Relationships can be hard for multiple reasons, but one significant culprit is our emotions. While they seem to make life complicated, they are a natural part of communication and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. This leaves us with two choices, either let our emotions interfere with our relationships with those we love or learn how to take control of them.
Gregg Henriques, Ph.D., describes emotions, in his January 2017 article; Understanding Emotions and How to Process Them, as being in response to an experience, which then function as a catalyst for how we react to that experience. To sum it up, our emotions trigger a response.
It’s often debated whether women are genetically more emotional than men however, it really doesn’t matter when we boil it down. The quantity of emotions isn’t the issue. The issue is determining what we do when emotions present themselves within our interpersonal communications. Not to mention, we can’t control our genetic make-up so focusing on this topic as a root cause would be a waste of time.
As for the root cause of emotions, it’s pretty cut and dry. All emotions stem from needs either being met or not met. Positive emotions are a result of needs being met, and negative emotions are a result of needs not being met.
It would be silly to spend time talking about positive emotions because we like them, they’re good stuff. We appreciate them and welcome them. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Moving on.
Our time is better spent learning about negative emotions. Plenty of these come up that we could do without. I’m sorry to tell you that they won’t magically stop from creeping up, but there is one simple thing that can significantly improve our interactions and communications when they do surface, either with you or with someone else.
As stated before, negative emotions come from needs not being met. Think about a time when you were upset about something. Instead of asking yourself “Why?”, ask “What need did I have that was not being met?”. It takes a little bit of work to change the way we think, but it can be done. Once you are aware that this method provides positive results, it will come more naturally.
In our relationship with our partner, emotions fly around all the time. Often about petty things like clutter, laundry, annoying habits, who’s turn it is to do the dishes…you get the point. Then we have the emotions that arise because of much more important topics such as money, career, raising children or family. How do we usually meet the emotions of our partner? With more emotions! Now we are in a battle of feelings without doing anything to address the main issue.
Regardless of the level of importance, there is one question you can ask your partner to quickly get to the root of the emotions and work toward a resolution. Ready for it?
“What do you need?”
That’s it. Before responding with your own emotions, simply ask the question “What do you need?”. Most likely you will stop those emotions dead in their tracks. You have just shifted the conversation to something you both can work with. When someone responds with “I need more help with the responsibilities of our house.”, “I need validation that we are on the same page.”, or “I just need to know if the dishwasher has been run?”…you now can have a solid dialog working to convert the unmet need into a met need.
Focusing on the needs behind emotions in any relationship will provide more effective communication with less tension and more compassion.
Jill Sodini, Founder of Habitual Health By Jill, is a Certified Health Coach, author and speaker. She provides realistic strategies for sustainable habit change regardless of the topic. With over 20 years of work experience and education in the field of health and wellness, Jill is an expert in providing the right system, support and accountability to obtain desired health. Contact Jill to take control of your life.