This brings me to Chapter 2 of the PYP Bookclub reading Onward by Elena Aguilar. Here she talks about understanding and accepting emotions because this allows you to see where you can - and cannot - influence a situation. It helps you to let go of what is outside of your control. As a coach, one of the things I find difficult still is not getting caught up in the emotions of others. At times we have to hear difficult, even traumatic, testimonies, and acknowledging a person's feelings about these is the first step to helping them to explore their own emotions.
Elena writes about how emotions are reactions to an event. She describes the 6 part cycle of an emotion, which I'm summarising below:
- An external event happens and this can also trigger internal thoughts and memories.
- You interpret the event - your mind makes sense of what has happened.
- The event and your interpretation lead to a physical response in your body.
- Alongside this physical response, you feel an urge to do something. You may or may not act on this impulse.
- You may act - and at this point you may also feel out of control of your behaviour.
- The original emotion starts to affect other emotions, thoughts and behaviours. You might need time to process the original emotion, or perhaps a secondary emotion is triggered.