Featured

Innovative Techniques for Learning Emotional Intelligence

EQnow logo. EQnow is a site dedicated to innovating the way we learn Emotional Intelligence.
Innovative Techniques for Learning Emotional Intelligence

Put simply, EQ is the awareness and control of emotions. It has been found to determine overall life fulfillment. So learning EQ is crucial for everyone. In this post, I tell you the current state of EQ education, why it isn’t working and how EQnow is revolutionizing the way we learn and increase emotional intelligence.

Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is considered a predicator of success, in both life and work. Introduced in the 90’s, EQ makes so much sense it’s kinda crazy we weren’t focused on it before. Read more about the benefits here.

EQ is important now more than ever. And while research is catching up, we have another, more pressing issue to focus on: How do we actually learn EQ? And then after we learn it, how do we incorporate it into our lives?

Current State of Emotional Intelligence

There aren’t many learning resources available:

  • Therapeutic practices like CBT aren’t easily accessible or feasible with everyday use. (Think of those thought journals everyone sells but the large majority of buyers ditch after a couple weeks.)
  • Self-help and business books (while likely written with good intentions) don’t give any lasting or long term success. As Daniel Kahneman explains inThinking, Fast and Slow, “Books available to us are tailored to reassure messages of illusion to us.”
  • Recycles inspiration quotes create a momentary positive outlook but fall flat. Recycled so many times they start to lose meanings. They don’t tell us anything useful like how to do something. Yeah, yeah, love yourself.. but how?
  • Products marketed to help are only helping opportunists and capitalism. Self-help has become a booming industry and marketplace, but people are still lost.
  • A lot of experts or those offering help don’t know how to. They are trying but their applications are falling short.

Desired, Future-state of Emotional Intelligence

While beneficial, CBT and therapeutic techniques aren’t practical. They don’t easily incorporate into our current, fast paced lives. Business books and quotes aren’t helping either. We need something that we can apply and develop. We need something that will help us incorporate EQ into our lives.

Thats where EQnow comes in. After decades of research, experimentation and trial and error we have created a modern day, comprehensive resource for learning EQ. With EQnow you will not only learn EQ you will incorporate EQ into your life and create a lasting and positive impact.

How EQnow works

The idea is simple. Learning EQ requires concentration on two processes:

  1. Learn the vocabulary (EQnow Glossary of terms here.)
  2. Practice and change habits

Learn the Vocabulary of Emotional Intelligence

Think of it, anyone can critique food, but there are professional food critiques. The differentiation is due to the professionals ability to put their pallet into words. They’ve developed a certain vocabulary. Learning the vocabulary around EQ is based on the same reasoning.

We need to learn the vocabulary to define our experiences, thoughts and emotions. Defining them is part of the process of being aware of them. When we are aware of our thoughts and emotions we are able to then determine how to effectively manage and control them. We are able to communicate what we are thinking and feeling to ourselves and others.

Practice and Change Habits for Increased Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence also involved emotional regulation, response and control. This will likely involve ditching some bad habits. And as the saying goes, old habits die hard.But don’t fret!

EQnow has created repeatable daily habits that can be practiced anywhere by anyone to help them ditch bad habits. We will guide you and help with this very changeling and rewarding process.

Get Started Now

No matter where you are starting, you can increase your EQ. You can have a better, more meaningful life. Start now by learning the vocabulary and incorporating positive EQ habits.

❤️ Did you enjoy this article?

If you found this content useful, consider showing appreciation by buying me a coffee using the button below 👇. Thank you for your support!

Buy Me A Coffee

Featured

Why EQ Is Important… Now More Than Ever

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a term that is often heard but rarely understood. Put simply, EQ is the ability to be aware of and to control feelings and emotions. A more detailed description would mention a full range of abilities regarding emotions including: awareness, control and management. It would not be complete without reference to our ability to relate to and have empathy for others.

EQ contributes to how we handle ourselves. It involves understanding what we are feeling and why we are feeling it. It determines how we cope, express ourselves, develop & maintain friendships and perceive the world around us. It can be the difference between finding fulfillment and feeling hopeless. It is considered a predicator of success in life and work.

It doesn’t take much to find indicators that EQ is needed more now than ever. Emotions are getting out of control in dangerous ways. New terms such as “Ken” and “Karen” define those with low EQ who flip out in the public arena. At the time of writing, 20 people a minute are physically abused by an emotionally ignorant partner. The drug and overdose epidemic, skyrocketing depression, anxiety and suicide rates – all results of poor emotional management.

Whatever their upbringing, background or story, it is important for every person to start learning about their emotions and to focus on emotional management and development.

EQ is inviting us to start the conversation. To learn about our emotions and to understand the inner-working of our minds. To reflect on our thoughts, and to make sure we are utilizing them to our advantage so we can live a fulfilling and successful life.

With emotional intelligences one would hope that abusers would learn that there is no justification for their actions. However, the biggest impacts lies in EQs ability to empower the victims and survivors of abuse so that they may reclaim their right to be who they are and live comfortably without fear. To let a bullied school child know they are not alone. To help those who are sad or silently suffering and let them know they are not alone either.

EQ will guide and introduce us not only to ourselves but to one another. It will give us the courage to say, “hey, I don’t know what you are going through but I can understand what it is like to feel like crap.” To find unity and togetherness in a world where we are so easily turned against each other. To find a semblance of hope in an otherwise seemingly hopeless situation and to retain clarity in an uncontrollable and unpredictable world.

To learn and understand emotions we need to know the vocabulary around them. For the EQ glossary of terms click here.

References: https://ncadv.org/statistics

❤️ Did you enjoy this article?

If you found this content useful, consider showing appreciation by buying me a coffee
using the button below 👇

Buy Me A Coffee

Loading…

Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.

The Art of Non-Engagement

Narcissists, a pushy salesman, an ex who won’t go away, the stranger lacking social skills, a relative who asks invasive questions, these types of characters are everywhere. 

And if you aren’t careful, the next thing you know you could find yourself upset, stressed, in a conversion you don’t want to be in, or signing up for a yearly subscription you don’t need. 

So you need to learn the best way to manage invasive people. You need to learn the art of non-engagement. 

Here we will discuss the art of non-engagement, what it is, who it’s for, the benefits of non-engagement, how it works, why we need it and some examples.

Let’s. Go!

What is Non-Engagement

Simply put, Non-engagement is when you do not engage, meaning you do not take part or you withdraw. 

In this article, non-engagement is when you choose not to take part in a conversation or activity that you don’t want to be in (that overrides your boundaries). 

Who Non-Engagement is For

Non-engagement is for anyone who wants to establish boundaries, find their personal power and be respected.

If you’ve ever dealt with a narcissist, signed up for something you didn’t want, got suckered into buying something you didn’t want or if you get upset/stressed when people ask you invasive questions about your life, it’s definitely for you.

Benefits of Non-Engagement 

Ideally everyone would learn to respect others, but unfortunately that’s not the case. And how other people act is outside of our control. So we need to focus on what we can control: our response to others. 

