Learn to benefit from your collective knowledge and experiences
Emotional wisdom is created by having lived a life of emotional diversity.
“Okay, Dianne – what’s emotional diversity,” I hear you ask – and “How does emotional diversity create emotional wisdom?”
Emotional Diversity – or emodiversity – is a relatively new field of study that refers to the variety and relative abundance of emotions (British Psychological Society, ‘Variety is the Spice of Life…’ – King & Frondozo, link)
Emotional wisdom is that collective knowledge that results from having lived an emotionally diverse life, including learning from past mistakes and taking that which you’ve learned into the future with you.
It is give-and-take – you receive the experiences and decide what serves you the best to remember and use in the future.
Our emotions are continually giving us messages about what feels good and what doesn’t, what feels right and what feels wrong, and what is acceptable and what isn’t. All of these messages help us to determine the ultimate direction we should be going. Our emotions tell us when things are great, or when they need to be improved.
Let’s examine four steps that will help you achieve greater emotional wisdom.
Step 1: Listen
A huge part of developing emotional wisdom is in learning how to listen to and interpret the experiences we have. By listening to your emotions, you can gain an additional understanding of what’s going on inside you.
What’s going on inside you can affect your physical health and mental well-being, so it pays to listen carefully. Doing so will help you manage stress, which can manifest itself in many negative emotions.
Step 2: Trust
Trust in your ability to feel and be felt, and interpret your emotions accurately.
Trust that you can handle whatever emotions come your way – after all, you’re still here, aren’t you?
We are all much more capable than we tend to give ourselves credit for, so while you’re listening to your emotions, trust that what you’re hearing is the truth.
Never second-guess yourself when it comes to feeling. Whatever it is you are feeling is valid and worthy.
Step 3: Reflect
Your ability to look at your emotions realistically in relation to the situations with which they arise is important in developing your emotional wisdom.
Notice I said reflect – not react.
As you are listening to your emotions, logically examine whether your emotion matches the situation that it came from.
Often, we are used to telling ourselves stories regarding our emotions that simply aren’t true – they are just habits. Therefore, honest reflection is a truly valuable skill to possess.
Writing about your emotions in your journal as you reflect upon them is one way to facilitate honest reflection. Keeping your journal close at hand makes it easier to pick it up and start writing as you’re working through your process.
Step 4: Adjust
The ability to adjust your emotions to your present situation is a sign of true emotional wisdom. Like anything, this takes practice, but when you learn to properly interpret the messages your emotions send you, you can adjust as you feel necessary.
True emotional wisdom comes from looking within and listening carefully to what we feel to give us clues that help us live healthier, happier, more productive lives.
One way to help adjust your emotions is to use specific, targeted affirmations to help you deal with them. Denying them or pushing them down doesn’t work for very long – in fact, it can be harmful.
As you look within and listen, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of your emotions and be able to name them. Part of changing aspects of your life and your personality involves naming the aspect you want to recognize, and then determining what you’d like to change.
The change you desire can then begin immediately – by using affirmations that help you deal with your emotions as they are now, and as you want them to be in the future.
Read the affirmations below aloud and note in your journal which ones feel natural and easy, and which ones bring up resistance, fear, or a challenge for you. Choose one that feels easy, and one that feels more challenging, and commit to working with them both for the next 30 days.
Note in your journal when you start this specific affirmation practice and note your feelings as the days and weeks pass. Begin your day with your chosen affirmations, repeat them aloud a few times during the day, and then right before you rest at night.
You deserve to commit time and energy to the betterment of your perfectly imperfect human self – emotions and all. Start today to invest in yourself so that you can reap the dividends in the future.
Affirmations to Support Your Pursuit of Emotional Wisdom
I give myself permission to feel my emotions as they come.
My feelings do not define or control me, but I accept them.
Awareness of my emotions is the greatest gift I have.
I can grow through difficult emotions.
I am worthy of respect and love even though I struggle with my emotions.
My emotions do not own me, I am in charge.
I am strong enough to hold every emotion I feel.
I have the strength to overcome.