So often emotions are expressed in the form of being positive or negative and that needs to shift.
Lets play a game; here is a list of emotions and I want you to group them (in your head) as you read them into the camps of positive or negative:
For those that are unfamiliar, this list is the seven emotions that have a scientifically proven universal display. For more info on Dr Paul Ekman whose research identified these, please click here and if you want to learn about how to recognise and manage them, click here.
I would wager that as you worked your way down the list you put the 1st five into the negative camp, happy into the positive camp and then you struggled with surprise. The other response you may have had was ‘well it depends Phil, if this happened then positive and if this happened then negative.’
So, what if we changed the categories a little and broadened the scope.
Let’s start with the scope. We live in a dynamic and complex world where the context(s) around us changes moment to moment. Therefore having 2 categories for everything is too narrow a view (in my opinion).
Next the categories. We can use ‘constructive and destructive’ to look at the outcome that may be achieved from the action driven by each of the possible emotions.
For constructive I mean; action that enhances relationships and understanding with others.
For destructive I mean; action that damages relationships and understanding with others.
When we then combine the two we have a more dynamic way of looking at emotion;
We have moved from a simplistic positive or negative view to one where it is all about the action that the emotion led to.
The one size fits all approach has evolved to account for reality and therefore; it depends on the context(s) you are in.
Over the series of posts that will follow you will find this brought to life through examples and it is a core concept you need to be clear on before that series begin.
How do you categorise or view emotions at the moment?
What do you think to the categories used here?
If you cold choose, what categories would you have? Would you have any at all?
I look forward to hearing from you.