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7 Dec 2022

Emotions – No Thank You!

Avoiding emotions and telling yourself not to feel them, impacts your well-being. It affects your ability to communicate with others, your relationships, your performance, and your choices.

Suppressing emotions, pretending not to feel them and saying ‘I’m fine’ can lead to stress, burnout and more importantly emotional fatigue – yes that’s a real thing!

You can’t communicate effectively when you are emotionally charged. Training yourself to be aware of your feelings is essential to being able to communicate calmly and respectfully.

Did your heart skip a beat at the thought of talking about your emotions? 

Learning to articulate how you truly feel creates emotional awareness. Most people’s emotional vocabulary consists of angry, sad, happy or anxious. There are many more emotions between those:

angry –> frustrated –> annoyed –> irritated

sad –> disappointed –> regretful –> depressed

happy –> excited –> confident –> content

anxious –> nervous –> worried –> confused

Expressing emotions can be tough. It can feel overwhelming and vulnerable. This is especially true if you learned as a child that sharing your emotions made you seem weak or feel shameful.

Expressing your emotions helps you:

  • Calm down quicker
  • Make character-based choices
  • Bounce back more easily
  • Improve communication skills
  • Bring harmony and well-being to your mental and physical state

Instead of reacting and avoiding emotions, take a pause and check-in with how you are feeling.

Here’s what I know: Being mindful of the emotions you are experiencing is essential to making choices in the moment that you can be proud of for the moments to come.

Until next time…

10 Jul 2022

Friend Won’t Talk to Me

I received a question from a student asking for help with a circumstance she was experiencing – a person she considered to be her best friend decided to stop talking to her and won’t tell her why. She felt confused, sad and angry.

It’s painful when someone that you believe is a friend stops talking to you and won’t give you a reason.

I remember when one of my friends was upset with me and I couldn’t figure out why. When I asked the reason, they responded with, ‘I’m not going to tell you. You should know.’

I thought, ‘If I knew I wouldn’t be asking.

I found it very upsetting and frustrating that we couldn’t just talk about it. I couldn’t fix or change what I didn’t know.

Since we all think differently and have different perspectives it’s important to communicate when something is bothering us. Communication is the key to maintaining a healthy, caring relationship.

Unfortunately, we can’t make people listen to us and understand our perspective. They have to be willing to want to hear what we have to say.

A tip to help you communicate with your friend:

Write/type a letter/email communicating all of your thoughts and feelings using the words ‘I feel’ or ‘I think’.  Using these words will help you express yourself without blaming the other person. When you use ‘you did this’ or ‘you made me feel this’ people’s listening shuts down and they start to go into defense mode. Remember you are only sharing your feelings and thoughts – not blaming or shaming the other person.

Writing a letter allows the other person to consider your point of view when they are ready and they can refer back to it. People often need time to think and reflect. It also allows you to share your thoughts and feelings with clarity. At the end of your letter, ask them to consider answering your letter letting you know their thoughts/feelings.

It is easy to assume that everyone is on the same page and should ‘just know’ what the other is thinking. I have found that some are not only ‘not on the same page’ they are ‘reading different books’.

Until next time…

18 Nov 2019

Does Common Sense Exist?

“Common sense is sound practical judgment concerning everyday matters, or a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge that is shared by nearly all people.”

Let’s dive into the definition…

Is sense really common?

The above definition implies that the average person should just know how to act in specific situations, but the problem with that is we are all different. You and I weren’t raised the same, didn’t learn the same things, didn’t have the same experiences, don’t live by the same rules—so what may seem to be common sense to me could be new information for you and vice versa. Wait, what?!

Here’s my theory… If sense were common, then we wouldn’t see road rage, violence, greed, and poor manners. No one would fall out, breakup, or argue over how to parent or teach children. We’d all agree on the fundamentals in life.

But we don’t.

Different experiences = Different sense.

Through my work, I’ve learned that sense and awareness is not common for people. Our experiences impact what we learn and how we perceive what happens around us and because we all experience different circumstances, we learn different lessons. There’s nothing common about it.

For example, my parents raised me to believe that mistakes are opportunities—an essential part of learning and growth. This is now common sense to me, but when I present this idea to a child who was raised to believe mistakes should be avoided, it’s new for them. They’ve learned the opposite.  

When our version of sense differs, whose opinion is common?

None.

Does this sound familiar? Someone acts in a way that surprises you and your instant reaction is: ‘Well, it’s common sense, right?’

But what if it’s not?

I remember one day we had guests over. After greeting them at the door, I expected they would take off their shoes. Instead, they walked around inside with their shoes on.

And here’s where sense isn’t common. At my house, we remove our shoes at the door, at their house that isn’t the expectation. 

What if it’s not about common sense but rather expectation?

When your expectations aren’t communicated, others won’t know what you want. How would my guests know to remove their shoes if they normally don’t at their house? In this case, I should have politely asked them to leave their shoes at the door They would then know my expectations instead of me relying on common sense.

It’s too easy to jump to the assumption that someone should know better because it’s common sense.

The more helpful reaction is to identify what your expectation is and clearly and politely communicate it to the other person.It’s simple, really! By being clear about expectations you can save yourself and others from unnecessary disappointment.

Until next time…

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6 Nov 2019

What does it Take to Forgive?

The classroom culture was being affected by a few students who were holding onto words and actions that had taken place since…wait for it…GRADE 2!! For the last 6 years they tried to move on but ‘the moving on’ was a struggle because they had never forgiven each other.

There was a shift in the room when the students communicated how they FELT about what happened in grade 2. 

They realized the problem wasn’t what happened in grade 2, the problem was the emotions the circumstance triggered. They never learned to express their emotions or move through them in a healthy way or forgive.

They agreed they wanted to create a school culture where respect and kindness rule. Hard to do with a dark cloud of emotions hovering over you – easier to accomplish when you are willing to listen to each other’s emotions with compassion and respect. So that’s what we worked on during the workshop and it was incredible to see the shift.

Forgiveness isn’t saying what happened is ok – it’s saying that you are no longer willing to carry around the pain, anger and resentment.

Once they reached the point where they were able to forgive themselves and those around them, the room we were sitting in became a lighter, brighter and more connected place.

We ended in a circle.

As each person shared a piece of wisdom for the group, we wrapped coloured string around each wrist so they could see that through sharing they are connected. Before we cut the string between each of them (so they could each leave with a string bracelet), one person shouted ‘let’s all link our hands!’

Until next time,

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