emotional agility: feel it, show it, label it, watch it go
October 5, 2016 8:57 AM   Subscribe

"[O]ne thing that's really critical from an emotional agility perspective and that's actually really quick and easy to do, is to simply recognize your thought for what it is. It's a thought. Or your emotion for what it is. It's an emotion." An interview with author and Harvard Medical School faculty psychologist Susan David, Ph.D., by Sarah Green Carmichael for Harvard Business Review IdeaCast: Building Emotional Agility [audio + transcript]
"...what you're starting to do is, instead of being, I am stressed, I am angry, where you and your anger are 100% identified with one another, you are starting to recognize that I am a person who has a thought, who has an emotion, but who also has a choice. And this is a critical aspect of emotional agility. Viktor Frankl, who survived the Nazi death camps, wrote beautifully this idea that between stimulus and response there is a space. And in that space is our power to choose. And it is in that choice that comes our growth and freedom."
Δ Susan David, TIME: Are you a 'bottler' or a 'brooder'?
Δ KJ Dell'Antonia, NYT: Teaching Your Child Emotional Agility
Δ Jennifer Kahn, NYT: Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?
Δ Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., Psychology Today: Why We Need to Teach Kids Emotional Intelligence
Δ Elizabeth O'Shea, Parent4Success: 14 tips for Helping Children with Emotional Intelligence
Δ Jill Stark, The Age: There's now a fourth R in education: Resilience.
posted by amnesia and magnets (33 comments total) 148 users marked this as a favorite
 
Great post!
posted by kinoeye at 9:03 AM on October 5, 2016


Say it with me: Emotions aren't emergencies.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:10 AM on October 5, 2016 [26 favorites]


This is wonderful. I could have used this a lot about a year and a half ago; since then I've really come to embrace the kinds of things she's talking about - recognizing when you do and don't have a true fit because you're trying so hard to shape yourself to an organizatonal ideal, the fundamental conflict between wanting agility/creativity/complexity and insisting on organizational ways of being that suppress that. The only sad thing about this is how few actual managers and leaders will ever put this into practice. Anyway, gotta get this book. Thank you!
posted by Miko at 9:14 AM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


SUSAN DAVID: Correct. And this is something that I explore a lot in emotional agility. Firstly, this idea that somehow we should all be happy, and think happy, and be positive. I truly believe is antithetical to our real happiness. So the reality of life is that life is fragile, and that we are going to one day get ill, or that we might lose our job, or no longer love our job.

And if we only have the psychological resources to basically focus on the good, and be happy, and try to shift our attitude to be happy, what it can actually do is take us away from the ability to learn about our emotions, to actually recognize that our emotions, while they may not be right, are still a resource. They often are telling us things about what we value in the world, and how we want to be, and move forward in the world.


This is wonderfully accurate. I find that when I cannot complain about things which bother me in my workplace, because my irritations are uncomfortable for my coworkers or my supervisor to hear, those irritations are much more likely to fester and build into true anger than they are when I can blow off my frustration to someone, be heard, and develop a plan to reduce the annoying thing next time. It's important not to dwell on negative emotions, but this is much easier to do and much more effective when you feel you have been able to do something about the underlying causes of the negative emotions--not just shove the sympatomatic feelings into a compartmentalized box in your head, never to be expressed.
posted by sciatrix at 9:25 AM on October 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


Glad you dig it! I hope other folks find it helpful, too, because "feels aren't real" is pretty much the only thing guaranteed to pull me out of a complete doom spiral and it took me 30-odd years to grok without reflexively recoiling against it. I used to get all huffy whenever anyone tried to explain the basic concept to me; I always heard "feels aren't real" as "your feels are so insubstantial and unimportant as to ultimately mean nothing, ergo you are weak and pathetic for even feeling them in the first place." Because when you get lost in a navel-gazey depression cave, even the gentlest reminder to keep trying to find a door feels like being told you're doing everything all wrong.

