“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” Paul Meyer
Vocabulary. Remember having ‘vocabulary tests’ in school? As a grade school student every week we would be responsible for learning another random list of words, how to spell them and how to define them and how to use them in a sentence.
Some of us may continue to expand our vocabulary over the course of our lives, and many of the additions are foisted upon us by society as new words evolve and are created due to new inventions and innovations in technology.
Many of us come to the point where we gradually add to and improve our vocabulary less and less, generally having more than enough words to get through life just fine. Although, most of us could make an adequate list of twenty dollar words, there often seem to be a shortage of words that would fall into the category of feeling words.
Unfortunately, many of us have a very limited vocabulary in this area—often having just a few words such as mad, happy, and sad. While these are very definite emotions, the list could be much expanded (in fact I have a list in my office of over 350 feeling words!) The unfortunate thing is that the reason for this limit is usually due to the fact that we do not really pay attention to how we feel. For the most part, it is not something we are taught to do. We know that we either feel good, or feel bad, and we tend to leave it at that.
The truth is, the only way we can communicate with someone else effectively and make a strong emotional connection is to first know how we feel.
Recently someone told me that they were happy with their life, but the energy of happiness was definitely not present in their words. I realized that what they probably were was grateful. They were grateful for their health, for their supply, for their abundance, for their success. Gratitude is a stepping stone to happiness, surely, but not the same thing. Knowing the difference could make the difference between being happy or just being grateful.
As tempting as it might be to shrug these differences off as being just semantics, there really is an importance to being able to correctly identify our true feelings. If I can identify that I feel mistrustful, I can begin to ask myself “why?”, and then begin to take steps to build trust. But if all I know is that I feel “bad”, I may never make the progress to feeling “good”.
A very powerful exercise is to allow yourself to really feel what you are feeling, and name it. Our feelings and emotions are always produced by our needs being met or unmet. Once we truly know how we feel we are able to recognize what needs we have that are connected to that particular feeling.
Every week I coach people through the process of figuring out what they really feel. So often at the starting point they can barely answer the question of how they feel because they have such a limited vocabulary. I encourage you to expand your vocabulary of ‘feeling words’.
“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.” Anthony Robbins
Knowing how you feel is the very first step in communicating powerfully and creating strong emotional connections, lasting relationships, and a quality life.
Here’s to knowing exactly how you feel,