What Your Feelings Are Telling You (And Why You Should Listen)

We’ve all been in relationships where you thought things were going right and then without notice you got a bomb dropped on you that you’re being dumped. You’ve also been in situations where you thought you were prepared for a test or a presentation and ended up being more confident than you probably should have been. During these times you often feel let down by your emotions and even feel like they led you astray.

On the other hand, there have been plenty of situations where you had a bad feeling about being somewhere so you left only to find out that something bad happened afterwards. There have also been times when you had a sneaky suspicion about someone and distanced yourself from them only to find out that they were shady or scamming.

What Your Emotions Are Telling You

In both situations, your emotions were telling you something. In some of those situations your emotions were leading you astray. And in others, your emotions were leading you in the right direction. If you’re like a lot of people, you probably get tired of trying to predict what times to listen to yourself and what times not to. So you go about your day not listening to your feelings and relying on your thoughts instead. 

If you’re like most people, this fits you just fine. But listening to your emotions can have a lot of benefits – If you know what to listen for. For example, research has shown that emotional intelligence is a significant predictor of leadership effectiveness, success and job satisfaction.  Not only that but it also a common trait of successful entrepreneurs. And people with higher emotional intelligence have been shown to have more stable relationships, better understanding of others and better understanding of themselves – just to name a few.

So even though you may not understand your emotions, there is a lot to learn from them. And increasing your emotional IQ may put you ahead of the pack at work and create more depth in your relationship. So here are some tips to help you build your emotional IQ. 

Skills for Exercising Your Own Emotional Intelligence. 

1) Keep a Journal. Journals are tedious. I keep one but I’m not very regular at it. But one thing about journals is that they keep a record of our history – from our own viewpoint. Journaling gives you an opportunity to look back and see if your calculations were correct. You get a hindsight view (and hindsight is 20/20 right?) of yourself. This helps you evaluate whether your ‘hunches’ were correct and you get to see it from a trustworthy viewpoint (your own). 

2) See a Counselor. I often try to steer away from this recommendation on my blog so that it doesn’t sound like I’m shamelessly promoting myself, but this is true. A counselor helps you calibrate your emotional compass so that you know when you’re just psyching yourself out or if you really need to listen to yourself. Additionally, a counselor helps you hold yourself accountable to your thoughts and emotions so you can know the difference between the two. 

3) Experiment. You’ll never know if your emotional compass is calibrated correctly until you finally experiment. If you have a good feeling about something, go ahead and give it a try. See if it your hunch was right. If it wasn’t, you now know not to listen to that feeling. Chock it up as a learning experience and move on. This also works in relationships. If you think you have a good idea why your spouse or significant other is upset with you just ask them. If you’re right you can use it again in the future. If you’re wrong, you just had a learning experience.

4) Empathize. Empathizing with what others must be going through is a great exercise in emotional intelligence. Instead of concentrating only on what’s your own head, try to see what others are thinking and feeling. You’ll not only gain valuable insight that will help you connect with others, but you’ll also a little about yourself and how well you know other people.

Feelings are an important part of the human experience. Our advanced mammalian brains are what put us at the top of the food chain. Using our advanced brains to gain insight into ourselves and into others can not only enhance our own lives but help us to connect with others and succeed in various life arenas. 

2 Responses to What Your Feelings Are Telling You (And Why You Should Listen)

  1. Great post! I generally try to suppress emotions and let logic decide for me. It's very difficult to do and I find myself trying to balance the two. However, I rarely let my emotions lead my decision-making. I always feel as if they'll put me in harm's way more than logic.

  2. It's all about listening to your gut … your "feelings" about something or someone tell you everything you need to know, you just need to hone your skills. Logic is good, but sometimes something feels "off" and you need to listen. Great post!

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