Emotions: The Sixth Sense (of Self)
Your emotions are an important source of information. Just as we use our eyes and ears to gather information and understand the world around us, our emotions also provide us with a better understanding of our reactions to the world around us. Think of it this way, when you experience something that you like, you feel happiness. When you lose an important relationship, you feel sadness. If you pay attention to the type and intensity of emotions that you experience you can begin to understand yourself better. Anger might indicate that some value or boundary that you care about has been violated in some way. Recognizing the depth of grief at the loss someone in your life might indicate how much that relationship meant to you. I want to note that this does not mean that you should allow your emotions to dictate your life. I want to bring attention to emotions as a means of self-understanding to encourage a more active approach to living life. When you understand yourself, you can begin to change yourself if you are not satisfied with what you discover. Viewing emotions as the sixth sense can also help you understand what you really want when you are considering a difficult decision. What can you do to increase your awareness of your emotions and begin understanding yourself better?
- When confronted with a tough choice try to envision all of the possible decisions you could make and the emotions that would result from them. Which decisions lead to stressful emotions, and which lead to satisfying emotions?
- Review all of the relationships that you have right now. Which ones would you be upset to lose? Which relationships would you not care about ending?
- When you experience a strong emotion try to recognize the exact emotion and what it is a reaction to. Ask why that thing matters to you and are you satisfied with it mattering that much to you?