When we do not engage with those who are trying to push our boundaries and when we act assertively, we reduce stress and anxiety. We show ourselves that we hold power and that other people do not have power over us. 

So instead of being upset and thinking about how the invasive relative kept bringing up a topic of conversation that was upsetting. You will think about how proud you are that you asserted your boundaries. Or you may not be thinking about the situation at all because you forgot about it right after it happened. 

How Non-Engagement Works 

When we establish boundaries we let others know what we will and won’t accept. So when we say “no” we show someone we do not accept their invitation or what they are offering. 

Unfortunately, some people do not accept boundaries or they think they can change someone’s boundaries. So when you say “no” they think they can turn the no to a yes with coercion.

This can be confusing and stressful and depending on how much power you give others, it can put you on edge and feel like you are misunderstood and not respected. 

So you might respond aggressively or you may get disheartened and shut down. And the next thing you know you are ruminating over the conversation with your relative, venting to a friend about the ex who won’t leave you alone or stressing over how you’re going to fit the yearly subscription you were coerced into buying into your budget. 

When you practice non-engagement you assert your power and enforce your boundary in a non-stressful way. You reduce the effect other people have on you, and say, “this is what I will accept, and this is how I will be treated.” You show yourself that you are worthy and you demand respect assertively. 

So instead of feeling upset that someone yet again asked when you are having kids, you might forget they asked immediately after they asked it, because their question didn’t affect you and was inconsequential.  

Examples of Non-Engagement 

Example #1: The cart attendant at the mall asks if you want a free sample. You say, “no,” and continue walking. The attendant follow you and continues to ask you to take a sample. You keep walking without breaking your stride.

Example #2: A relative asks you if you are still single. You say, “yes.” They talk about fake statistics like it being more likely for a woman to be involved in a terrorist attack than get married past 30. You say, “It was nice seeing you,” and walk away. 

Example #3: An ex texts you and asks if you want to meet up for coffee. You say you need space. Your ex replies that they think you are being unfair. You leave them on read.

Why we Need Non-Engagement 

Non engagement is essential for your mental health. 

It is about you taking back your power. And it is about being assertive and strategically asserting boundaries with minimal energy and stress. 

When you were a kid you were told to listen to adults and the adults had all the power. When you got older the power dynamic shifts but you may get stuck thinking others still have power over you.

With non-engagement you remind yourself and others that you have an equal footing and that they do not control the conversation or your interaction with them.

So when a salesperson, or an ex, or a relative tries to engage you in a conversation that you do not want to be in, you take back your power and remove yourself from the conversation by not engaging.

QQ People talk about narcissists in a way that gives them power. But the narcissist only has the power you give them and when you choose not to engage, you take that power away. 

You assert your boundary and you take power away from the person who is disrespecting your boundary in the quickest, low energy way.

Real Life Examples 

Pushy Cashier

Pushy cashiers asking me to sign up for a credit card used to irk me. I would say “no” to signing up for the card. The cashier would then list off the “benefits” and continue to ask me to sign up while I would give excuses like: “I don’t want the card” or “the APR is really high.”

I would leave the store feeling uncomfortable and flustered. Now, I just say “no” one time and then stand quietly as I wait to finish the transaction. Sometimes the cashier will continue to talk about the card and I simply don’t engage.

Aggressive Ex

After breaking it off with someone, I asked for space. He responded by saying he wanted to be friends. I asked for space again. He asked if we could meet and talk in person. I asked for space again. He attacked me and said I was mean and blamed him for everything. I took space by choosing to no longer engage in the conversation. 

Invasive Strangers

I would find myself in conversations during cocktail parties with strangers asking me when I am having kids. After I said I was not having children they would protest by telling me I might change my mind or that they think I was being selfish. This used to upset me and I would sometimes think about it days afterward. Now, instead of engaging, I say “OK” and stand silently until the conversation topic changes.

Conclusion

Non-engagement is an act of self love that will resonate in every area of your life. It’s a total power move. 

When you learn and introduce this skill into your everyday life you will not only show yourself but you will also show others how you demand to be treated in an assertive and polite way. 

You take an active, powerful role in your life and you make the statement that you will decide what conversation you will engage in.

It may feel uncomfortable to practice non-engagement at first. Simply remind yourself that you are not ignoring someone, you are reasserting your boundaries in a powerful way.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Are You Brave Enough to Get Attached?

Non-attachment is currently trending on the self-help circuit.

And while non-attachment is an important concept that needs to be explored, what is currently being advocated isn’t actually “non-attachment,” it’s toxic non-attachment.

Because self-help gurus aren’t teaching their followers about non-attachment, they are telling their followers to ignore their humanness and it’s toxic as fuck.

While it sounds great to never feel hurt, you’re not a fucking robot.

So if you follow the toxic advice, you’re not only missing out on learning a worth while concept, you’re also creating unhealthy thought habits that are going to keep you stuck and make you miserable and lonely.

So let’s dissect the current non-attachment, bullshit trend, why it’s toxic as fuck and then go into some examples of healthy attachment so you can develop a healthy attachment style and create a happier life with strong connections.

What is Attachment?

Humans are social creatures, and we thrive when we have a pack. In that pack we connect with other people (we attach). Attachment theory is an area of study that focused on the way we attach.

There are three main types of attachment:

Secure. You maintain your selfhood while also allowing yourself to be emotionally vulnerable and connect with others.

Anxious. You are nervous in relationships, think they will fail and feel you don’t know where you stand with others.

Avoidant. You are nervous about getting hurt or attached so you sabotage relationships and push connections away.

What is Non-Attachment

Non-attachment is the ability to accept things as they are, not how you wish they could or think they “should” be. Non-attachment is the ability to appreciate situations, people and things but not rely your identity or happiness on them.

So while that new car/house/relationship is making you happy, you can be happy without it, too.

Non-attachment is the acknowledgement that you are a singular being who can function on your own while acknowledging that support and help from others makes like happier and easier.

So while you may enjoy being independent and doing certain things on your own, you also ask for help when you need it.

The Toxic Non-Attachment Trend

The current, toxic trend is to not get “attached.” To not be upset if someone ghosts or leaves, and to be OK no matter what happens.

It might seem cool and tough to be nonchalant, but it’s fucking extreme and stupid. Because you’re not a robot. You will get attached to people and relationships.

If you deny this part of your humanness it will cause you pain and it’s going to make your life suck. Because to not attach means you have no emotion.

Yeah, it won’t hurt when someone leaves, but you won’t enjoy them when they are around anyway. It’s like you’re already dead… emotionally dead that is… a.k.a. you’re going to get fucking depressed.

When is Attachment Problematic?

When it goes to extremes.

You have been surrounded by toxic attachment your entire life. Namely, that you need to find “the one” to be “complete.”

This is a problematic attachment because it’s extreme and tells us we aren’t whole without someone else. It forces us to search for happiness outside of ourselves, give people power over us and to become dependent on things outside of our control.

The toxic non-attachment trend is an opposite extreme and tells us that we don’t need anyone. It’s just a problematic.

