From the time we are children, we are taught appropriate emotional responses. Depending on how you were reared, you may have been taught to suppress “negative or bad” emotions and hide these away. For instance, boys are often taught they should not cry in front of others, as this is a sign of weakness, while girls are taught that it’s okay to cry anywhere they want, yet, if they get angry, they should suppress this inappropriate emotion.
On the other hand, concerning good emotions, we are taught to embrace these and experience them to the fullest. Happiness, joy, and pleasure are all types of emotions everyone wants to experience. For many of us, if we could have an ideal and perfect world, we would want to experience these feelings all of the time.Yet, there are times when we may even suppress good emotions, even though we really do not want to. For instance, you just found out you are getting a promotion with a huge pay increase. Lucky you! You want to experience the emotions that go along with this great news. Unfortunately, your co-worker just got a phone call letting him or her know a close relative passed away.
Allowing yourself to feel all those good feelings because of your promotion and pay increase in front of someone who has just lost a family member doesn’t seem appropriate. Your co-worker could even view this as a lack of caring and compassion. So, instead, you suppress your excited emotions.
Emotional Intelligence at Work
Yes, it’s socially acceptable to not flaunt good news in the midst of someone who has just experienced a great loss. However, it is vital for you to celebrate your success. Granted, the timing isn’t right, but, once your co-worker is no longer around, there is no reason to not embrace your emotions. This is self-compassion. Don’t flee your happy feelings; hold that joy until later! Their hardship does not invalidate your positive experience.
The same is true when we experience negative emotions. Suppressing them and not dealing with them is unhealthy. Ignoring uncomfortable or unpleasant emotions can cause us to become numb and emotionally unresponsive. Using our example, let’s assume your co-worker suppressed their emotions that accompanied losing a loved one.
They don’t allow themselves to grieve the loss or confront their sadness, hurt, and other feelings they may be experiencing. Instead, they push them down and bottle them up. Months go by, and then something good happens. Rather than allow themselves to feel joy and happiness, their responses are lackluster with few emotions tied to them. Whenever we repress negative emotions, we also repress the ability to experience the positive!
This is one reason it’s important to allow ourselves to feel both good and bad emotions. It is essential to keep in mind that bad emotions are not really bad. This flaw in thinking is just what we’ve been taught since we were children, along with socially acceptable norms, which causes us to tend toward ignoring or suppressing negative feelings.
Being able to process and work through negative feelings helps you grow emotionally and create more room for the positive. Plus, it helps us develop a sense of inner peace within ourselves. When we are at peace, we tend to have less stress, lead happier lives, and achieve greater success.
In order to do this, we must also be willing to acknowledge all of our emotions and feelings and be open to exploring them in greater detail. To find out how to become your own life coach and develop the knowledge, skills, and ability to embrace all of your emotions, whether good or bad, feel free to check out Heartmanity’s programs for growth and transformation. Or contact us at (406) 577-2100 for further details to learn greater emotional intelligence today!