Crucial Skills®

A Blog by Crucial Learning

Trainer Insights

Why suppress my feelings? Don’t feelings count for something?

Cricket BuchlerCricket Buchler is a Master Trainer.

Q I feel I have to comment on the subject of feelings and thinking relating to telling a story. Feelings are a gut reaction—I don’t block those basic senses.Thinking it through comes after that and relating it all into something cohesive i.e. a story. But to try and block feelings is to block creativity and who we are. There has to be a way to release feelings, not keep them hidden, it’s not healthy to suppress things. There is always diplomacy, tact and manners to control too many urges that may result in something too embarrassing to express, but feelings do count for a lot.

A I agree! It would be unhealthy for us to deny ourselves and others the opportunity to experience our feelings. That, to me, is the precisely the beauty of crucial skills tools – that they give us an outlet for sharing our thoughts and feelings in a way that other people will easily be able to hear and understand us.

Like you suggest, many of us often experience emotional reactions quickly. I agree that we should not try to block these feelings, but rather try to embrace them and help others understand what we’re experiencing. Sometimes, though, it is precisely because we’re feeling emotional that it becomes difficult to do as you suggest: show diplomacy, tact and manners. In those crucial moments, I find it helpful to be able to retrace in my mind what exactly is causing those feelings.

Why? Because when I don’t take the time to articulate my story, when I simply lead with my feelings, often I am met with confusion and/or resentment from others. Then I have to deal with their emotional response too!

Taking the time to walk back down the path to action allows the conversation to be clearer. The idea is that we SHOULD be able to communicate our hurt and frustration with others. When we can take a moment to identify what story is causing these emotions, it gives a clearer picture to the other person what we’re asking for in the conversation. It’s also helpful to remember that unless we explain to the other person our interpretation of events, they are likely to believe that we see the situation as they do – which may or may not be true. By entering into dialogue, I believe we give ourselves and others a better opportunity to understand where we’re coming from, and likewise open ourselves up to the possibility of learning more about the situation from another perspective.


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