But really, it just means that there's a variably-sized gap between [all the intense and scary shit your over-excitable brain can spin up in your darkest hours] and [what's actually happening in the world around you], and unless you're having a crisis of emotional regulation, you actually have the ability to choose to make that gap even wider. It's empowering and exhilarating.
posted by amnesia and magnets at 9:26 AM on October 5, 2016 [19 favorites]


I've written and re-written what I was going to type countless times now.. so I'll summarise by saying this really helps me, I find it hard work and sometimes I have to physically remove myself from a situation to be able to do it. It is however so rewarding. I'm still here for one. Thanks for the post.
posted by diziet at 9:30 AM on October 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


This could as easily appear in a Buddhist publication such as Tricycle or Buddhadharma or Shambala Sun (are those all still around? I dropped the habit of reading about spiritual practice a while ago.).

Name the emotion/thought and don't reflexively identify with it. Leave a little space between stimulus and response (which she nicely attributes to Victor Frankl).

One distinction she doesn't explicitly make in this interview but which I have found helpful is to see "emotions" and "feelings" as something other than synonyms. Feelings are immediate responses--often manifested somatically as well as mentally. Emotions are the stories we tell ourselves about these feelings. We retell and embellish these stories to ourselves, thus more deeply embedding what are often toxic emotions. Instead, as Dr. David suggests, name it, acknowledge it, and let it go. This is a practice some Buddhist schools suggest in sitting meditation as well as in everyday life.

So the Harvard Business Review is in the enlightenment business now, eh? Well, good!
posted by kozad at 9:52 AM on October 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


If this resonates with you, I would recommend reading Zen Buddhist teachings. They've pretty much been saying this stuff for thousands of years...

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh,
or of Taisen Deshimaru are good starting points.
posted by nikoniko at 9:56 AM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


I am seething over an e-mail correspondence with an asshole of a collaborator and I am trying very hard to establish some space between me and my emotions in relation to this, but It Is Hard. In a professional space, I wonder how to straddle the line between "This doesn't need to be dealt with while I am emotional about it," and "build enough emotional distance between the event that upset me and talking to the colleague about it." The latter can sometimes feel like I'm being told to "minimize it" until it no longer feels important or worthy of attention - even if it definitely is.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:06 AM on October 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


SUSAN DAVID: So that’s a really, really interesting question. I think it almost relates to some of our cultural norms, if you like, about emotions and our cultural norms about thinking. Which is that we live in a world where the messaging is effectively, that your thoughts create your reality, that you control your thoughts, that if you have bad thoughts or good thoughts, that you’re going to bring the secrets of the universe to you depending on the thoughts that you have. That’s simply just not true.

This is a really interesting idea about cultural messaging, inasmuch as this is a mindset that reminds me of people with personality disorders. The schemas she describes are definitely common enough that I recognize them, but I'm not sure I agree that they're the dominant schemas above all else regarding emotions.
posted by sciatrix at 10:08 AM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I too was going to say this is straight-up mindfulness which is in turn Buddhism with the serial numbers filed off. You and your emotional reactions can definitely be two different things. It's a pretty amazing concept once you get your head around it.
posted by GuyZero at 10:08 AM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I feel like this is Advanced Adulting, when most of the US is still dealing with Emotions 101. Aka, recognizing you are experiencing emotions at all, instead of pushing them down and pretending your are always being rational.
posted by politikitty at 10:13 AM on October 5, 2016 [19 favorites]


In a professional space, I wonder how to straddle the line between "This doesn't need to be dealt with while I am emotional about it," and "build enough emotional distance between the event that upset me and talking to the colleague about it." The latter can sometimes feel like I'm being told to "minimize it" until it no longer feels important or worthy of attention - even if it definitely is.

Oh man, I hear that so hard, especially when I'm dealing with a lot of pressure to do ALL THE THINGS and my time and attention span are really limited. If I pause to do a task after I don't care quite as strongly about it, what if I become distracted by one of the other thousand tasks vying for my attention and forget the one that I care about right now because it's evoked strong emotional feelings? For me, I try to walk the line between those things by letting myself respond while I'm still angry, but trying to respond in such a way that I acknowledge that it's possible for me to be mistaken about the motivations of the person I'm angry at.

This can sometimes be extremely useful when it comes to handling potential bad actors without causing strife if I'm wrong about an issue. For example, I had a colleague who was refusing to do a part of his job, claiming repeatedly that it wasn't his responsibility and just... not doing it when asked to. (The task was definitely his responsibility--his job within the lab was looking after everything to do with lab health and safety, which included this task.) Our boss either didn't realize he was not doing this task or didn't feel motivated enough to push him to actually do it.