How to Spot Problematic Attachment?

To find out if you are practicing problematic attachment, look for extremes.

Examples of Problematic Attachment:

  • My partner is my everything I would be nothing without them.
  • I don’t need anyone or anything. My partner could walk out of my life right now and I would be completely fine.
  • If I just get a newer car then people will like me better.

Examples of Healthy Attachment:

  • My brother does all of the cable and IT hook-ups in my house. I depend on him for tech advice and if he wasn’t around I would have to learn or find someone else to help.
  • Whenever I have trouble making a decision I ask my friends for their perspective, but at the end of the day I make the decision that I feel is best for me.
  • My partner treats me well and I love spending time with them. I know how to be happy without them but I do love when they are around.

Real Life Example of Healthy Non-Attachment

Recently I was seeing someone. We had fun; he made me laugh. I got attached.

Sadly, it didn’t work out. Not seeing him anymore sucks. Even though I am sad and think about him from time-to-time I am happy we met and had a great time together. I learned a lot of valuable lessons. 

So while I miss him and smile thinking of the fun we had (because I was attached), I also acknowledge that it wasn’t a good fit.

Final Note on Attachment

The people who advocate for toxic non-attachment are unaware of the toxicity and may have an avoidant attachment style. Whatever the case, they are operating out of extremes and fear of being hurt.

Because with attachment can come pain and hurt. But it’s what we do with that hurt that matters. Lying ourselves and saying we don’t have hurt at all (which is what the non-attachment trend is advocating) is just going to limit you and keep you in that hurt space longer.

But then we practice non-attachment in a healthy way, we allow ourselves to experience life, we grow and we open ourselves up to love.

In the title of this article, I asked if you were brave enough to get attached. You are brave enough.

So the real question is: will you choose to be brave? Will you decide to give yourself the best life full of complexities and ups and downs? Will you allow yourself to feel, live, love and grow?

I really hope you do.

The Power of Words

Fuck. Cunt. Bitch. Asshole. One of these words is a medical term describing part of the human body. One is a name for a female dog. Another has many positive connotations in Australia. And one is just plain fun to say sometimes. 

There are studies floating around the internet stating that intelligent people curse more. Is it that intelligent people are more likely to curse? Or is it that they don’t give words power, so curse words do not seem as offensive? 

Let’s break this down…

Words are how we communicate. And words can take on many meanings. What we need to keep in the forefront of our mind is that words only have the power we give them. Sounds simple, but it can be really tough to remember. 

We’ve been taught early on to give power to words. Remember H-E-double hockey sticks. Saying a word (hell) could get us in trouble—depending on your parents. Remember the cool kids whose parents would let you curse in the house? It just felt so freeing. 

While we were being taught to sensor ourselves, we were also being taught to give power to words. This lesson was hard learned, and it is hard to get rid of. But we need to remove this limiting thought from our core beliefs

via GIPHY

Here’s why:

When we take power away from words, we free up energy and mental mind space. We take the words at face value and we put ourselves in the best position to be responsive, not reactive. To defend and not get defensive.

Giving power to other people’s words may make us upset. 

When we focus our energy towards understanding the intent of words instead of giving the words power, our reaction switches from feeling upset (or angry) if someone calls us something mean to wondering why a mean thing was said to begin with. Let’s go into an example:

Jack and Rose are having a disagreement. Jack calls Rose a vulgar name. Rose instantly gets upset because the vulgar name that Jack used was very hurtful to her. Rose is giving Jack’s words power and in return it upset her. If Rose is upset, she can lose track of why the disagreement began. 

Instead, if Rose didn’t give Jack’s words power, Rose will wonder why Jack resorted to calling her a vulgar name. She would also maintain focus on the origin of the disagreement. 

Rose’s energy has shifted from being upset to now wanting clarity and to understand her current relationship with Jack. She can then focus on her boundaries and how she wants to be treated. 

By not giving power to Jack’s words, Rose is focusing on the real matter here— does she want to have a relationship with someone who calls her vulgar words when they fight? Is it healthy to not be able to have a disagreement without being called a vulgar name? 

Not giving power to words will help us uncover the intentions behind them (an help us empower ourselves). 

When I said vulgar name in the scenario above, you most likely assumed Jack called Rose a bitch, or stupid, or something typically characterized as mean. However, for all we know, Jack could have called Rose a notebook. 

Seems weird, but for all we know Rose could give the word notebook a lot of power. Let’s say, in her hometown of St. Olaf being called a notebook was very vulgar.  Jack could know this, and he could have chosen this word in particular to hurt Rose as much as possible. Or poor Jack could not have known this and he could have never meant to hurt Rose or make her upset. 

When we do not give words power, we can focus on the intention behind the words. 

If, instead of getting upset by the “vulgar term”, Rose asked Jack why he called her something intending to hurt her, Jack will explain his thoughts. Maybe he did not mean to intentionally hurt Rose and agrees to not do it again—they just effectively communicated, and their relationship gets closer. 

Maybe Jack was upset because of something Rose did a couple of weeks ago and said it to intentionally upset her. Here, Jack needs to work on communication and emotional management—the relationship has room for improvement. 

Or Maybe Jack said it just to be mean because he is in a bad mood and wanted Rose to be in a bad mood too–relationship and Jack’s communication skills need work. Rose can respond accordingly.

In closing…

What were Jack and Rose even talking about when this happened? Maybe they were trying to resolve something, but then one word (the vulgar term) put all progress to a halt. If Rose did not allow Jack’s words to have power, this interaction could have gone differently. 

This isn’t to say we should ignore mean or hurtful words that people say. It is to say that, instead of internalizing or responding with emotions, we can clear our minds and focus on the intention behind the words. 

This is also true for positive words. Sometimes people are genuinely being nice. Other times they may have an ulterior motive. When we do not give power to words we can focus on the message behind the words and decide the best route for us. 

On the opposite end, we should also consider the power of our words. While we give power to the words of others, others are giving power to our words as well.

Sometimes we do not realize just how powerful our words are. While we cannot control how others perceive what we say, we can be diligent in what we choose to say.

Photo by Ravi Kant 

Viewing Emotions on a Spectrum Will Improve Your Mental Health. Here’s How

  • We learn to view and label emotions as “good” and “bad”. Happiness being good, anger being bad, etc.
  • Labeling emotions as “good” and “bad” is limiting and damaging to our mental health
  • Emotions are meant to serve us but when we label them we become prisoners to them
  • We need to see emotions on a spectrum if we want to increase our emotional wellbeing
  • It’s not the emotion, it’s how we manage the emotion that matters.

Emotional Spectrum

We need to look at emotions differently if we want to be happy. Not on a scale of good or bad, but by the degree to which they serve us. Because life is complex, each emotion serves us differently in different situations.

Is being angry going to serve you? Well, that depends. Say you are angry because someone cut you off in traffic. Did that anger lead you to screaming, yelling, honking the horn and getting frustrated? Is your heart racing? Do you feel stressed? Are you now irritated and annoyed the rest of the day?

