It’s very likely that you haven’t ever heard the term Emotional Agility. Yet, you would do good to get acquainted with it, at the earliest.
Owing to our manifold vulnerabilities, we are always taught to display strength. Negativity, weakness, or any sort of incapability is seen as something that has to be hidden from the world.
Now, would you not be surprised if I say that such moralities are, in fact, farcical? Most of you would. But here’s the thing.
Sometimes, this halo over positive behaviour renders you incapable of dealing with crucial real-life situations. Imagine a reality wherein feelings are measured by their degree of honesty and not by how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ they are. A world where we are not judged for what we feel. That’s tempting, indeed!
What psychologist Susan David tells us about positive behaviour?
According to her, the need to behave positively all the time actually hinders our ability to cope with our feelings. Obviously, this harms our daily life and we are living in constant denial.
In her motivating TED talk, titled The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage, Dr David quoted the World Health Organisation in pointing out a crucial fact. At present, depression is the leading disability in the world. Cases of depression outnumber even those of cancer and diseases of the heart.
At the same time, we are being told not to feel sadness, anger, or grief. The obvious effect is that we don’t know how to correctly deal with them and this is gravely devastating. We inevitably push these emotions down and they turn into our demons.
What’s problematic about this tendency?
Morality is now being equated with positive behaviour. As a result, ordinary emotions are regarded as either bad or good. David views this constant urge to be positive as a sort of cruelty. For her, it’s an act of tyranny that we are committing upon ourselves and others. Suppressing negativity only makes it stronger and this makes the entire process quite ineffective. It makes us see the world as it ought to be and not as it is.
Why Emotional Agility is essential?
True happiness can only be found when we are being completely honest with our emotions. Moreover, apart from acceptance of the emotions, it is also imperative that we let go of the baggage of the good and the bad. This is what emotional agility is primarily about.
However, it also teaches us to actually recognise our true feelings. It is essential that we categorise our emotions. This allows us to deal with them better. After all, emotions are analyzed sensory data and not mere “directives”.
How to take control of yours?
It is very important that you aren’t overpowered by your emotions. Instead of thinking “I am sleepy”, approach it as “I notice that I feel sleepy”.