Emotional mastery involves becoming aware of your feelings and learning how to direct them. This allows you to use your emotions to your advantage instead of being led by them.
“You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing everything with logic. If words control you that means everyone can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass.” – Bruce Lee
Be Present in the Moment
I used to spend a lot of energy wondering what people thought about me. It fueled a lifelong quest for perfection that was never really attainable. Then, I realized something. I was spending so much time trying to get everything right, much of life was passing me by. Here’s my advice as you begin your journey to emotional awareness:
People want you present, enjoying the moment with them. That’s more important than getting every detail right.
Everyone goes through a variety of emotions every day. What sets you apart is how you deal with them. You can use your emotions to achieve greater openness, balance and peace, and satisfying relationships. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or how educated you are, you can experience a deep awareness of your feelings and guide them to become the person you want to be.
Here are some tips that it took a while to learn along the way. I hope they help you learn to maintain emotional equilibrium.
- Sometimes, learning what not to do is the most valuable thing you can do. In life and at work, you can really learn how to do something by making mistakes and receiving the necessary correction.
- Look for the value other people bring to the table, even if you believe you’ll have a hard time finding common ground. Everyone has unique skills and qualities that can enrich the workplace or collaboration within an organization. Don’t let differences such as culture, personality and background limit your point of view.
- Learn how to redirect rather than lash out. If someone says something outrageous or nonsensical, try asking them, “Do you hear yourself right now?” This can help them become aware of their actions and think through their next sentence. So, it’s possible to redirect without experiencing conflict.
Learn How to Ask the Right Questions and Detect Emotional Shifts
Do you want to change someone’s mind? Telling them what to do or what you think they should do can cause them to have the opposite reaction. Instead, consider asking questions that challenge their assumptions. Allowing them to come to the realization on their own gives them the opportunity to change their mind without feeling challenged.
It’s also important to pay attention to emotional shifts. You can do this by asking questions or making observations. For example, “I notice you seem a bit tense. can you tell me what you’re feeling?” This helps people better understand their reaction and may open them to new possibilities.
Practice Emotional Awareness and Fine-tuning Daily
“Self-mastery calls for thorough familiarity with one’s mental and emotional strengths. And it calls for sustaining a commitment to personal growth – the understanding of what makes you tick as an individual – as well as personal development.” — Charles Garfield
If you have someone in your life who seems to always press the wrong buttons, you can stay in charge of your feelings and ride through the emotions without overreacting. In fact, facing moments of frustration, anger and annoyance can help you achieve emotional mastery.
Checking in with your emotions at least once a day helps you stay in control when you have to interact with challenging personalities. Here’s an exercise I use to focus my emotions:
- Start by concentrating on your body one area at a time. Release the tension by relaxing your muscles.
- Ground yourself by focusing on your core.
- Choose one emotion or thought to evaluate nonjudgmentally, as an observer.
- Consider the emotion or thought as you breathe evenly.
Ask yourself, “What am I feeling?” and figuring out why can help you become more aware and in control of your thoughts and feelings.
How Emotional Mastery Benefits Your Life
Emotional mastery benefits your life in numerous ways, including the following:
- Maintain peacefulness and balance even in trying circumstances.
- Make better decisions based on facts not feelings.
- Even out emotional highs and lows.
- Accept yourself and become less judgmental.
- Conserve your personal energy and lead a happier life
Emotional mastery is closely related to emotional intelligence.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
“Anyone can become angry —that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way —this is not easy.” – Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics
Emotional intelligence, aka EI, refers to the ability to manage your thoughts and feelings. If you have a high degree of EI, you could read your own emotions pretty well and predict how they will impact others.
Emotional intelligence can determine the success of leaders. I once had a manager who constantly screamed at team members in full view of the entire open office. Many team members reacted by quitting, requesting transfers or simply shutting down. Everyone was reluctant to tell the boss when things went wrong for fear of another meltdown. Of course, when the boss found out, it initiated another yelling session. It was very unhealthy for everyone involved, and, needless to say, his tenure as our leader was short-lived.
“Leadership is not domination, but the art of persuading people to work toward a common goal.”
― Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence
According to Daniel Goleman, who helped bring emotional intelligence into the mainstream, there are five components to EI:
- Social skills
Self-actualized leaders and conscientious employees exhibit all five of these qualities.
Let’s take a look at what Tony Robbins suggests for taking control of your emotions and achieving emotional intelligence.
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Mastering Your Emotions
Tony Robbins believes that it takes six steps to master your emotions.
1. Identify what you’re feeling.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What am I feeling at this moment?
- Am I really feeling [specific emotion]?
- If not, what am I really feeling?
2. Acknowledge your emotions without judgment.
Mastering your emotions does not mean denying them or shutting down. Instead, it’s important to acknowledge your emotions without guilt or judgement. Your emotions are part of who you are. If you make yourself feel that certain emotions are wrong, it can discourage you from being honest with yourself. This can hinder your efforts to take control of your thoughts and feelings.
3. What can a particular emotion offer you?
It’s OK to approach your feelings with curiosity. In fact, this can help you develop a deeper understanding of them. The more questions you ask, the better equipped you’ll be to interrupt disruptive emotions and prevent unproductive emotional responses.
4. Build Your Confidence.
When I first started practicing emotional mastery, I often became impatient with my inability to put negative emotions into check. However, I also gain confidence every time I successfully managed my emotions and handled tricky situations tactfully, with full emotional awareness.
5. Allow yourself the certainty that you can handle difficult emotions.
This may seem like a lot to unpack. However, you build confidence by rehearsing different situations and gaining poise and assurance, which are valuable qualities in themselves. Practicing this step helped me build confidence and made me feel like a weight was lifted off my chest when I had to deal with complex situations and interact with coworkers I rarely agreed with.
6. Get excited and your newfound powers.
Gaining emotional mastery is like finding out you have a superpower. You should get excited about it and use it for the greater good. When you find yourself in a difficult situation, take a breath and remember that you can easily handle whatever emotions crop up. Then, take action and prove it.
Without a mastery of your emotions, you can be the most skilled worker in the company and have great technical know-how. It won’t matter how hard you work. If you cannot balance your emotions and work collaboratively and respectfully with others, you’ll find yourself left behind when it comes time for promotions.
On the other hand, emotional intelligence is now a part of many corporate training programs. You can gain admiration and respect without raising a hand if you know how to handle your emotions and express your ideas with passion and without making others feel diminished.