Have you ever felt ignored, judged, or disrespected? If you have, you're in good company with the rest of us mere mortals.
The other day a tsunami of emotion raged through my body during the early stages of a conversation. In a matter of seconds my amygdala went into overdrive and before I knew it, I was in defense mode armed for verbal battle.
Fortunately, I caught myself before the conversation could explode. When I feel myself enter fight or flight mode, I know that I'm in the midst of an opportunity that's signaling for my attention. There is something within me that needs awareness. Whatever it is, it needs to be quickly named and tamed.
Before BIG feelings surge, learn to pay attention to your soft inner rumblings. They're trying to get your attention so that you can identify the underlying need yearning to be met. The problem is that too many of us are unaware of our underlying human needs or try to ignore that we have these needs at all because we see them as weaknesses.
Approach your feelings with curiosity and embrace the opportunity to connect more deeply with yourself. Using a list from The Gottman Institute, here's how you can identify underlying human needs. You may feel "negative" emotions when:
1. You feel excluded
2. You feel powerless
3. You feel unheard
4. You feel scolded
5. You feel judged
6. You feel disrespected
7. You feel a lack of affection
8. You feel uncared for
9. You feel lonely
10. You feel ignored
11. You feel like you can't be honest
12. You feel like the "bad guy"
13. You feel forgotten
14. You feel unsafe
15. You feel unloved
16. You feel like that was unfair
17. You feel frustrated
18. You feel disconnected
19. You feel trapped
20. You feel a lack of passion
21. You feel like you can't speak up
22. You feel manipulated
23. You feel controlled
Some of us are walking time bombs. In my case, I felt ignored and needed to feel seen and heard, literally. Once I acknowledged my deeper need, I was able to tame my response to feeling ignored, which enabled me to shift my attention to understanding the other person's perspective.
Once I did this, the person relaxed enough to hear and understand my point of view. Therefore, we were able to clear up a misunderstanding quickly instead of letting tensions run high.
Looking under the hood of our "negative" emotions takes awareness and practice, but is well worth the effort.
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