“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
“Boys don’t cry,” I’ve been told, but I often have.
Emotions are not something that comes easily to me. I get drained from the intense feeling of sadness, anger, fear or even happiness – whether it be my own or others. I much prefer to live in my world of reason and logic.
It doesn’t mean I’m cold and emotionless. As humans, it is hard to be a high-functioning member of society without emotions; you could pretty much see the effect in some autistics.
The understanding and management of emotions became popular with Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence. In it, he talks about the five key elements:
- Self-Awareness – how much do you recognise how you feel and your emotions.
- Self-Regulation – how much can you control your actions.
- Motivation – how much are you self motivated.
- Empathy – how much ability you have to put yourself into someone else’s position.
- Social Skills – how well you handle social situations and relationships.
These don’t come naturally to many people but are learnable skills. Not quickly learned, but learnable regardless. I certainly have my challenges with empathy and social skills.
We often fail to realise that we are highly emotional beings. Our emotions tend to take priority over logic if we don’t step in on time.
We often see the big things, such as when you blow up at your boss or throw a tantrum when the convenience store clerk asks you to put on a mask. But emotions also show up in the little things like when you procrastinate on an activity or make a simple purchase.
Emotions are in everything that we do.
It’s vital that we learn to recognise our emotions. Not to control it, but to ensure that it doesn’t control us.