Are you mastering your emotions or are they mastering you?

Are you using your emotions a counselor/barometer or have they become your “master”?

There’s a popular idea that we ought to control our emotions, and “be rational” in each sphere of our life, personally, relationally and especially vocationally!

The reality is that emotions simply happen naturally, as part of our human experience, as a response to the things we care about or value.

We experience one emotion if we’re gaining something that is important to us and another if we’re potentially going to lose or risk something that we value. 

In his book Conscious Business, Fred Kofman explores what he’s ID’d as the principal four pairs of emotions.

Kofman reminds us that each emotion is neither bad or good but instead serves as a gauge (data-point, counselor or barometer) that can allow us to (if we’re willing and able to notice them in realtime) check in with our personal needs and allow to be more present, “response-able” and consciously interact with the situations and people in our lives.

Here’s Kofman’s list…

First, the “pain” side of the emotional pairs:

  • Sadness - Based in the past. Loss of something valued or cared about. 
  • Fear - Future hold uncertainty about getting my needs met or losing something that I value.
  • Anger - Judgement that someone has violated my values or needs.
  • Guilt / Shame  - I have violated my values in some meaningful way.

Peace (or pleasure)  

  • Happiness - Based in the past. I have gained something valued or cared about.
  • Excitement - Future holds possibility of getting my needs met or gaining something I value.
  • Gratitude - Someone else has met a need that I have.
  • Pride - I have expressed my values in some meaningful way.

So, what emotion(s) am I experiencing right now?

If I just notice or observe that emotion, what can I learn about myself?

How can I be “response-able” for what happens next in my life?