Apparently, leprechauns hide their pots of gold at the end of a rainbow. When I see a rainbow I estimate its coordinates and go looking.
I don’t intend to steal the gold, just borrow it for a while.
A rainbow has two ends, so instead of looking for one pot of gold, I look for two!
It’s the same for emotions. Remember Key 1, where we learnt to label our emotion? The thing is: when we feel one emotion, there are more lurking about. Some are contradictory. Label them all. ‘I am feeling angry. What else am I feeling? Hurt? Fear? Shame? Resentment?’
Develop the habit of looking for more than one emotion. Each one is a ‘pot of gold’, waiting to be discovered.
Importantly, if you feel only the slightest trace of an emotion – if it’s just one percent of what you are feeling – acknowledge it out loud or to yourself. For example,
‘Along with my jealousy, I’m feeling just a smidgeon of contempt.’
‘I can feel a trace of envy as well. Just a trace.’
‘Yes, I certainly feel pleased for her. But is that a touch of resentment I feel as well?’
It’s important for us to be aware of those one-percenters, because they are the ones that lead to self-knowledge.
Step 1. What emotion are you feeling right now as you read these words? Frustration? Impatience? Curiosity? Find the right word. Be specific.
Step 2. Search for other emotions. For example, is there apprehension? Hope? Distrust? Pessimism? Optimism . . .?
Step 3. Congratulate yourself on discovering the enormous range of emotions you can experience by just doing something as simple as reading an article. How complex are the emotions people can feel!
Do this exercise regularly: mute the television advertisements and search for the various emotions you are feeling. It only takes a minute or two. After a while, you’ll be adept at identifying what you’re feeling, and feel comfortable feeling those feelings. That’s a big step towards emotional resilience!