8 years ago I was working on a psychological testing system based around the Dialogical Self. There’s a ton of theory and thought behind this concept (and the project) but that’s another story. What I took away from it, and that stayed with me, is a Post-It note of questions.
I read this often, because something in my mind just will not hold these questions in place. I have to re-read the list and be confronted, each and every time, by there obviousness and utility. So, if you are like me and have the emotional self-awareness of a sponge, here are some not so simple questions you can stop and ask yourself. Feeling down? Feeling happy? You know, just FEELING in general? Take a moment and answer these questions:
- What is your name for this emotion?
- Was it a sudden onset emotion or a more enduring mood?
- How long did it last?
- Did you have any bodily sensations with this emotion? (take a moment and be aware of your body, what’s it doing right now?)
- Did thoughts come into your mind? Where were the thoughts about, were they about the past, the future, the present?
- Did you act or feel like doing something or expressing this emotion?
- What brought on this emotion or mood?
- Describe the situation, was it an internal event?
- What kind of information is your emotion giving you?
- Is it telling you something about yourself, a relationship, the world?
This list has not completely altered my emotional landscape, but it HAS made me aware that a landscape exists. This is good and has helped in my personal interactions, it has helped me ask the one question I never thought to ask:
What am I missing here?