5 THINGS I'VE LEARNED ABOUT MYSELF BY BEING EMOTIONALLY AWARE
Over the past week, I've been testing the waters of becoming emotionally aware. It started with small check-ins over the weekend to feel, assess, and address emotions (learn about that weekend challenge and its results in Happiness Abound, The Podcast episodes #135 and #136) and then I progressed to setting emotional intentions (episode #137), and then exploring meditation for emotional ease (episode #138). It has been a learning journey and even in the short few days of intense emotional focus, I've discovered quite a few new things about myself.
1) By reviewing and feeling my emotions at regular intervals, I feel more at peace.
When I allow myself to feel and name my emotions, I'm also allowing myself to let them go. Prior to the weekend challenge, I would go through my day ignoring how I felt and just getting the job done. But when I took a moment to emotionally check-in before starting the next to-do, I found that I had been ignoring my emotions and holding on to them all day. Frustration over a project would go unchecked and leak into my next task and then into my evening, for example. But when I reviewed and allowed myself to feel that frustration briefly, it offered me a peace that I hadn't been getting otherwise.
2) I'm less prone to get angry.
Pent-up emotions being carried with me all day inevitably would lead to me getting angry about something. Little things would set me off because I was on an emotional edge and I didn't even know it! But when I tried to become more emotionally aware, I found that I was less likely to get angry. And bonus, I also was less inclined to let the anger consume me and ruin my day.
3) Driving a car is an emotional experience.
I could be having a great day and then I'd get in my car and it would change instantly. It's almost astonishing how emotionally invested and triggered I am by driving. But by attempting to be more emotionally aware, a few things shifted. I was able to release the emotions of driving while still driving and that gave me more peace. I was able to acknowledge that I was likely getting upset over nothing. And I realized that I am on the road doing my best... it's likely the same for everyone else. Either way, I came to understand that driving a car is an incredibly emotional experience that we go through daily.
4) My body reflects my emotional tension.
Tight shoulders, headaches, jaw pain... these all were physical manifestations of my emotional stress. And by becoming more emotionally aware and allowing myself to meditate for emotional ease, I found my body also beginning to relax. Our bodies can reflect emotional tension (good or bad) and through emotional understanding, we can also shift our bodies.
5) I am much more empathetic and compassionate when I acknowledge my own emotions.
Each of the learnings above is centered on a better experience for myself but one surprising consequence of my own emotional acknowledgment is that I have also become significantly more empathetic to those around me. I am much more willing to see their side and understand that they may be getting caught up in their emotional storm and that it will pass. I find myself more compassionate to the plights others are going through.
A start at emotional awareness.
The benefits of striving for emotional awareness have already greatly impacted my life. (And it has only been a week!) Of course, I cannot say that things are perfect within a week and nor can I say they ever will be. But the dramatic changes I've experienced and the emotional habits I'm seeking to create have made a difference. So if you are open to it, take a start at emotional awareness and see where it takes you. You never know what you might learn about yourself.
Tune into Happiness Abound, The Podcast (Episode 139) for the audio reading of this blog article as well as to hear additional color commentary on the inspiration for this topic, the details of my emotional exploration, and more.