sadness, often viewed as an undesirable emotion, serves a crucial purpose in our emotional repertoire.
It signals the loss of something significant and encourages us to reflect on what truly matters.
Instead of avoiding or suppressing sadness, embracing it can lead to personal growth and a deeper understanding of our values.
Sadness prompts us to appreciate what we still have and directs our attention toward areas of genuine importance.
The Harm of Suppressing Your Emotions.
Many individuals attempt to suppress or escape unpleasant emotions due to the discomfort they bring.
However, these emotions carry valuable messages that can guide us toward necessary actions.
By acknowledging and understanding these sensations, we can respond effectively to address their underlying causes.
Avoiding unpleasant emotions merely prolongs their impact and hinders personal growth.
Each emotion you suppress is being stored within your subconscious mind.
Your subconscious mind is responsible for more than 95% of your choices and perspectives in life.
So, by suppressing your emotion you are not really escapiing from the emotion, it’s just momentary escape, you are storing that emotion within your subconscious mind and coloring your whole reality with it.
Then your subconscious mind will orchestrate events by controling the 95% of your unconscious choices that will make you relive the same emotion.
The only way to get rid of an emotion is to embrace it, feel it, and let it go.
How to Become Emotionally Fluent?
Emotional literacy is a stepping stone to emotional fluency.
Similar to language fluency, becoming emotionally fluent means experiencing feelings and emotions as naturally as speaking words.
It allows for greater emotional flexibility and self awareness.
By following the 7 steps that we mentioned in the beginning, over time, just like with language, you will become emotionally fluent without even thinking.
As we progress on this journey, we can decipher the subtle nuances of our emotional experiences and respond more adeptly to life’s challenges.
What are Practical Exercises to Learn The Language of Emotions?
To enhance emotional literacy, consider this practical exercise:
Take 3 moments throughout the day to slow down and become aware of your emotions.
Name each emotion you experience.
Delve deeper by examining whether the labels accurately reflect your emotional state.
This exercise fosters self awareness and emotional clarity, ultimately contributing to emotional literacy.
What You Should Remember?
Emotional literacy is a transformative skill that empowers us to understand the language of emotions, both within ourselves and in others.
By applying the principles of emotional literacy, we gain insight into our emotional landscapes, make more conscious choices, and develop a deeper understanding of the world around us.
As we embark on this journey, we discover the superpower of emotional fluency, allowing us to perceive nuances others may miss.
In the end, emotional literacy enables us to choose the emotions that shape our reality, leading to a more fulfilling and harmonious life.