How can I show emotion?

Aggression is the only way I can show how I feel. Am I meant to be like this?

Not at all, says our elder. You can learn how to identify your emotions and deal with anger.


Dear EWC

I’ve been having problems understanding or sympathizing with other people’s emotions, even my own, and that’s been affecting my life for a long time now. I have to admit, I’m known to have a temper and aggressive outbreaks, but it’s misunderstood. To put it in further detail, I grew up around aggressive people all my life, and I wasn’t taught to deal with crying or laughing, so I taught myself to fake it, to feel normal, or at least try to. But the aggression that I adopted became more of a coping mechanism for me. It’s the only way I can show how I felt. This problem affected my love life, friendships, even caused problems between my family and me, but they don’t know I picked it up from them. I don’t know, this makes me ask myself some questions like what if I was meant to be like this or do I even deserve the things I try to grasp. Can a person like me get those kinds of things? It’s an endless list, and I’ve grown tired of my curiosity eating me alive. I swear I don’t mean the things I do or say, I just don’t know any other way to show it. Do I deserve those things? Or is my fate just written differently in this story?


Grandpa-Matt replies

Many of us have trouble recognizing many emotions that are not strong, powerful ones. We often don’t recognize emotions except those you mentioned, like temper, aggression, or those on the more positive side.

Everything you experience is either an emotion or a mood state. The only exception is if the person is in a coma. Whether you can identify it or put a label on it, the feeling is always there. Sometimes many emotions arrive in your consciousness while confusing us, but one is stronger than the other. 

For example, if an event seems funny and embarrassing simultaneously, we choose our reaction. All emotions can serve a purpose, even when they’re negative. Instead of changing the feelings you experience, consider how you react to them. It’s usually the reactions that create challenges, not the emotions themselves.

Here are some examples of negative emotions: vulnerability, fearfulness, worried, stress, lonely, heartbroken, gloomy, disappointed, hopeless, grieved, unhappy, lost, troubled, resigned, miserable, disgusted, doubtful, nervous, anxious, terrified, panicked, horrified, desperate, confused, stressed, annoyed, frustrated, peeved, contrary, bitter, infuriated, irritated, mad, cheated, vengeful, insulted, dislike, disgust, loathing, disapproving, offended, horrified, uncomfortable, nauseous, disturbed, withdrawal, aversion, anger, helpless, boredom, shame, doubt, envy, frustration, guilt, contempt, irritation, anxiety, powerless, embarrassment, hurt, despair, sadness, agitation, tension, shock, and agitation. 

We can identify many positive emotions, like joy, delight, happiness, exhilaration, gratitude, thankfulness, reverence, serenity, calm, peaceful, acceptance, interest, curiosity, fascination, inspiration, uplifted, optimism, hope, anticipation, approval, pleasure, amusement, lightheartedness pleasure, Enjoyment, smiles, laughter, pride, acceptance, fun, achievement, skills, personal attributes, motivation, joy, contentment accomplishment, fulfilling and confidence. 

I suggest that you repeat each emotion out loud and attempt to connect with each one. You will achieve the experience so that you will get to mean what you say with more expertise.

Often, some activity that you might notice displayed by others creates a mood that you can recognize. They could be Surprise (the good kind!) – a sense of delight when someone brings you unexpected happiness or a situation goes even better than you had hoped. Relief – the feeling of joy you experience when an uncertain situation turns out for the best or a negative outcome is avoided. Another might be Enjoyment – a sense of taking pleasure in what is going on around you, especially in situations like a leisure activity or social gathering.

There are occasions where you could have a mild sense of feeling that whatever is going on doesn’t matter much at all. Perhaps you see a sporting result that has no meaning to you. In such a case, you would register no emotion other than a passionless awareness of what is going on in that sport. Or if someone shows you a baby picture of their relative, that isn’t very meaningful to you. No significant emotion could register in your consciousness.

Because you currently lack the experience of identifying some emotions, it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn the subtle changes in your mind when you get exposed to them. 

There are a couple of items you questioned. “Do I deserve those things or is my fate just written differently in this story?” My answer is that you are a deserving fellow that is a deep thinker, worthy and intelligent, who needs more awareness of the control and power you have over your behavior. 

When upset, anger, or rage shows up, there are better ways to handle things than allowing your brain to take control when the emotional upsets often last longer than you want. There is a technique based on neuroscience that can be very helpful. One helpful article that I suggest to you is called The 90 Second Rule to Control Your Emotions. If you want to know how to be more self-controlled, this article spells out the chemical basis of what goes on when your anger hijacks your mind and suggests the way to handle things.

With anger, what you can do is reset all your expectations for yourself and all the others in your universe. Give everyone a break by:      

  1. Expect that other folks, including your family, cannot read your mind as to what will make you happy;
  2. Expecting your folks will not live up to your rigid expectations of them;
  3. Not being the victim of others when they say or do things contrary to your wishes;
  4. Knowing you are not a victim of circumstances;
  5. Accepting things as they are, instead of getting upset at what shows up; and
  6. Realizing that you can cope with everything that shows up in life because you are a survivor!

I believe that these six things will assist you in becoming more balanced in your life. Test these out for a while and see if they work for you. 

The other question is, are you deserving of what is coming your way? Only you can find the answer. My belief is that you merit, justify and have the right to make the determining choice that you are deserving. Only you have the absolute power of determining your worth. You have the only vote about yourself. We could line up 1,000 people who would declare that you are a valuable, worthy, and lovable human being, and it would make absolutely no difference if you believed that it is untrue. A zero score would go next to your name because you have the only actual vote about you. As the ruler in your own universe, your word is the law! Conversely, if you thought that you were OK, a thousand folks could say that you were a worthless piece of junk in the universe, you would still be OK. Again, you have the only vote about you. 

Article #: 483580

Category: Other

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