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How do we experience an emotion? What are emotions? Do I know them (knowledge)?

Session was another enlightening session. Many learnings were acquired through the session. Starting with the storytelling exercise and how we end up making stories. The major takeaway or learning point was that everyone makes his own story based on his own mode, background, and understanding of the same scene… I should stop making stories as it’s not real, it’s my own creation. The second learning is developing knowledge about the learning model based on the “consciousness/unconsciousness” and “competence/incompetence” matrix. It’s my first time coming across this model. Though it makes sense, and I know it, I still have to develop a much more thorough understanding of how to use it through my discovery journey. The third learning was through my meeting with a friend, discussing our jotted emotions and the list of emotions provided. Through the discussion, we discovered that we can realize that those emotions are happening at a specific moment, leading us to question how different people would experience the same emotions- i.e., do we all experience happiness the same way? If we don’t, what is the reason behind the differing levels of intensity? We asked each other what the reasons behind the different emotions we jotted are and how we can change the emotions that are not serving us… By the end of our talk, we concluded that any emotion – for example, happiness – is experienced at different intensities as a result of everyone’s different circumstances and moments they are going through.

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Moments…By the end of our last session and our individual meeting, the word “moments” started popping into my thoughts every now and then… I started watching and appreciating my moments, cooking, praying, reading, chatting, etc. Our life is a series of moments where some we realize, while others we do not…. Do we realize the ones where we experience certain feelings, reactions, experiences, etc.? I do understand that we are emotional creatures, and emotions are blessings that we intrinsically have to serve us. The question is: are we always utilizing emotions to serve us? Do we truly understand and appreciate our emotions? For me, this the starting point of the journey. What are emotions? Do I know them (knowledge)? Do I know how to use them as I should (knowing), or do I use them in a way that harms me? Can I master it to the level that it becomes my unconscious competence? If I managed to reach that, then am I emotionally intelligent? And to what degree? Is emotional intelligence a skill that can be mastered, or is it a continuous learning process?

This made me think about why some people, when they are angry, they become vocal, or they are ready to behave in a way that stresses everyone around them. What makes them become vocal? And how can they change that behavior (being vocal)? What happens at that specific moment that makes them react the way they do…..was there a moment before that? What do they feel a moment after their reaction and behavior? Does that anger feeling continue?

I understand that our life is a series of moments (some dictionaries define moments as the present – or define it as a particular time or occasion). Of course, not everything and everyone we experience through different moments stir an emotional reaction, but there are moments where we tend to be emotional and react accordingly. This reaction will have an impact on ourselves (can be good or harmful) or affect our relationship with others (either in our favor or otherwise). As per our session, we are encouraged to learn about emotions (what they are and how we experience them during our individual meetings). The questions here, how do we experience an emotion? How can we tell that we are experiencing a specific emotion? My answer to this question is based on my knowledge that emotions are physical experiences that manifest themselves in many different ways, and they are affecting our thoughts and actions. But the question is, how does the emotion happen or surface? It exists based on our interaction with our internal thoughts or the external environment – for example, at a certain moment, we receive information from the outside environment through our five senses. This information is processed as an emotion first and later translated into a feeling. Any emotion has a physical manifestation in our body (we can be aware or unaware of it); as for me, I know that when I am angry, I feel severe lower back pain.

The art and skill of discovering and understanding our own emotions are critical. I believe getting in touch with ourselves and understanding it starts with understanding emotions, as this can be the pre-state for knowing how we can manage our reaction to a specific emotion. Looking forward to more such sessions where we can develop more understanding about how to understand our emotions and how this can help us develop our self-awareness competence.

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