In that case, no, anger will not serve you. Because you are not managing the anger, the anger is overtaking you and negatively impacting your entire day.

However, if you acknowledge the anger for what it is, a secondary emotion to sadness. And that you are actually sad to be cut off because you perceive that as a slight against you. Then you can work through the emotion and use it to contribute to your growth.  

Related article: 5 Steps to Effective Anger Management

Here, anger is likely showing you that you are taking things personally and you are assuming negative intent: “that mother fucker cut me off on purpose!!!”

Seeing anger differently will help you realize it’s not personal, assume positive intent, focus on what you can control and move about the rest of your day in a better emotional state. This rethinking and reworking of how you manage the emotion will help you better manage anger in every area of your life.

Emotional Spectrum Equals Emotional Management

The difference isn’t the situation, it’s how we manage the emotions. Which leads to the universal truth every human needs to know if they want to be happy: it’s not the emotions, it’s how we respond and manage the emotions that matters.

You can be angry all you want. It’s what you do with the anger that impacts your life and wellbeing.

Do you think Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was angry the people he loved were being harassed and murdered for the color of their skin? It seems logical he would be. But instead of using that anger to lash out or attack the attackers back, he advocated for peaceful protests.

He channeled his anger into love and peace. With that he made positive changes for the civil rights movement. Advocating for love and peace was so effective, the FBI listed him on their most wanted list and he was subject to investigation as a threat to the current political agendas. (Sidebar: how fucking baller is that!)

What Does the Emotional Spectrum Look like?

Viewing emotions on a spectrum looks like you NOT labeling an emotion as “bad” or “good” and allowing the emotion to be. It exists. It is acknowledging the emotion is present and being curious why you the emotion is present and the cause of its intensity.

So instead of thinking, “ugh, fuck that dude who just cut me off,” while beeping and screaming with your heart racing and you scare the other passengers in the car. It would look like, “damn, that dude cut me off and now I am feeling angry. Why am I feeling so angry?”

You’re allowed to think, “I’m feeling angry because dude’s inconsiderate as fuck and fuck him.”

But with that thought, you can conclude that the person who cut you off is rude and you no longer need to deal with them, so life moves on. Or you can go further and think maybe dude didn’t see you or was being absent minded and that happens to the best of us.

A Note From Lyndsey

The goal here is to stop limiting yourself. To stop getting in the way of your own happiness. And to do that you need to break the habit of labeling emotions as “good” and “bad”.

You can start by reflecting on previous times you labeled emotions and rework the situation. How would the situation be different if you didn’t label the emotion? Once you put this in to practice, you will notice when you are labeling emotions in real time and rework your thoughts.

Remember, improving your mental and emotional wellbeing looks like repetition and consistency. It isn’t a straight line, so sometimes you may take a step back, and that’s OK!

Photo by tao he

The Cost of Not Knowing What You Want

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they question what they want. We typically call this a “midlife” or “quarter-life” or existential” crisis. And while it may be funny to laugh and say “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing”, we need to focus more on figuring what we want. Because the cost of not knowing what you want is extremely high.

And when I say costs, I don’t just mean monetary costs; I mean opportunity and others. So we need to get into the habit of focusing on and questioning what we want daily.  

In this article we are going to discuss: 3 reasons why you might not know what you want; 7 costs of not knowing what you want; and how to create the healthy habit of figuring out and focusing on what you want so you can live a happy a fulfilling life.

Why You Don’t Know What You Want

Many people don’t know what they want because they never thought about it. Or they never even thought to think about it. Or they have been taught to focus on others and what other people what so they may have never even considered it.

Instances where we are encouraged to consider what other people want instead of ourselves can fly under the radar as “normal” parts of the human experience but I can assure you there is nothing “normal” about it.

1.Cultural Influences

Articles like “What Women Want” and “What Men Want” are written for readers who want to attract a specific sex. It overgeneralizes and puts people into categories which is unproductive. Because not all women want the same thing (even though we are being told that we do).

Related Podcast: Overgeneralization & Mindsets – 67

Not just articles, media, news, social media, tv and movies that depict the “perfect” life influence our wants and can make us think we want what we see even if it is unobtainable or not what we really want.

2. Family

It has been normalized that parents mold their children into “mini-me” and can tell their children the direction their life should take. Parents may pressure their children to follow a specific career path or may have tell their children to be a doctor or lawyer because that’s what they wanted.

Or maybe children are shamed by family for focusing on what they want with statements such as, “I sacrificed for you so I want you to be a doctor,” or “You need to give me a grand baby”. Children may also have been told to listen and not ask: “you are to be seen, not heard,” or told what they wanted by projection.

3. Capitalism

Ahh, the C word. When revenue is on the line it is imperative for companies to make sure we want what they offer. So not only do we have cultural influences like magazine articles and television shows, we also have companies with billion dollar marketing budgets telling us what we want.

I can’t tell you how many times I have been told that I (as a white female) want a pumpkin latte. Fuck that. No judgement, but pumpkin lattes taste like shit (I don’t need to try one—I just know). I want black coffee, peace and tranquility. Thanks! 😘

Not Knowing What You Want Is Costing You

Not knowing what you want can negatively impact every aspect of your life including:

1. Feeling Stuck

When you don’t focus on or consider what you want, you hinder yourself and end up getting stuck. Because if you aren’t focused on what you want, then you have no direction. And with that lack of direction, you are likely to focus on what someone else or society wants. That kind of focus will not give you the internal motivation or drive you need to be successful. You are setting yourself up for failure.

2. Lost Opportunities

When you don’t know what you want, you can get stuck and become inactive. No decision is a decision and you might have opportunities pass you by because you are not sure you want them. Or you may reject the desire for them because you have been rejecting the notion you need to focus on what you want.  

3. Anxiety

Focusing on other people’s needs and not your own will create anxiety. Because you cannot control what other people think or feel. So one day someone may want something and the next they won’t. You’ll never know where you stand and constantly feel anxious and on edge.

Related article: Stoicism and the Trichotomy of Control: Why You Need to Know What It Is and How It Changed My Life!

4. Expensive

Not knowing what you want is expensive. Because if you don’t know what you want you can get stuck in a routine you don’t want to be in. You could drive a car you don’t like but you purchased because you thought you should. You could even have a family or children that you weren’t sure you wanted but had because you felt you should or were pressured.

These things have high financial tolls. Not to mention all the little things you buy but don’t actually want. All the small purchases add up and then end up sitting in the closet. Oh look now here’s you paying for a junk removal company to come haul off the shit you didn’t want.

5. Depression.

If a child was told they needed to be a doctor. And then that child spent most of their life in school studying to do just that. Then that child will become depressed when they realize they want to be a dancer or a musician. That child may watch a dancer and think “why not me?”

The depression also hits when we realize we are gravitating away from who we naturally are—our true inner being. When we gravitate away from our natural being, we cling onto external validation and external things to make us happy like “retail therapy” (ugh). But retail therapy is fleeting and will end up just making you feel worse in the end.