This was impacting me and several other colleagues, two of whom just gritted their teeth and did it themselves when he tried to shift his responsibilities to other people. This made me angry, both because his shirking was impacting my work and because he was making work more difficult for people I liked and respected. I wound up dealing with the issue by asking publicly in a group meeting, in front of our mutual supervisor, whose responsibility this task was and whether this person was responsible for it. I said that the confusion was making it difficult for me to understand what was wrong. I was still very angry, but I was able to frame that irritation as confusion even though I didn't think I was confused at all--and indeed, the way I framed the conflict meant that my boss had to take a public stand, but allowed both him and the shirker to save enough face that I wasn't viewed as a bitch.

That's a hard line to walk. But that strategy--"I think I must not understand/I think I misheard you. Did you say that thing? If you did, it would cause these problems that make me very angry"--has served me really well, because if I am mistaken, well then, I've acknowledged that possibility. If I'm not--and I often mention the things that are underlying my current understanding--weeeeeellll, then, I get to make things very awkward for the person who hasn't been doing their job.
posted by sciatrix at 10:18 AM on October 5, 2016 [11 favorites]


Wow thanks for a great post. It's still really hard for me to understand this stuff though I've been working on it. I especially like the articles aimed at teaching kids emotional intelligence because I never got this as a kid and instead was told either I was incorrect about an emotion I thought I had or I shouldn't have them at all, so learning about it as if I was in 3rd grade works well for me.

I had a lot more typed up here, but politikitty said it much better above.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 10:31 AM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Shorter:
-------------------------
"...We are designed from an evolutionary perspective to have these thousands, and thousands, and thousands, of thoughts. And most of them are criticisms, evaluations, and judgments.

"That is your brain just doing the work that it has been designed to do from an evolutionary perspective, which is to help you assess way up and to keep you safe. So there's nothing wrong with having thoughts and emotions that are difficult. ...
"...
"... we're starting to develop what we call emotional self-efficacy. The idea .... is that our emotions are not bigger than we are. That we are big enough to contain all of our emotions and that we are able to exert decisions and values-based choices around our emotions. And this is critical to children's lifelong well-being and success. It's been found to be predictive of their ability to develop willpower, grit, resilience, well being, you name it. This is a very, very important skill set...."
-------------------------

Great link, thank you.
posted by hank at 10:35 AM on October 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


What if you don't know what you are feeling? There are lots of times that I can't figure out if I'm angry or sad, and I get confused. There are people who say things to me like "what you did made me feel this way because..." and I have no idea how they're identifying that. How can I even tell what I feel? My big downfall is that my parents raise their voices when they're upset, whether they're mad at each other or just amped up talking about politics, but these two things are so different that now as an adult I raise my voice when talking passionately and when I'm upset, and it freaks people out. I've learned that "voice raised" means "upset", but that's about it. How can I begin identifying emotions?
posted by gucci mane at 10:51 AM on October 5, 2016 [13 favorites]


How can I begin identifying emotions?

i have found it helpful in a situation to see whether i am feeling like i want, i do not want, or i want to shutdown/ignore what is going on - that's a starting place for finer grained identification like angry or sad and to what degree i am feeling that

the Atlas of Emotions might also be helpful
posted by kokaku at 11:50 AM on October 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


What if you don't know what you are feeling?

I actually don't have a great answer to this question, but it's really, really important as even people who think they know what they're feeling need to ask themselves this question.

I may think I'm angry but am I actually embarrassed?
What if I'm both sad and relieved about something? Which one is "right"?

I think just asking the question and thinking about it is the right place to start.
posted by GuyZero at 11:56 AM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


There are lots of times that I can't figure out if I'm angry or sad, and I get confused.

In my experience, these two emotions are so closely linked that it's not necessarily worth trying to puzzle out which is which. So, if if you can tell when you are "upset," that's a start.

I raise my voice when talking passionately and when I'm upset

When you're upset, you're also talking passionately. So the question is, what are you passionate about? In my understanding of mindfulness, this is where being more mindful of your present state: calm, passionate, bored, enthralled, etc., can help you break the circuit between your emotions and your actions. If you recognize that you are "passionate" at the moment, you can make the choice whether to raise your voice or not.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:00 PM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


How can I begin identifying emotions?

