Just like you need to exercise and build your physical muscles in order to perform better, so too do you need to do the same to your emotional muscle.
Humans are very governed by their emotions. Some may like to think that they leave emotion out of certain activities in their life. When it comes to relationships, some will say they do not get “emotionally involved”, they keep their distance, always tucking their emotions deep away so that they cannot get hurt. Others will be devoid of emotion, or so they appear to be when it comes to business deals. “It’s just business. It’s not personal,” is a popular statement heard in the entrepreneurial world. Sometimes their resilience is amazing – but it is healthy resilience?
But, at the end of it all, emotions are what keep us alive. They are there constantly, and while we may think we can push them aside when it suits us, we cannot. Our emotions are subliminally present, and every decision we make is because of how we feel. Sure, there are facts and figures that we take into account, but when it comes to the crunch, emotions will be what ticks the box yes or no.
When we were children, our emotions were worn on our sleeves, in fact, they were plastered all over our bodies. It was very apparent when we were sad, happy, frustrated, angry or any emotion at all. And, we were not afraid to express the emotion.
Sadly, but realistically, as we grew older, we were told to keep our emotions in check. It wasn’t appropriate or acceptable to be crying at the drop of a hat, shouting at someone when things didn’t go our way, or laughing at a person who said or did something ridiculous. We learnt to “hide” our emotions quite well, some better than others.
Building that emotional muscle
As coaches, we are very open to our clients expressing how they feel. We are in a safe place. It is fine to say it like it is. But, out there, in the world we live, play and work in, we need to build our emotional muscle. We need to build up our resilience.
It is not to say that you must train yourself to become robot-like. It is taking control over your own emotions so to build resilience and cope better.
Let’s give you an example.
You are having a brilliant day. Breakfast with the family. Off to work – no real traffic. Boss is in a good mood. Work is on track. All is well. Then, you receive an upsetting phone call that your most longstanding client is pulling out of your contract and moving over to another company. How will you react?
As a kid, you would shout down the phone, slam the phone down, stomp about and possibly kick something. (Oh, don’t we all wish we could do just that at times!). But, alas, it wouldn’t be “acceptable”, and it probably would piss your boss off, and burn many bridges along the way.
Controlling your emotions in all situations is vital… okay, perhaps not all situations. There are most definitely moments when letting your emotions govern your words, body and face is good. Birthdays. Births. Deaths. Good announcements, etc. etc.
With the call from the client situation, you need to be more in control of your words, your reactions and what you will do once you have politely put the phone down. This is all about resilience.
Here are a few tricks you can apply when you hit a situation that looks like it will threaten your poised and controlled emotional state:
1. Assess the situation from all angles
Understand why you are feeling the way you are. If it’s anger – why? Could it be frustration – why? Do you need time to digest? Simply do just that. Leave the phone call. Walk out of the room. Excuse yourself from the situation and go and think about it. Often times, talking to someone will help you to manage the emotions better.
It is a toughie! And one that most are terrible at doing. But, ask yourself, “What good will it do for me to harbour these feelings of anger, disappointment and frustration?” Letting go of a situation you cannot control is quite liberating. Try it – we dare you. Do you have enough resilience to put aside petty feelings and move forward?
3. Accept the emotion and don’t get on board
Building resilience against reacting inappropriately to an emotion you are feeling is all about identifying the emotion first, then not succumbing to it. The little boy that walks into the bathroom and screams into the towel has a purpose. He is releasing the emotion, letting it go, and not letting it take over him.
Is this healthy?
Now, you may be thinking, this holding-back-emotions can’t be healthy, and you would be right. But we are not telling you to hold back your emotions, just to flex them, control them and be aware of the consequences of letting your emotions rule you.
If you think you need some guidance on building resilience to your emotions, reach out to us and talk. We have educated and experienced Mentor Coaches available to help you though. https://www.valueneurs.co.za/our-user-benefits/
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