6. Identity Crisis

You may end up living a life that is a combination of what cultural narratives, family, and friends have told you want and not what you actually want. This will lead to a disconnect and a feeling of loneliness and hopelessness. You are lonely because you lost yourself.

7. Low Confidence and Lack of Empowerment

If you don’t focus on what you want, you will lose confidence in your decision making. This will lead to an unhealthy reliance on asking others for opinions and suggestions for how to handle everyday situations. The inability to decide will leave you with a lack of confidence and empowerment.

How to Figure Out What You Want

One day you may have the midlife or quarter-life crisis and question, “how did I get here?” You got to where you are by making decisions. Decision that were driven by what you thought you wanted.

So instead of allowing things to build up, and before you get completely lost start the daily habit of focusing on what you want.

For example, if you are driving to the beach for the weekend instead of thinking, “I don’t want to sit in traffic.” Think, “I want to get there safe and quickly.”

Or if you go on a date, you can think you want to have a connection with the person you are meeting, not that you don’t want them to be boring.

Or if you plan an event, instead of thinking that you don’t want it to rain, think that you want it to be a beautiful and sunny day.

Focusing on what you want instead of what you don’t want will not guarantee that you’ll get what you want. But these small mindset shifts will help you get in the habit of focusing on your wants. And with that focus you will attract more of what you want so you can live a happy and fulfilling life.

Photo by Mike Arney

If You’re Gonna Talk Shit, Say It Behind My Back

Talking shit, gossiping, or talking badly about others is something we are subjected to all throughout our lives, to the point it may seem normal.

When we were kids we could hear our parents talking trash on neighbors and relatives, in school we witnessed kids gossiping about others, and as adults the gossip and trash talking doesn’t stop. It might be masked better with passive aggressive comments, snickering and normalized gossip magazines, but it doesn’t stop.

We may be so used to trash talking and gossip that we don’t even realize we are doing it. But just because it’s normalize, doesn’t mean it’s good. Gossip and trash talk is unproductive and keeping you stuck. So you need to be aware of it, and how you respond to it, if you want to be happy and live a fulfilling life.

In this article we will talk about:

Why Trash Talking Is Negatively Impactful

Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.

Eleanor Roosevelt

  1. Gets you Stuck. If you don’t want to face something difficult, you may occupy your mind with gossip over celebrities or other people. This may make you feel good in the moment, but like with any procrastination, it will hurt you in the long run. Because you aren’t evaluating and improving yourself, you’re evaluating others.
  2. Breads Negativity. Kind, happy, well-rounded people don’t gossip or talk shit on others, they’re too busy living their best life. Trash talking makes you feel negative and spreads negativity because it stems from negativity.
  3. Creates Anxiety. Trash talking and gossip creates anxiety because when you trash talk others you start to assume others are trash talking you. So if someone makes a weird face you may think it’s because they don’t like you, when really it’s because they just farted.
  4. Unhealthy Social Connections. Trash talking can feel fun. And it can make us feel connected to others when we trash talk the same person. But connecting over trash talking is a negatively impactful social connection.
  5. Encourages Self-Hatred. Not having love for others shows a lack of love and compassion for self. So “hating” someone or talking badly about them is a lack of self-love and self-compassion.
  6. Unproductive Thinking. Trash talking is riddled with cognitive distortions. For example, gossip and trash talk typically maximizing negative attributes, and reduces a person to on one action. If you have this mentality about others you will also think that way about yourself. 
  7. Highlight Insecurities. When you talk trash you lose sight of our wants and needs because you are so preoccupied with needing to be liked. People who are secure with themselves don’t gossip or trash talk.

Why People Talk Trash

People talk trash for many reasons which can include:

  • insecurities
  • boredom
  • procrastination
  • not realizing it’s negatively impactful for them and others
  • not knowing any better
  • thinking it’s normal
  • following others who trash talk and gossip

How to Not Trash Talk

The first step in changing any destructive behavior is admitting you do it. Of course it’s uncomfortable to admit that you do something that’s negative, but if you want to change, you need to come to terms with the fact that you aren’t perfect and have room to grow.

With the growth mentality, you can then look out for times when you have the urge to trash talk or are around others who gossip. If some of your friends are used to gossiping you may not stop that, but you can stop contributing to the gossip, try to steer the conversation, or remove yourself from it.

Remind yourself that people make mistakes and one action does not define an entire person. Also, remind yourself that you are a work in progress and that stopping the trash talking now will benefit your entire life for the future.

Example of Not Trash Talking  

Not trash talking, gossiping, or talking shit doesn’t mean you can never talk about others (or that you only talk positively about others and ignore their faults). It means you talk about them differently.

Here’s an example:

A few months ago I was ghosted—it sucked. I called a friend to vent and had the urge to trash talk the ghost (call him a piece of shit, say he fucking sucks—you know…). But I stopped myself, because I knew while trash talking would make me feel good at the moment, it would not help me long term.

Obviously I liked the person who ghosted. I mean, I was hanging out with them. So there was good there. They just weren’t able to communicate in how I needed.

So I acknowledged that ghosting was a douchebag thing for him to do (not that he was a douche—see the difference?), that I am better off and that going forward I need someone who is a better communicator.  

Instead of trash talking or gossiping and putting myself on a negative mindset (by talking negatively about someone else), I focused on validating my feelings, working through the disappointment and focusing on my wants and needs.

Showing compassion for another person strengthened the compassion I have for myself. I moved on and when the ghost reappeared (as they typically do) I thanked him for his apology and ignored his request to go to dinner.

When the Trash Talking Is Directed Towards You

We talked about not trash talking others, but what do we do when others are trash talking us?

It’s best to not respond when the trash talking is about you, because trash talk is a low vibration and negatively impacts our mental and emotional well-being. We need to focus on what we want, not on the insecurities of others.

But that’s not how we are taught.

It seems the common societal response to trash talking is to act tough and tell people to: “say that shit to my face”. It may seem like with this response you are asserting dominance and strength, but you’re actually reducing your empowerment.

I say, fuck that. If someone has a problem with me or wants to trash talk I’d prefer they keep it to themselves. If they really can’t control themselves, then I prefer they say it behind my back. Because I genuinely don’t care and don’t have time for their drama or insecurities. That’s confidence and empowerment!

On the other hand, if someone has an issue with me, or if they feel I did something that hurt them and they come to me directly to address it, I am more than happy to discuss and I appreciate the feedback and opportunity to correct the slight!

Of course there are extreme instances where trash talk might negatively affect me. Like if someone was untruthful and told a person I’m dating that I was unfaithful, or if someone told my boss an untruth that could cost me my job. In those instances, I will address the trash talker and misunderstanding directly.

But unless there are repercussion that will keep me from my goals, I am more than happy to have the trash talk go on behind my back. Because while others are busy trash talking me, I’m focused on developing positive thought habits and being happy.

It’s literally to the point that I don’t think anyone has trashed talked me in ages because I don’t pay any attention to it, I choose to be oblivious.

