Why does emotion management matter?
Why does knowing how to manage our emotions matter in our marriage?
I recently went live on Facebook to explain why it is important that we learn to manage our emotions
Today’s post covers why managing our emotions is important and how it can transform any relationship in our life.
First I want to point out that today’s topic is on intentional emotion management. Even if we choose not to manage our emotions, that is in itself a passive form of emotion management.
There are two ways that we respond to how we feel in any given moment. We either respond in a healthy way, which leads us to healing and empowerment, or in an unhealthy way that results in unresolved problems and creates a disconnect in our relationships.
Emotion management is simply knowing what we feel, why we feel it, and how to communicate it in a way that is compassionate but does not compromise our core values. It’s releasing judgment about what we should feel and accepting our emotions – good and bad. It’s about balancing emotional clarity in the moment with the vision of our peaceful future.
Learning this skill is very important because managing our emotions is the bridge that can take us from where we are in this moment to the life we desire.
If we choose to not learn and use this skill, we will default to “React Mode” when conflict arises. This means our words, actions, and body language will be guided by what we feel at any moment. And when that feeling has passed, we are left with the embarrassment, shame and regret that comes with reactionatinary decisions. The emotions have passed but the damage remains.
By choosing to get clarity on what we’re feeling and learning how to communicate it effectively, we are entering “Respond Mode.” When we respond to a conflict, we process the emotions and the interaction in a way that leaves room for healing when the disagreement is over. We remain centered in our integrity while honoring our values.
One of the unresolved issues my husband and I have centers around video games for our children. My husband strongly believes that we should not have any video games in our home. It will distract them from developing non-technology interests. I think this is an opportunity for our children to learn how to manage themselves and their time when surrounded by the temptation of an xbox. It will help them to build the habit of resisting the temptation, while we still have the opportunity to supervise and influence them.
There’s no right or wrong in this situation. His viewpoint is valid, but so is mine. And every time it comes up in our discussion, I instantly feel judged. My emotional response is to take his objective opinion about video games and make it a judgement about my choices as a Mom. I internalize and personalize his perspective, which makes me want to react defensively. But having learned to manage my emotions, I know reacting creates more problems than it solves. Instead, I choose to slow down the momentum of my emotions so that we can find a compromise that works for both of us.
So what do we do, in the moment, when a powerful emotion takes over us? How can we transition from reacting to responding? Next week I’ll talk about what we can do in the moment to transition us from emotional overwhelm to emotional clarity.