Perhaps it’s because you just got passed over for a promotion you’ve been eyeing for a while. Or perhaps it’s the sheer immensity of your seemingly endless to-do list, which somehow seems to grow faster than you can tick things off it. It may even be a passive-aggressive co-worker whom you’ve silently been putting up with for the longest time.
Knowing how to navigate through all three scenarios (and successfully emerge from them) requires a good deal of psychological resilience: the ability to tap on our inner strength to weather through the storms that come our way.
Indeed, it’s often the lack of resilience that contributes greatly to burnout and emotional exhaustion. This is especially true for millennials, who, among other things, have come to be known as the “burnout generation.”
At the core of psychological resilience, though, is emotional self-awareness. According to Daniel Goleman, bestselling author of the landmark book “Emotional Intelligence”, someone who is emotionally self-aware knows “how his feelings affect his reasoning, thinking, and ways of interacting with other people.” To know how to respond when things get tough, then, one must develop a good sense of emotional self-awareness–here’s why it’s so important.
P.S. Master the art of self-awareness to weather through the storms at work: sign up for SSA Academy’s WSQ course on applying emotional competence to manage self and others today!
Anger, disappointment, regret, frustration—none of these are unfamiliar emotions to us, both in the context of work and in life, generally speaking.
Whatever the trigger for them, learning how to effectively process and control these negative emotions is crucial.
Unfortunately, most of us often choose to go down the route of emotional suppression. Instead of dealing proactively with such negativity as and when it comes along, we sweep things under the carpet. After all, in the short-term, it’s definitely much easier to ignore the discomfort that comes with negativity than to confront it.
In the long run, though, the resulting emotional bottleneck that that creates is a ticking time bomb. The more furtively we try to convince ourselves and others that we’re “feeling fine”, the greater the long-term build-up of negativity within yourself waiting to unleash itself at the drop of a hat.
Cultivating proper emotional intelligence requires that you practice good emotional self-awareness in recognising and accepting your negative emotions. Only when you do this can you learn to engage effectively in emotional self-regulation. As the saying goes, “the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.”
This is where self-compassion comes in. Negative emotions can be messy to sort through, not to mention unpredictable and difficult to endure. Still, at some point, that pile of negativity you’ve been sweeping under the carpet all this while will become too impossible to ignore. Running away from them is only a sure-fire way to precipitate long-term discontent and emotional depletion.
Practicing self-compassion allows you to pause, take a step back and accept the reality of your disappointment, regret, or any other negative feelings that may be eating away at you. In this case, it’s not only psychologically healthy for you, it’s also necessary in order for you to move on to figuring out how you can regulate your emotions and respond constructively and proactively to the situation.