As fleeting as the thought may be, you do think at least once before responding to nearly any emotional stimuli. Happiness, anger, joy, sadness – each emotion is predicated on thought. Much of your work at improving you EI will be directed at capturing that fleeting thought and whipping it into shape, creating a new thought. That new thought will be shaped into your evolved emotion.
I often ask my clients to tell me what they told themselves, what their thoughts were, just before they made themselves angry. Inevitably I get a very confused look and then, “What did I tell myself? What do you mean? I didn’t tell myself anything.”
“Just listen to your thoughts. What are you telling yourself?”
“I’m not telling myself anything, I tell you. I can’t think. I’m too angry to think!”
We will become very adept at capturing our thinking, our self-talk, and challenging it.
WE will learn to think twice.
For now, just listen to your thoughts and pay attention to them.
Oddly, it is far more possible to discover what a person is telling themselves when they are expressing happiness. There is no surprise, no faltering, no hesitation when asked, “What are you telling yourself right now?”
“I’m glad you asked! I am telling myself that I am going to get what I wanted for Christmas and that is wonderful. I will be able to do what I had hoped to do. Everything will be so much easier for me. I’m going to be successful and everyone will love me!”
In my experience, people are always so much more forthcoming with what they tell themselves when they are happy. But asking people what they are telling themselves when they are angry, depressed, livid or gnashing their teeth is often so much more difficult.
It’s a mystery.
- Think Twice (Release date 1/1/12) (eitheory.com)
- Emotional Evolution (eitheory.com)
- The Bio-Psycho-Social Model (eitheory.com)
- Prove it! (eitheory.com)
- Incremental Change (eitheory.com)
- Do you still have my name on your arm? Yep, it’s still there. (theriseofbutterflies.wordpress.com)
- Long-term and Episodic Emotional Stimuli (eitheory.com)
- You can really push my buttons! (eitheory.com)
- Anger (misswhiplash.wordpress.com)
- Emotional Intelligence and Locus of Control (eitheory.com)