Trash Talking and Gossip Isn’t Personal

Just like almost everything else, trash talk and gossip isn’t personal, so we need to not take it personally. Make sure to see trash talking and gossip for what it is, a distraction bread from insecurities and unproductive thought habits that are keeping you stuck.

Now go live long and prosper!

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto 

3 Ways to Overcome Rejection Confidently

Simply put, rejection sucks. And while we may try to push it away or avoid it, we will constantly get rejected throughout our lives—no matter what we want. I mean, unless you lock yourself in your house and become a hermit.

Anyway…

Similar to other strong emotions, the best thing to do when feeling rejected is to face the feeling head on. But we haven’t been taught how to face strong emotions. So we go the opposite route and ignore the uncomfortable feeling allowing it to gain momentum.

We unintentionally hurt ourselves. It’s making us miserable and keeping us from our true potential.

Which is why we need to face uncomfortable emotions like rejection head on. When we face them directly we take power away from the emotion and give it back to ourselves.

This emotional management is a life skill that will positively impact you in every area of your life for your entire life.

In this article we are going to talk about what rejection is, why it hurts, and how to confidently overcome it with a mindset shift and 3 steps.

Related article: Stoicism and the Trichotomy of Control: Why You Need to Know What It Is and How It Changed My Life!

Related podcast episode: Ep26: Acceptance, Empowerment & Body Positivity

What is Rejection

The opposite of feeing accepted, rejection occurs when we sense we are being dismissed or turned down. We typically associate it with shame and discomfort.

We can feel rejected in multiple ways, in different situations and on different levels. For example, if we are flat out told “no” by a love interest, or if no one laughs at our joke, or if a friend group doesn’t invite us out or include us in the group chat.

Rejection is a part of life. We can’t always get what we want and people are not always going to do exactly what we want or respond how we would like.

Why Rejection Hurts

Something scientifically proven is that rejection can literally hurt. This is because the part of the brain that processes rejection is closely tied to the part of our brain that processes physical pain.

Scientists theorize that rejection causing literal pain is because of our need to be part of the pack. Being part of the pack was really important for us when we were hunter gathers. In that pack we were more likely to have physical safety than if we wandered alone.

So if someone was rejected from the pack they would feel a pain or discomfort that would encourage them to get back in with the pack and therefore stay physically safe.

Humans are social creatures, and while we need connections to feel fulfilled, we no longer need to be part of the pack like before. Unfortunately, your brain didn’t get the memo so your pain sensor is still triggered even when rejection will not cause physical harm.

Basically, your brain can’t tell the difference between a love interest saying “no thanks” and you being left in the desert alone to fend for yourself.

But this isn’t the only way rejection hurts us.

Rejection Negatively Impacts Us

While rejection literally hurts, fear of rejection can negatively impact every area of your life and keep you from feeling fulfilled. Below are 5 ways a fear of rejection will negatively impact you:

Decreases emotional intelligence. EQ is considered the No. 1 determinant of success, and people with higher EQs are happier and feel more fulfilled. To build EQ it is important to be aware of and effectively manage feelings—even the ones that don’t feel so great, like rejection.

Related article: #1 Secret to Effectively Improving Your Emotional Intelligence… and How to Use It

People pleasing tendencies and one-sided relationships. If you fear rejection you’ll likely focus on not being rejected. So instead of determining if someone will add value to your life, you are likely hyper-focused on them liking you. This can lead to people pleasing and relationships that aren’t healthy.

Encourages a lack of abundance. If you fear rejection, rejection is magnified. When something is magnified it keeps you from seeing the larger view. There is a world out there with billions of people and millions of opportunities. Just because something didn’t work out, doesn’t mean something else won’t.

Hinders boundary setting. If you have a fear of rejection, you will most likely be very conscious and sensitive to it. This includes when you reject other people. Since you fear rejection you might not want to reject someone else and that can lead to unestablished boundaries and codependency.

Keep you from opportunities and success. A fear of rejection can stop you in your tracks. You might not ask for that promotion you deserve or the thing that you need because you fear being told no.

Mindset Shift and 3 Steps to Overcome Rejection

Rejection means you tried, and rejection means you asked. So while you aren’t being accepted by one person or company or whatever, you are actually getting closer to the person or company that will accept and appreciate you!

Rejection also builds desire. Think of a time you were dating someone and they had a particular quality you liked. If it didn’t work out, you now know of that quality and have a desire for it which means you will attract it and look out for it.

From rejection we can also learn what we don’t want. I went up to a cute guy at a bar once and did my best to shoot my shot (mind you I’m socially awkward when trying to flirt). He rejected me… hard core. Like, wow, ouchie, that hurt.

After that situation I took great care in turning someone down. It created self-compassion and compassion for others. I also realized that him being so harsh was not what I wanted and it created a desire for kind people which I have been fortunate to find. (Remember, kind people do find kind people!) 

Below are three steps to help build resiliency and accept rejection. Coupled with the mindset shift above you’ll be ready to face rejection in a confident and empowered way!

Step 1: Accept It

The first step in emotional management is acceptance. We are encouraged to ignore our emotions and told limiting beliefs like “emotions are weakness” but that’s far from the truth. Emotions are human. You’re human, you have emotions. It doesn’t make you weak. Accept it.

Acknowledging and accepting emotions is strength. If you get rejected and it hurts you can tell yourself, “wow, this hurts. I am disheartened and that’s OK, this too shall pass.”

Not only will you build a resiliency that will reduce emotional intensity so rejection won’t hurt as much. You’ll also strengthen your self-compassion, emotional intelligence and resiliency. Wow, look at you go!!

Remember that acceptance differs from toxic positivity and please be mindful not to invalidate yourself.

Step 2: Be an Explorer

With fear mongering, extremes and other negative influences around us we may have lost our imagination and playfulness. We also may shy away from taking chances because we didn’t manage our emotions and rejection well in the past.

But today is a new day! And if you think of it, you are an explorer and life it to be explored.

See a cute guy/gal and want to ask them out, do it. If they say no, accept it, acknowledge it hurt, and then continue exploring. Take the intensity away from rejection and consider that you are testing the waters. See what fits and try to have fun with life.

Step 3: Think Abundance

We can get stuck in our world and forget there are billions of people and opportunities everywhere. But we need to be open to these people and opportunities to have a fulfilling and enriched life.

When we think in terms of abundance, we reduce the rigidness of the world and we allow it to be a safe place to explore. We can get up and go to the gym or a coffee shop or a walk. We remember there are people and commerce and energy and things going on outside of the rejection even though it may not feel like it.

With abundance we take power away from rejection and we give it back to ourselves. With that power comes fulfillment and mental and emotional well-being.

Related article: 7 Examples of Emotional Reasoning and 11 Ways It’s Keeping You Stuck

3 Ways to Awareness and Why You Need It

In order to successfully navigate life we need to be aware of who we are. This includes having a strong understanding of our thoughts and emotions and how we manage them.

Unfortunately, we aren’t encouraged or taught how to be self-aware. Instead, we are encouraged to ignore our emotions and we are taught unproductive thinking habits.  

