Emotional Intelligence – What are Feelings?

Yesterday, I had a nice lunch with Cindy Nelson, owner of Anakh Leadership Coaching.  We talked about our businesses and all the feelings that go along with running a company.  She offered for me to share her blog which I think is insightful, interesting and engaging.  Here it is below:


Emotional Intelligence: What are Feelings?

Feelings are “biological responses to stimuli” according to a recent post in Psychology Today. Feelings can also be described as “intuitive messages telling you that something is out of harmony”. In other words, one minute you are feeling content and the next minute you are feeling super uncomfortable. What happened?

The key to figuring out what happened lies within the feeling itself. There are many “uncomfortable” feelings…anger, sadness, disappointment, envy, worry, etc. In addition to the uncomfortableness of the actual feeling, within it lies the secret to getting yourself back into harmony. Let’s look at an example…

I was walking to my office the other day. The parking lot was extremely slippery. There was a man walking to his car. Just before reaching the car door, he slipped and fell into his car. The feeling…Embarrassment! He knew that I saw him slip. Right away, he started telling me that he knew the parking lot was slippery and that he was taking his time, but he hit a patch of black ice and slipped. This is the way most of us deal with our feelings. We start to explain, justify and rationalize them.

When we experience an uncomfortable feeling, like embarrassment, we can respond in one of two ways. We can defend ourselves with some type of defense mechanism, or we can listen to what the feeling is trying to tell us. We can feel the feeling and quickly take the action necessary to put ourselves back into harmony.

In the example of the slip on the ice, instead of trying to rationalize and explain the slip (a.k.a. why he wasn’t perfect), he could have accepted that of course it’s embarrassing to have someone witness him slip, feel how it feels to be embarrassed, have a good laugh at himself and then be extremely grateful that he didn’t get hurt. Instead of defending himself by explaining the situation away, he could have just given me a little smile, said “Whew!” and went on his merry way.

Can you feel the difference between explaining away the uncomfortable feeling vs. feeling it, accepting it, releasing it and getting back into harmony as a result?
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