Guest Post: By Joanna Rogowska
I am 32 years old, and as weird as it might sound, I have recently discovered that I have emotions.
This discovery has changed my life. It sent me on a journey to find a way to live my life more fully and at peace with myself.
I am still learning how to deal with my emotions. There are still times when they get the best of me. But now, as I am much more prepared for times of crisis, I do not let them take over.
Let me tell you a story about one of those moments when things got a bit much and I had to put my newly acquired emotion management skills to use.
Only three more pages left in the report and I can get started with my presentation for the project review meeting.
71 emails in my Inbox. When will I ever go through them? Ok, focus. One thing at a time. But I really need to get a cup of coffee first.
Coffee: check. Let’s get going. Report. I wonder if there is a new sale on my favorite online store… Report! Why can’t I focus? Others seem to be typing away and really getting on with their work. Why can’t I? Why do I have to be so weak?
I think I might still have some chocolate left in my desk drawer. No! Be strong! I promised myself I will cut down on carbs.
How on earth did this chocolate bar find itself in my hand and why is it unwrapped?
Come on Julia. Get yourself together and stop being all over the place.
Time out. Breathe. Put away the chocolate bar. Get your Feeling Magnets. Find an empty room. Check in with your feelings.
Feeling Magnets in hand: how do I feel, how do I feel… such a difficult question.
Annoyed and Frustrated. ANGRY with myself, because I cannot focus and get stuff done.
Frantic, Tense and Restless. That’s for sure. I created a “to do” list, but things keep popping up and getting in my way.
Panicked, and overwhelmed. AFRAID. Yeah, that’s it! Afraid. And it’s ok to feel afraid. It doesn’t mean I’m weak. I have so much to do and I am worried there is no way I will be able to do everything on time. So it makes sense to feel this way.
Lonely. Lonely? Where did that come from?
Eager and Motivated. Ok, that’s a good sign. It’s not all bad.
I feel a little bit better now. Less stressed, panicked. Still a bit overwhelmed but feeling calm and capable that I will figure this out.
Lonely. What is going on in my life right now that might make me feel lonely? I am constantly surrounded with people, have lunches, dinners, drinks. But even when I am socializing, I still keep checking messages on my phone. I have been focusing on my work so much that I forgot about the people close to me.
Afraid. Why? I remember reading somewhere: Fear tells us that there is a danger lurking somewhere. It comes up when we believe that something bad is going to happen and we anticipate criticism, disapproval or rejection. And it makes us want to escape.
Last time when I had to write a similar report, I didn’t have time to do research properly and it was incomplete. In result, my boss hated it. I felt like an idiot and I had to spend the whole weekend fixing it. I promised myself then never to allow this to happen again.
Ok, let me look at the facts.
This time I have collected all the necessary information. Can I do anything else? I could review the latest financial statements to ensure I have the full picture.
Other than that, I feel confident that I can do this. Motivated, capable, focused and… centered.
This was one of those typical mornings. I was all over the place, frustrated with myself for not being able to focus and do my job. For a long time, in situations like this, I was completely lost and confused. I have always seen myself as a “rational” person and whenever I would act in a way I couldn’t understand, I would either blame external factors (stupid boss / work colleague / process / shop assistant / weather…) or I would come to a conclusion that there is something fundamentally wrong with me.
I simply had no idea what to do with my emotions. Whenever things would get a bit much, I would panic or distract myself with food, wine and shopping. I didn’t want to know anything about all these feelings. Now, when I feel overwhelmed and lost, I don’t fight it anymore. I allow myself to really feel and accept my emotions, no matter how uncomfortable they are. And then, I try to hear them out.
That day, checking in with my emotions not only helped me to get them under control, but also motivated me to do my job properly. Once I accepted my feelings, my fear pushed me to check the latest financial results, which gave me crucial information for my presentation. In the end, my boss was impressed and at the end of it all I felt proud, fulfilled and respected.
My emotions also reminded me of what is important to me. My partner and my friends. I decided to spend more quality time with my closest ones.
From the moment I started to pay attention to my emotions, I became a much more balanced person. I only wish I could have discovered my emotions sooner.
To learn more about Feeling Magnets and how they can help you identify your emotions, please visit FeelingMagnets.com.
To learn why you are in your 30s, 40s, 50s or 60s without knowing your emotions, please visit EmotionalNeglect.com.