Become Emotionally Empowered
What is Emotional Empowerment?
Emotional vulnerability is reflected in stormy, shallow, deteriorating or unsatisfying and destructive relationships.
Dr Pieter van Jaarsveld wrote in his book (“Hart van ‘n wenner: ontwikkel jou EI”) that people who mostly live with negative emotions, become physiologically sick.
Research has shown that harboring constant emotions of worry and anger for only 5 minutes, can have a negative effect on our immune system for 6 hours. We thus do not only suffer emotionally from feeling vulnerable, but our physical health is also affected by it. It is necessary to have satisfying and meaningful relationships – with ourselves, our fellowmen and society on the whole to be fully functional and content.
Naturally we want to ensure we have continuous healthy relationships but where and how do we start?
To become emotionally empowered, the following 5 skills are need to be developed and enhanced :-
Daniel Goleman says that people with high self-awareness are “aware of their moods as they are having them”. To increase self-awareness, we need to practice focusing on the present moment and label the feeling we are experiencing as accurately as we can.
Plato said that the life which is unexamined, is not worth living. We need to examine our strengths and weaknesses. It is necessary to get regular feedback from our boss, trusted colleagues, friends and family about the way you dealt with specific situations and get their opinion on ways to improve. We thus ‘learn who we really are and then live with that decision’. (Eleanor Roosevelt)
Self-regulation is about staying in control of ourselves. To lose our temper; to be overwhelmed by emotions or to be on an emotional see-saw ride, make us vulnerable.
There are various techniques available to manage our emotions. To manage anger, we can “press pause” and give ourselves time-out to think about why we lost control and focus on the specific triggers we are sensitive to. Breathing techniques and admitting the anger, also help to gain control back. To be angry is OK, but it is how we deal with it; how we express it, that shows the level of our self-regulation.
Anthony Robbins claims that only 2 forces determine our motivation to change: the avoidance of pain and the pursuit of pleasure. If we choose to lose 2 kilograms in a month’s time, it will certainly bring pleasure – how esteemed we feel fitting into a smaller size! We will therefore see the cake in front of us as pain – to eat it, will take us away from the pleasure of having a smaller waist line. If we are unmotivated to lose weight, the cake will be a source of pleasure.
Motivation levels can be boosted by:
- Developing self-discipline
- Looking for and celebrating small wins
- Staying focused on our short, medium and long term goals
Motivation also implies maintaining a positive attitude. We need to protect our energy by refraining from falling into the habit of complaining or to entertain listening to those who complain and suck energy out of us.
Empathy is the ability to recognize other people’s emotions and to understand their perspective. Daniel Goleman calls this a “fundamental people skill”. We can develop our empathy by using listening skills. Don’t judge another until you have walked a mile in his shoes! Furthermore, focus on the other person during a conversation. It is not always about us! The spin-off from such an altruistic approach is that it will ensure that people would want to be in our company, an antidote to loneliness.
5. Social skills
Getting along well with people doesn’t mean that we must always be ‘nice’. We need to decide whether we want to be liked or to be respected. When we have the privilege of being liked and respected, we certainly have a friendship! Building trust and developing rapport with others are skills that can be developed.