Something that's helped me is really paying attention to others' emotional responses, especially with my kids. I can talk to them about an emotion that they don't fully understand and be able to empathize and work on it with them. Things come out of my mouth that I didn't know I knew. This often sparks a memory of mine that explains why I know how they're feeling even though I can't do that easily without the external prompting. What's weird is that when I think back, I usually didn't have the emotional response at the time but I can attach the emotion to the memory now. Of course many of those times I was drowning in a constant flow of alcohol (which I was at least partly using to make sure I didn't feel anything ever) and I'm not anymore so I have a greater capacity for any kind of thought or feeling. All that said, I am still not good at identifying any emotion as it's happening, but I'm at least to the point that I can identify extreme emotions in real time.

The Atlas of Emotions linked above is helpful and I understand what those things mean on paper, but that doesn't make it a lot easier to identify them. For some of the sub-types of emotions listed I can't imagine what they'd feel like or remember a time when I've experienced them.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 12:21 PM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


What if you don't know what you are feeling? There are lots of times that I can't figure out if I'm angry or sad, and I get confused.

One of the best bits of advice I ever heard was that emotions don't cancel each other out. Even ones that we consider opposites, like love and hate. They interweave, layer, mingle. Which one are you feeling? It's entirely possible you're feeling a whole mess of them at once, and that's why you can't parse them. People often make very bad decisions when they decide that out of the emotional jumble swirling around in their heads, only one of those emotions is the true one. All of them are.

Now, which of those emotions is the one you should act on or express, that's where maturity comes in. "He's a dickhead and he's smug and he's arguing more for status than justice, and oh man I want to tell him to fuck off, but he's also right," for example.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 12:58 PM on October 5, 2016 [15 favorites]


Even ones that we consider opposites, like love and hate

The opposite of love is apathy. Love and hate are kissing cousins.
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:36 PM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


What's deeply incorrect and problematic about Susan David's approach is this superficial "responsibilization" of psychology. You can't answer this question:

"And the question is this. What does it take, internally, the way we deal with our thoughts, our emotions, and our self stories, because we all have them, that ultimately helps us to be successful externally so that we thrive? "

without also examining the theoretical presuppositions upon which it is based. But instead actually doing that, these medical psychologists are trying to philosophize without doing the philosophy that's required. So we get over-simplified, pseudo-insights like:

"that's actually really quick and easy to do, is to simply recognize your thought for what it is."

"It is what it is". It's conservatives who wield these rhetorical tautologies as formulations of power and social violence. Colonialist, patriarchal attitudes are what allows people in positions of power to define what is real for everyone else. Unwittingly by presuming to define emotions in this narrow way while pulling the logical sleight-of-hand by denying there are problematics and issues—that's the kind of move that privileged white people have always done, and will continue to do so. These kinds of psychologists deny their implicit role as agents and institutional structures of social control (this was a much written-about controversy within the profession that's probably not so well-known outside of it, and ongoing in its current form, see for example this year's  NYTimes lengthy article about conflicting psychotherapy theories).

Why would the author pose "agility" versus "rigidity" as the real dichotomy? Is not identity a kind of rigidity, in the neutral sense? So is all rigidity bad? Who gets to arbitrate? Ask a physicist if they think a world without friction would be desirable. At what point are we using normative versus descriptive concepts here? Why is the author not more responsible for this sort of intellectual conflation?

So to clarify, I am saying for example what's lacking is a skepticism and cognizance of the politics of information produced by sources such as the Harvard Business Review. CBT and related psychological schools of this era are trends (not to be underestimated), and yet their unwillingness to self-examine—especially because culturally their programme rests on a significant measure of intellectual authority, populated with Ph.D.-holding scientists—is intellectually problematic. One way out of this is better cross-fertilization with other disciplines that are very different than yours. And better engagement so it's not just again a white psychologist doling advice (now very sophisticated advice because look how the reader is called to perform this internalization), because we've had hundreds of years of that already since Freud, and look what good that has done.

All this said, this neoliberalized form of behavioral psychology (the interviewee here talks about her motivations from Africa as a rationale, but if you go on Google Scholar you'll find plenty of concerned critiques, by social scientists including at least one I've read from IIRC South Africa of this modern form of psychology) may have efficacy as measured within its own narrow theoretical scope. But neither the social nor research implications of this growing school of psychology is as clear-cut as its proponents would want the public to believe. And partly this is a problem with the discourse.