But the great news is we can build self-awareness no matter what age or where we are in life.

In this article we will discuss what self-awareness is, why it’s so important and how to build it so you can enjoy the benefits.

What is Self-Awareness

Simply put, self-awareness is an individual’s understanding of how, why and what they feel and think.

Someone who is self-aware would acknowledge that they may not be as even keeled a on particular day if they haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep. This awareness will keep them from making rash decisions, eating too much out of exhaustion, and will encourage them to go to bed earlier the next night.

If someone with low self-awareness doesn’t get a good night’s sleep they may end up being curt or short with others and remain in a foul mood all day.

Benefits of Self-Awareness

Descartes was close when he said “I think therefore I am,” but really it’s: “I think therefore I am awareness”. Because you are the awareness of your thoughts and emotions, you are not your thoughts and emotions.

Self-awareness is life changing because self-awareness is life.

If you aren’t aware you are still alive but if you lack self-awareness, then you aren’t truly living. You’ll be a prisoner to your thoughts and emotions instead of controlling them.

(Since our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are the only things we really can control, it’s imperative we focus on them in order to feel happy and fulfilled.)

The benefits of self-awareness are unlimited and each person will benefit in different ways according to their circumstances. However, there are common benefits people who are self-aware will enjoy like:

3 Ways to Build Self-Awareness

1. Acknowledge You Are Awareness

Acknowledging you are the awareness of your thoughts, feelings and emotions and not your thoughts, feeling or emotions is the first step.

It would look like saying (or thinking), “I am acknowledging feelings of anger right now,” instead of saying “I am angry.”

This simple swap will help you separate yourself from powerful feelings, thus taking power away from the feelings and allowing you to respond in a manner consistent with your goals.

2. Pile on the Questions

Self-awareness is found when we question our motives and thoughts.

For example, if you think you want a big house, ask yourself why? Your answer might be that you want your family close by. Ask yourself why? You may want your family close by because you love them and you enjoy spending time with them.

So it’s not that you want the big house, you want your family close by and for people to be comfortable. This may seem like a small shift but it will help you fine tune your goals and understand your “why” behind your wants. And when we understand our “why” we gain clarity and our desires are easier to get.

3. Reflect

You hear a lot of self development and self-help gurus talk about journaling. It’s because journaling is awesome! Not only is a journal a place to collect your thoughts, it can help you become self-aware. 

You don’t need a journal to reflect and can reflect simply by setting time aside to consider and understand why you responded the way you did. For example, if someone says something that pings a powerful emotion and you get quiet and reserved you can look back on that situation and use questions to understand why the comment elicited a strong emotional response.

Ask yourself, “why did I do that?” when you reflect and you’ll become more aware.

Why We Aren’t Self Aware

Since we live in a commercialized society largely influenced by organizations that need us to spend, spend, spend emphasis is made for us to base our identity on external objects.

So while we are busy learning we need to have the latest tech or new clothing trend, and while we are being told what to think, we aren’t learning how to manage our emotions and how to think productively.

Self-awareness changes all of that. It will help you to find out what you really want and to act in ways that will get you closer to your goals.

So work on your self-awareness and LMK how it goes!

You’re Likely Overlooking this Key Aspect of Successful Weight Loss and Personal Development

Marketers in the diet industry will tell you that losing weight is quick and easy. It’s not. Which is why the diet industry has a 95% failure rate.

The trend of “get results at lighting speed” has transgressed into the self-help movement which makes promises it can’t deliver. So a well-intention person who simply wants to lose weight or live a better life is set up for failure before they even start.

Not only are unrealistic expectations regarding results hurting those who are longing for help, it’s normalizing failure and making us think we can’t do something we can. So if you think you can’t keep the weight off or succeed in self-development know that you can. 

It’s not you, it’s the false narrative they sold you. And since you deserve to be happy and achieve your goals it is time for a new narrative. If we are going to do weight loss and personal development right, we need to enter a new set of expectations. One of those expectations: boredom.

That’s right, prepare to be b-o-r-e-d.

What is Boredom?

Boredom is an emotion that occurs when we do something that is repetitive, dull or unsatisfying.

Think of when you were a kid and your mom ran into someone at the grocery store. As she talked for 20 minutes in the canned food aisle you likely felt dread or you thought about all the other things you’d rather be doing which left you feeling anxious.

Or think of a job that requires you to do the same task repeatedly—it’s boring right?

Boredom comes when we do not feel challenged. Which is why boredom has gotten a bad rep. But boredom isn’t all bad.

Boredom Isn’t Necessarily Bad

Boredom actually has some pretty amazing benefits; it can help you gain self-control (which will help you increase EQ). And it has been scientifically proven to increase creativity, motivation and improve mental health. (Ref)

We’re sold the idea that we constantly need to be entertained and things need to be exciting or we are unsuccessful. But that’s far from the truth. If you’re bored at your job it can push you to get a newer exciting one, or you can accept your job is boring and find excitement in other areas of life.

We’re also taught love and relationships need to be exciting and lively. But finding someone solid who makes you happy, is loyal and you have a routine with can actually be boring (in a great way!).

Things don’t always need to be exciting and loud. There are beautiful feelings and experiences waiting for you in the tranquility and peace that comes with slowness.

Successful Weight Loss & Boredom

When it comes down to it, weight loss and personal development are pretty boring. They’re repetitive. Unfortunately, the diet industry sells weight loss as being glamorous. We see flashy before and after pictures and think “yeah, I want that too!” And they tell us there are exciting “secrets” that will help us keep the weight off.

When people hear I’ve been maintaining a 40 weight loss for eight years (I’m in the 5% success group) they seem very eager to know my “secret.” You’d be shocked at how quickly the conversation falls flat when I say, “consistency, repetition and being OK with being bored.”

Because, again, weight loss is boring (and that’s OK!). I’m currently on a 8 week body recomposition. Meaning, I am working maintain the same weight while gaining muscle and losing fat. My trainer gave me a routine of 3-4 exercises I do 5 days a week.

It can get pretty boring. You might even be bored just reading about it. I’m kinda bored writing about it. But it works so I stick with it. And I know it won’t be boring all the time. I mix it up with Yoga or boxing and change my routine every 8 weeks. And I get excited to see the changes I’ve made by allowing boredom and focusing on the long haul.

Rebranding Boring

Personal development and weight loss take time and repetition. If you stick with it, it works. So ditch the flashy and unrealistic expectations. Stick with the basics and prepared to be bored.

Boredom gets a bad rep but it isn’t always bad. There are amazing benefits to sitting with boredom and allowing yourself to not need constant distraction and excitement.

The great news is that once you work through the initial boredom you’ll settle in and start seeing results. You won’t feel as bored with the same old boring routine, and if you’re like me, you’ll start to love it!

(Seriously, I just go to the gym, follow the same routine and see results. No thinking involved, no brain energy needed. I just zone out and focus on building muscle, which helps me build even more muscle!)

