Month: November 2020

Managing Emotions

Be an Observer not an Absorber

Have you been in a situation where you can feel the weight of someone else’s emotions overshadowing your own as if you just absorbed their emotion?  Could you observe instead?

I’ve been told that I can change the temperature of a room just by walking into it, that my emotions affected everyone in the room that much. I received that comment in an upward feedback review from a staff accountant who reported to me when I was 23 years old.

For years before this comment I would find myself in situations where I felt responsible for others and their emotions. Where I took more than my 100% ownership and tried to “fix” it. In each circumstance I would feel their pain, many times I was outwardly told that their emotions were my fault or somehow my responsibility. I believed them. I was eight.

Instead of absorbing the emotions and energy of those around us, what if we observed them instead. What if we instead gave voice to the emotion? The next time you are in a confrontation with someone else who is experiencing a heavy emotion, try saying “I can see that you are angry” or “I can see that you are sad” and then give them the space to feel. Giving voice to our emotions and those around us grants us the permission to observe rather than absorb and the permission to feel rather than deflect. If it is your own emotion changing the temperature try picturing the word in your mind and then see yourself waiving to it. Observing the emotion gives it a voice and allows it to be seen.

All emotions serve us and will eventually make themselves seen or heard, sometimes just by walking into a room. You are no more responsible for someone else’s emotions than that eight year old kid.

Tools / Tricks:

If you are going into a situation where you know you are likely to be in an emotionally charged setting try the following tips or tricks:

  • Have you ever seen someone walk into a room and you noticed they had such a huge energy about them? This trick can help you boost your energy and take your space. Stand up and give yourself about 5 feet around you. Put your arms straight out at 90 degrees and bend over. Now begin to make a figure eight pattern from your feet all the way up to your head straightening out your body. Keep repeating this motion. This is giving your body an energy boost.
  • What is a color that makes you feel safe? Don’t think, first thing that comes to your mind. Now imagine that color wrapping your whole body. Then imagine it sealed in a white light with a gold all around it. Stand and think of this for 30 seconds before you enter into an emotionally charged situation and remember you are safe.
  • Try giving voice to the emotions around you. When the other person is feeling and expressing their emotion allow them that space and validate them by giving voice to the emotion you are seeing, ex. “I can see you are angry”. If they are projecting emotions and deflecting to you try yes, and. Yes and validates the other person’s emotions while still allowing space for your thought. Example, if someone is projecting fault or anger your way you can say “Yes, I can see how you feel that way and I see it differently”. The Yes and allows space for the other person to feel and keeps your space in-tact.
My Dad - bethink - wellness turned inside out Finding Your Voice

I Found My Voice

It took me 40 years to find my voice. 

 

What made my father great wasn’t what he accomplished it was the lengths he would go to help others grow. If you knew my dad he gave a bit of himself you. He would push you as he did me. He didn’t get the best out of us, he helped us find the best within ourselves. 

 

My dad was what he called a student of behavior and everything he learned he wanted to teach me. Before we got to the inner workings of people we had to get some of the basics out of the way. By five years old he taught me assets minus liabilities equaled net worth. By nine I had my own business selling Pepsi’s to the workman around our neighborhood sponsored by my dad’s unknowing and generous donation of inventory at no cost and subsequently punished by his recovery of my first summer’s profits to pay for that inventory plus penalties and interest when he found out. By sixteen we began what would be my intensive training, spending weekends at our local bagel stop, maybe a car dealership after and then back to his house where we would assume our normal spots, him on his large leather chair and me on his matching leather couch. We would begin about 10 am and sometime around 7 or 8 pm I would be excused for the day. Truth is I wouldn’t have left, he needed to get rid of me. 

 

We talked for hours on people, on life, on what was going on in business, in school, my mom, health, tennis and girls. There was nothing we wouldn’t or couldn’t talk about. This tradition carried through my college years, my first job, the days I spent working with him and grew to include my wife and kids once I began my own family. 

 

My father shaped every facet of my life. He expected the best of me not because he wanted it because he knew I was capable of it. He modeled vulnerability for me every day in every conversation. He had a way of reducing his greatness to a humble and relatable story that humanized his emotions and made me understand the most basic primal fears that plagued him or fueled his success. 

My dad was my mirror. A reflection of what I wanted to see and what I didn’t. He wasn’t afraid to tell me what I needed to hear regardless of my feelings. He loved me that much. I counted on my dad to be the counter balance to my most important life decisions. And no one could debate a decision like my father. We explored every possible outcome. Famously “expecting the worst because anything else is better.” We dissected conversations, people, motivations, emotions, intentions. It was exhausting. It was amazing. 

 

Over the years we became an unstoppable team. When we were aligned and with the help of our team no one could beat us. When we were opposed we battled. We fought. We hurt each other. We reconciled. We loved deeper and then we did it again. Each time I thought it would break me. It would break him. Each time we both found more. We both found more honesty. More vulnerability. More about ourselves, more about each other. More about life. Those around us couldn’t understand it and there were times I didn’t either. Through it though I learned about life. I learned about myself. I learned who I was and who I am not. I learned how to be a better leader, a better man, friend, a husband and a father myself.

 

I found my voice.

 

Who is your mirror?