So emotional agility, really the book sets out to answer this one question.

Sometimes, the best way to answer a question is to ask a better question. And it helps to use grammatical sentences that don't mix the supposed solution with the answer like that. In literature, we call that sophistry.
posted by polymodus at 2:31 PM on October 5, 2016 [12 favorites]


Why would the author pose "agility" versus "rigidity" as the real dichotomy? Is not identity a kind of rigidity, in the neutral sense? So is all rigidity bad? Who gets to arbitrate? Ask a physicist if they think a world without friction would be desirable. At what point are we using normative versus descriptive concepts here? Why is the author not more responsible for this sort of intellectual conflation?

My take on the author's agility/rigidity concept is that our responses can be enacted in an agile way so they respond to the actual situation at hand, or they can be enacted in a rigid way - the same response for many possibly diverse situations. The point she is making (I think) is that if we respond in a rigid way, we are mindlessly reacting, whereas if we respond in an agile way, we are taking conscious ownership of the form of our reaction and shaping it to suit our longer term purposes.
posted by Thella at 3:00 PM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Say it with me: Emotions aren't emergencies.

And they aren't facts. Contrary to my mother's beliefs and how I was raised. So much deprogramming I've had to do on myself. I'm interested to read all these links when I get home from work,
posted by Squeak Attack at 3:18 PM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


> What if you don't know what you are feeling?

Focusing
Six steps
posted by hank at 3:42 PM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Goodness this is relevant for me; it resonates very strongly. I was having quite a hard time at the start of the year - and a hard time expressing I was having a hard time. A trip to the GP when I recognised that things were not going well yielded a referral to a psychologist. She has been immensely helpful in turning a lot of my thoughts around, but there was one thing she said that really stuck with me: "You know, there is a difference between having thoughts, and being thoughts."

It hit me like a lightning bolt. I am, I suspect like many a mefite, quite a cerebral person, and I recognised immediately that I was - and thought of myself almost exclusively as - "being thoughts". That I was the sum of my thoughts - and when my thoughts were extremely negative ones the implications were not great.

It is something I struggle with constantly, getting this distance. Part of trying to overcome this cognitive tick has involved daily mindfulness meditation for me. I've flirted with it before, but made an honest to goodness effort to meditate for 10-20 minutes every day. And I must say, I wasn't sure if it would help, but it really really has helped.

It's not that I don't have these negative thoughts or feelings anymore - but I'm a) better at recognising them b) better at not letting them consume me, and c) better at letting them go.

I'm not "there" yet. It's a journey. But at least I feel I'm moving. This concept has had a big impact on my life this year, on my happiness, and on my role as a father, too. I'm most grateful for it.
posted by smoke at 4:34 PM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Speaking as someone who has a history of being emotionally repressed:

Emotions are real, they exist, but they don't need to be imperatives for action. They aren't ever wrong, they simply are. They inevitably flow, and eventually pass. They are facts in the way a photo of a cloud is factual, in that they describe someone's temporary internal state.
posted by idiopath at 4:39 PM on October 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Polymodus, whilst I agree with you that treatment modalities are a product of the societies they operate in, and not separable from them (I think a great, recent example is the controversy around Duckworth's Grit stuff, which I must say does seem a bit question-beggy and neoliberal to me, or Freud's theories as a product of the Victorian era), I also think that from a clinical standpoint it can be a little orthogonal.

CBT, for example, could be seen as pat neoliberal bromides, aimed at quelling the fundamental insanity and injustice of our world and twenty-first century working conditions. But it is also arguably the most researched and tested psychological treatment modality ever; and that research demonstrates effectiveness for a lot of people - people living in a neoliberal twenty-first century world.

I agree with you that questions about the hermeneutics and discourse of psychological treatment are valid and important, but I also think those questions can be asked in parallel, and that they don't necessarily invalidate the efficacy of the treatment. Especially in regards to really established modalities like CBT, that have been around for nearly thirty years now and have a huge body of research (I feel like David's stuff is just an extension/skin on CBT).