All of this will help you feel confident, empowered and find happiness—which is the entire goal, isn’t it?

5 Steps to Effective Anger Management

“Rage that has nowhere to go is redirected against the self, in the form of depression, self-hatred, and self-destructive actions.” Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. “The Body Keeps the Score”

If you are human living in 2021 it’s likely you are encouraged to stuff down your emotions or you weren’t allowed to express your emotions as a kid so you have trouble with emotions now.

We are told lies like, “emotions are weakness.” But that’s a limiting belief. Emotions are amazing… well, they can be if we manage them right!

Emotions help guide us to what gives us joy and satisfaction. When we are happy, we acknowledge “yes, I want more of this.” And when we are mad or uncomfortable we think, “something isn’t right here, how can I change this?”

In this article we are going to talk about the most misunderstood and weaponized emotion of all: anger. We’ll discuss what anger is, how it gets a bad rep, and 5 ways you can manage anger productively.

What is Anger?

Anger is when we feel there is a real or perceived slight against us. This can happen if we think we are being treated unfairly or differently than others, if we feel we are giving more in a relationship than others are giving to us, or if we think someone is treating us unfairly.

Typically a secondary emotion, anger is usually secondary to sadness. So if you are feeling angry you could actually be sad. However, since it feels empowering to be angry (and vulnerable to be sad) you may focus on anger instead of sadness.

Typically anger is associated with intense and hostile actions like yelling, slamming, screaming or aggression. But anger does not equate to hostility. People show anger in different ways.

How Anger Gets a Bad Rep

Merriam-Webster defines anger as “the feeling that makes someone want to hurt other people, to shout, etc.” (Ref) And anger is portrayed in movies and TV with a man pounding his fists on a table or slamming a door or punching something. 

Many of us likely witnessed someone get aggressive or hostile and blame it on anger. But anger is not what leads to these tantrums and actions. Anger does not make someone shout or hurt another, poor emotional management does.

Emotional Management vs Anger

Anger is an emotion. Emotional management is a response to emotions. Just like with any other emotion, when you are angry you can choose how you respond.

We may not realize we have the choice because we weren’t taught how to manage our emotions. But the fact is, if we want to have a happy life we need to be focus on emotional management.

Anger Responses

Previously, if I were angry I would shut down, be a ball of nerves or I would feel guilt and shame for feeling angry. All of this leading to self-destructive thoughts and actions. 

But once I started acknowledging anger was a sign that I felt slighted or sad and that feeling angry didn’t need to equate to screaming or hostility, my world changed.

For example, a man I was seeing did something offensive. I was visibly annoyed and while I was collecting my thoughts he said “you seem angry.” I responded “obviously I am angry, if I wasn’t angry it would be a sign of low self-worth.”

Instead of feeling shame for being angry, I embraced the anger and realized I was right to feel it. I then decided our narrative stops here, and I left. There was no screaming or yelling or any hostility. Just an annoyance, acknowledgement of anger and an exit stage left. 

Instead of hostility, other ways to respond to anger can be taking deep breaths, playing with puppies, going for a walk, taking a map, drinking some hot tea, writing in a journal, meditation—the options are endless.

Anger and Rage

But it doesn’t stop there. You are also allowed to express anger with rage as long as it will not hurt you or others. In fact, expressing anger with rage can feel amazing!

I come from a dysfunctional family. And I used to get angry when I would think about the way I was treated as a child. But I did not know what to do with the anger—I did not know emotional management.

Sometimes I would be so angry I would freeze. I was overwhelmed and would pace back and forth in my house, scream, cry. I didn’t know what to do with these feelings and it made me upset because I didn’t want to hurt myself or others.

Enter: boxing.

Somehow I stumbled upon boxing and I’m lucky I did. It helped me not only work through anger, it helped me build confidence in my autonomy and agency. I must have hit a boxing bag thousands of times while working through my anger.

Then something incredible happened. The more I acknowledged and worked through the anger, the less anger I felt. Pretty soon I stopped boxing because I was angry and now I box because I genuinely enjoy it.

Now, when I think about my past I am still angry. But I don’t have to manage the anger. It is a fleeting emotion. An emotion that is then pushed aside by my feelings of pride and love for how far I’ve come. But I needed to acknowledge and allow myself to be angry to get to where I am today.

5 Steps to Manage Anger

Step 1

The first step in managing anger is understanding what it is. As we talked about in the definition above, anger is a perceived or real slight against you. It’s when we feel we are being treated unfairly. And is typically a secondary emotion to sadness.

Step 2

The second step is acknowledging when you feel angry. Typically anger is associated with feeling flushed or your heart racing. So the next time you feel your heart beating fast, or your blood “boiling” stop for a moment and reflect. Ask yourself, “am I feeling angry?” 

Step 3

Step three is to separate yourself from the emotions. Emotions come and go. You are a Being not an emotion. So instead of saying “I am angry” say “I am acknowledging feelings of anger.”

Step 4

From there we go to Step 4 which is exploration. This involves understanding where the anger is coming from. You’re a detective at this point. Ask yourself, “why am I feeling angry?”

Step 5

Sept 5 is the height of emotional management. This is where you decide how you want to respond in order to stay align with your goals. Remember, anger doesn’t equate to yelling and screaming. Anger can lead to meditative breathing, doing a check-in, talking to a friend, taking a timeout or going for a walk.

Example of Using The Steps

My father was angry and aggressive. He had horrible road rage, and I followed suit. So if someone cute me off while I was driving I would get angry and aggressive. I would beep, yell and curse. Mind you, I am not proud of this, but at the time I did not know any better.

Once I started focusing on emotional management, I used the 5 steps above to understand my road rage. Keeping in mind that anger was an emotion stemming from me feeing slighted, I wondered why being cut off bothered me so much. Paying attention to my responses, I focused on when my heart was racing or if I felt hyped up when someone cut me off.

From there I reminded myself I was feeling anger, anger was momentary and I was not anger. After some reflection, I realized that the anger I was acknowledging was stemming from the fact that I wouldn’t cut someone off in traffic.

So it bothered me when others cut me off because I felt others were not being as considerate as I am to them. Then I realized, “wow, I am a super considerate person, good on me.”

I went from being angry to smiling and congratulating myself. After I was cut off I decided I was angry, it was momentary, and I continued driving as I normally would. I forgot I was cutoff by the time I got to my destination. Now people rarely cut me off, or I barely notice it. If I do notice someone cutting me off I assign them positive intent.

Anger is Amazing

Anger gets a bad rap, but it’s actually a great resource that will help us find self-love and direct us towards what we want.

Acknowledging anger can get us out of situations that are negatively impactful to us or where we aren’t being treated fairly. It can get us unstuck, have stronger relationships, build connections with yourself and others.

When we acknowledge anger (any emotion for that case) we lessen its power, identify what is making us feel unsatisfied and we can work to correct it or overcome stress cycles we may be in.

So allow yourself to be angry, acknowledge it does not equate to hostility or aggression and instead focus on why you are feeling angry and how you can act to get closer to your happiness and satisfaction.