How does ‘fine’ feel?
Every time one of my clients say’s they’re “fine”, it reminds of that scene in the Italian Job where Donald Sutherland asks Mark Walberg how he’s feeling. When Mark responds “fine”, Donald returns with “you know what that means?”
It’s quite a cocktail of negative emotions, all summed up by a four letter word that is supposed to mean everything is OK.
When we say we’re ‘fine’, we might be glossing over what we’re really feeling, pushing down negative feelings leaving them to bubble up in unexpected places.
As a client said to me recently, when you acknowledge what you’re feeling, you have more choices in how to act.
Except of course that you might be saying ‘fine’ because you don’t really know how you feel.
We don’t all have a rich language for our emotional world so I love Susan David‘s graphics showing an umbrella feeling like embarrassed or hurt and breaking it down even further into what else that feeling could be.
Let’s take angry as an example. I can usually decipher that I’m angry but if we look at Susan’s graphic we see that angry can display itself in many ways. If I think about what I’m like when I’m irritated vs grumpy (I love this word) its very different.
When I’m irritated I tend to be more snappy with people, even if they aren’t the cause of the irritation. When I’m grumpy, I’m more withdrawn and negative.
The causes for my grumpiness and irritation are usually different as well. People that use reply all to have a chat with one other person irritate me, while I usually get grumpy when I’m tired or hungry.
By being able to be more specific about how you feel, you’re in a much better position to take action. A sleep or snack isn’t going help me if I’m irritated, in fact I won’t be able to get to sleep or I’ll eat everything in sight! But it will do wonders if I’m grumpy. Conversely, having a chat to the perceived cause of my grumpiness is likely to end in disaster.
So next time you catch yourself saying you’re fine, pause for a moment and try to determine what kind of fine you are. When we truly understand how we feel then we move from being at the mercy of our emotions to being more in control of them. And it helps us manage our Chimp Brain better as well.
I’d love to hear how you’d use these umbrella’s?
PS: Weekly check-in – week 5
√ I hurt my shoulder doing some DIY so exercise this week has been walking or on the bike – even yoga hurts 🙁 but my streak is still going!
Pink elephants – There was a lot of reflecting this week – maybe too much and I’ve learnt the warmer it is the more I don’t want to do it!
56 & 57 Yes you are seeing that correctly, I have already written next weeks letter! I’ve got a bit on this month so trying to get ahead.
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