By Andrea Schramm, LPC
Our emotions are a natural, powerful information gathering system allowing us to quickly gather information about our own experiences and those of the people around us. Emotions are part of our communication system and influence our social connections with others. Emotions are also physical. We all know the word “feeling” associated with our emotional experiences.
So how do our emotions and our ability to understand and manage them connect us with others in both intimate and social relationships? How can we communicate successfully incorporating our emotions?
Emotions inform communication. “I feel good…I don’t like her…Yes, I’d love to have dinner tonight…Yuk, I hate sushi.” These are all examples of how emotions inform. Emotional experiences are often connected to our past experiences, our learning history. We experience emotions associated with events we have at some point had before which form our emotional response: “The first time I ate sushi, it was disgusting. It makes me ‘feel’ sick.” We can become programmed to respond emotionally to experiences we’ve had previously.
Here are some tips for communicating using emotionally informed behaviors:
Remember, emotions inform. Take some time to acknowledge and think about your own emotions. Why do you think you feel as you do? What past experiences formed the emotional responses you have? Learning to understand emotional responses can build a stronger sense of self and teach us to use emotions to build positive relationships with each other.