An Emotional Checkpoint
The emotional checkpoint tool is the fourth tool in the introspection tool kit, and the third tool which forms part of “exploring our inner world” collection. Here are links to the other tools released so far:
What is this tool?
The emotional checkpoint tool is designed to help you develop emotional intelligence. Emotional awareness is the first step to emotional intelligence; it is all about learning to put a name to the emotions we are experiencing, bringing them in to the light of our consciousness, and not allowing them to be something that unconsciously influences how we think, feel and behave.
To become aware of something you first need to understand what it is. An emotion is a psychological and physiological reaction to a perceived stimulus. It is thought that humans developed emotions, much like our ego, to help us thrive and survive.
As we discussed in the earlier tools of I and me and rewriting the script; there is a strong connection between our ego and our emotions. Our foreman can interfere with our perception by whispering spells and feeding us our scripts. Emotions are the bait on the hook of the spell and the script. This is why we need to become aware of what is going on in our internal world.
Why do they taste so good?
The reason that emotions are such attractive bait is that we have evolved them to help us meet our basic survival needs. When we feel particular emotions, our bodies response is baked in to us. The response is made up of five elements that feed in to each other:
- Appraisal – The act of recognising what stimuli is. Like the hot stove.
- Subjective feeling – The actual feeling of an emotion that we can become aware of. Like feeling angry or afraid.
- Action tendency – The urge to do something. Like cry or pull your hand away from something hot.
- Motor activity – The actual act of doing something. Like crying or moving out of the way.
- Physiological – Changes in our body to support all of the above. Like the release of adrenalin when surprised which results in an increased heart rate and heightened senses.
All of these elements are things that we can choose to become aware of, and they can help us identify what emotions we are experiencing. Once we learn to spot our emotions, we can learn to better express them.
Emotions are here to help
Here are some examples of how these elements helped us back in our hunter gatherer days:
Emotions are essential for us to survive and function effectively, but as we have mentioned before, human society has evolved much faster than the physical human body. This factor combined with our egos ability to shape and form our internal world, is the very reason why lots of people struggle to express and deal with their emotions effectively.
Habits, Scripts – Feeling vs Expression
We can easily fall in to destructive emotional habits where we slip unconsciously in to emotion centric scripts. An emotion centric script is one where we hold a belief about how we should think, feel and behave when we feel an emotion. In this tool we will work on becoming aware of our emotions while also challenging what beliefs we hold about our emotions.
The expression of emotion is essential for human survival, but be aware that there is a difference between feeling our emotions and expressing our emotions. When we feel our emotions, we are consumed by them, we live them.
While this may not be a problem if we are for example grieving for the loss of a loved one; it does become a problem if we are habitually filled with anger, rage or anxiety, so much so that it starts to affect our sense of wellbeing and interactions with the world.
Expressing our emotions is an act of acknowledgement and acceptance.
Once we can acknowledge an emotion exists, this allows us to accept the fact it does exist within us, and affords us the freedom of choice about what we do.
Do we want to feel and live out the emotion or simply observe it passing by?
We make our choice by working out what is appropriate for the particular emotion and current situational context.
When we observe our emotions, we are acknowledging their existence and accepting them internally, this gives us the option to express them verbally to other people while not acting them out (a verbal expression rather than a behavioural one).
This is a very powerful strategy when used with emotions such as anger and anxiety; it is so powerful in fact, that we can use it to our advantage (but more on that later).
Emotions are Energy
Our emotions are the currency of our vitality, they underpin compassion and provide us with the motivation to move forward and take action to grow. Unexpressed emotions accumulate like cholesterol in an artery, or you could say, like silt in a river.
While we may think we have swept them away and ignored them, they have actually been buried away in our warehouse, and our foreman will use them against us. Remember the rocks in the backpack? Well, this is them.
When we are not aware of our emotions and we are not able to effectively express them, we become energetically constipated; our river of vitality gets all blocked up, and the ecosystem of our forest which depends on the flow of our vitality to nourish it, starts to lose balance and die.
The external world that we perceive is just a mirror to our internal world.
Once we get our own house in order,
the order of the entire universe will reveal itself to us.
How does it work?
There are three practical insights in this tool. They serve as an order of progression where you need to have started to apply one to unlock the next.
- Developing awareness
- Challenging beliefs
- Taking advantage
As ever, context is key, so it will help you to review all of the insights first so you know the general direction of travel and are familiar with the purpose of each step.
In the next post, we will explore how we develop awareness.
Enjoy, for now