I suppose many of these researchers are trying to put their clinical treatments within a medical context - I think that's partly a reaction against the nonsense of Freud and historical willingness of psych researchers and practitioners to step away from data-driven approaches, and I think it's valid. Just like with 'physical' or 'chemical' medicine, however, I think there is room - and it's critical - for sociological questions and lenses to be applied, but I think it's separate conversation, like it is for other medicines.

I agree with you also about ambiguity and caveats getting lost in the popular conversation about psychological research - but I'm not quite so ready to blame the psychologists for that, as opposed to the media and the culture that consumes it (eg whatever my reservations about Grit, Duckworth herself is horrified at how it's being rolled out in schools and added to curriculums, because the research is so young.) .

I guess I'm reluctant to throw the baby out with the bathwater a bit. You raise important questions; I don't know if they resolveable, but it's important they are continually asked. But by the same token, I don't think they invalidate years of clinical research that demonstrates people are being helped. Maybe this is treating the symptoms, not the disease - but if the disease is culture or hegemony, I'm not sure that's a burden psych treatments can or should treat.
posted by smoke at 5:32 PM on October 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Emotional agility? Oh, you mean "psychological flexibility". But I have to admit that is a lot sexier than Steve Hayes' what, thirty?-year-old term. Steve does not shine when the task is pithy naming, though he is a galactic-class genius in many other ways.

So no, this is not new. But it's good stuff. One beating heart of it is that idea, that a lot of folks in this thread are eagerly picking up on:

thoughts are not the problem
emotions are not the problem
bodily sensations are not the problem
Your constant attempts to get away from them may be causing you some problems though.

There is a lot more to this and it's amazing.

Stuff to look up:

Contextual behavioral science

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)

The psychological flexibility model

The DNA-V model for youth

Relational frame theory

Stuff to read:

THE HAPPINESS TRAP by Russ Harris

THINGS MIGHT GO TERRIBLY, HORRIBLY WRONG (best book title ever) by Kelly Wilson

PARENTING YOUR ANXIOUS CHILD WITH MINDFULNESS AND ACCEPTANCE by McCurry and Hayes


If you think you're hard enough:

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY by Hayes, Strosahl, and Wilson (there's a new edition just out!)

THE THRIVING ADOLESCENT by Louise Hayes and Joseph Ciarrocchi

RELATIONAL FRAME THEORY by Hayes et al.

INSIDE THIS MOMENT by Strosahl et al.

MASTERING THE CLINICAL CONVERSATION by Villatte et al.

If you master those latter four books you will be a Jedi. But you can't master the books without doing a lot of shit. Because it's about doing, not reading or talking.
posted by PsychoTherapist at 6:27 PM on October 5, 2016 [12 favorites]


I have read that emotions are messengers. It is up to you to honor them, because they bring information, some of it is rapid reaction from the larger world, like, "This car will hit you if you don't step aside," or, this person approaching me has aggressive body language. They are messengers, and controllers in that if they are strong enough, there is physiological change attendant to them. But they have to work in concert with everything else, and I tend to see the downside of things as our world is chaotic in this time, and a lot of people face aggression and loss right now that is not easily negotiated away. There is also the old saying, "Don't kill the messenger." There is personal wisdom in emotion, and ancient survival programming, that is undeniably powerful.

However, we live in crowded times, and we are expected to plan and share space, and negotiate with others in close quarters, (the workplace,) others we have little in common with. Yet, we must come to agreement. Listening to the messenger while listening to the speaker, while figuring out how to approach the situation is definitely the dance.

A lot of folks expect telepathy out of their associates, or fealty to emotional habits, even if they are bad habits. An education in self assessment, and negotiation with self is a great idea. If we cherish our emotions and listen to them fully, before speaking or acting, then we are truly living. It is respectful dialogue, to let them sink in and then enjoy the act of moderation, if it is a formal setting; or enjoy the act of abandon if it is possible.
posted by Oyéah at 7:10 PM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


THINGS MIGHT GO TERRIBLY, HORRIBLY WRONG (best book title ever) by Kelly Wilson

Not only is it a wonderful title, the cover illustration is upside down. And it turned out okay!
posted by sadmadglad at 5:18 AM on October 6, 2016


Emotions are real, they exist, but they don't need to be imperatives for action.

Or for inaction
posted by thelonius at 5:44 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


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