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Brainhack by Neil Pavitt

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34 Take Part in Name Calling

“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their own names.”

Chinese Proverb

“You need to get in touch with your emotions” is a phrase you hear a lot these days, in relation to growing as a person.

But do you need to get in touch with them?

There are lots of emotions I don't want to get in touch with: intimidated, scared, insecure, lonely, unhappy, angry, upset, sad, patronized, humiliated … I could go on about the appointment with my doctor, but I won't.

The fact is there are a lot of emotions that can have quite an overpowering effect on us. But our emotions are there to help us. We need our feelings to signal to us about the dangers and opportunities that we face from within and without. But when our emotions get too strong they just take over and we can't function properly.

But there is a simple technique that can really help to diffuse negative emotions. Name them. I don't mean give each emotion its own pet name: “This is my insecurity, but I call it ‘Norman'”. No, what I mean is when you feel an overpowering emotion, just say the name of it.

Image described by surrounding text.

Obviously if you're in the company of someone you say it in your head, but if you're alone, saying it out loud can give it more authority.

For instance if someone says they don't like what you're wearing, you might say “humiliated”, or if some one cuts you up when you're driving, you might say “angry”. ...

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