Understanding Your Feelings

Are men really less sensitive to emotions than women are? My work experience convinces me that’s true.

Here is a case in point. One of my male clients reports that he has difficulty understanding what he’s feeling, and consequently can’t express his emotions to his wife. When he’s in a bad mood, all he can say is that he’s frustrated, and his frustration comes out as some form of irritation or anger.

Simply saying that you’re frustrated does not help the other person understand you. The reason is that frustration is not actually an emotion. It’s an experience of something going wrong in one of three ways.

First, you want something and you don’t get it. To put it another way, you get something you really don’t want.

Second, you have a realistic expectation that something good is going to happen, and it does not.

Third, you have a strong desire to communicate something important, and you are prevented from doing so.

Here’s a concept that can help anyone understand his feelings and start to express them effectively. Unpleasant emotions fall into one of three categories: sadness, anger or anxiety. Each of these categories contains a range of intensity from mild to severe. We can express that range of intensity on a scale that looks something like this:

THE ANGER SCALE

1 – Annoyed 2 – Irritated 3 – Upset 4 – Angry 5 – Furious

THE SADNESS SCALE

1 – Feeling Blah 2 – Disappointed 3 – Discouraged 4 – Sad 5 – Depressed

THE ANXIETY SCALE

1 – Concerned 2 – Worried 3 – Frightened 4 – Terrified 5 – Panicked

Lots of other ‘feeling’ words can fill in the spaces on these scales. Words like helpless, hopeless, outraged, freaked out, disheartened, disgusted, rejected, unloved.

So, here’s the question. Do you really, truly want to strengthen your trust connection with your spouse, child or partner? If so, be reassured that you can learn to express your feelings honestly and clearly. And when you start doing that, you will be delighted with the results.

If you’d like to know more, call me at 219-309-3928. I’d be honored to be of service.

Thanks for reading!