What is your definition of a good relationship?
Your answer could be the key that opens a future full of vibrant, healthy, empowering relationships.
There are four basic types of emotional personalities. Granted, none of us is purely one or the other. Your emotional type governs how you see others in your circle of influence. It also determines how you interact and respond. Where do you find yourself?
People probably consider you the silent one in the group. They can pretty much say or do anything and you rarely get ruffled. If they are crying, you don't get upset. If they are loud and outgoing, you probably just smile at their antics. In your group of friends or at work, you may be considered the most dependable.
Though this is good for them, it can be tough for you.
As the strong, steady, silent type - it can be hard for you to express your feelings and emotions to others. You probably hear, "What are you really feeling?" all the time. And, the truth is, you may not know.
You are accustomed to observing from the outside and typically don't get involved in the depths of the situations around you.
In order to have deeper and more meaningful relationships, here are a couple of tips for you to help you get in touch with your emotional core.
- Instead of WAITING for someone else to initiate intimacy or an emotional exchange, YOU initiate the activity.
- Keep a record of your day. Jot down any emotions you felt. Take the time to really express yourself. Were you happy? Mad? Jealous? There's not right or wrong here.
In your relationships, you may often believe that all of that emotional stuff is unnecessary. You may appear distant and uncaring, or perhaps disconnected from what is happening around you. However, you'll want to remember that not everyone processes emotion in the same way you do.
In order for you to have stronger, more meaningful relationships, you'll want to look for ways you can make yourself available emotionally. Consider that you are building a bridge where you can both meet in the middle. This isn't necessary in every relationship, but it is critical for the people you care about the most.
This could be you if you are fully aware of how you feel and are quick to share those feelings with others. No one ever has to wonder what you think and feel because you are a geyser of emotion. Are you quick to pick up the phone, or post on social media when something is going on in your life?
The good thing about you is that when something bad happens, you usually can process it and let it go. The bad thing, is that your friends and coworkers may get tired of your over sharing of all of your emotions.
Sometimes, you can appear to be an all about me kind of person. No matter what is happening to others, you take it personally and may have a story of your own to share. This can make the people in your relationships feel that you are not interested in their lives.
Here are a few ideas to strengthen your personal relationships, without giving up your own emotional strengths.
- Before sharing your feelings with someone, take a few minutes to look inward. Try to solve the challenge from your own wisdom or experience before seeking someone else's opinion or advice.
- Do you find that when other's start sharing their challenges or struggles, you begin to talk? Discipline yourself to be quiet and listen to them. Allow them to relate their frustrations, joys, or wins without making a personal observation or comment. Rejoice WITH them - grieve WITH them - not instead of them.
Your quick-to-respond tendencies can make people ill-at-ease. There isn't any need to change who you are, but it can be helpful to temper your initial responses. The people closest to you need to know that you are there for them in a consistent way, not just in the heat of the moment.
Remember too, that it is important to keep the inner working of your relationships private. No one likes to find out their challenges or struggles have been opened up for public revue.
Do you soak up the emotions of every one around you? Are you prone to cry easily over someone else's sadness? Are you angered quickly about someone else's injustice.
Have you ever been called overly sensitive or too emotional? Do you need time alone to recharge after you've been with groups of people? Are you hypersensitive to noise?
As an emotional sponge, your reactions can be stronger than the person for whom you feel empathy. This wears you out, and can wear them out, too.
One of the great things about you is your deep love and caring for the people around you. This is a wonderful personality trait.
The challenge comes when these emotions become too much for you to bear. You can often feel trapped in situations because you are overcome with the emotions swirling around and inside of you.
Try these simple tricks to help you stay balanced throughout the day.
- Take your own vehicle, or arrange for separate transportation when attending group events. This will give you an escape hatch if and when the environment becomes overwhelming.
- Develop a meditation breath to breathe out the emotions that are pent up inside of you. Breathe in deeply, and then slowly, consciously breathe out the stress and tension of the emotions.
- Make a list of the top things that tend to cause you to feel stressed or panic. Consider why you feel this way and create a strategy to either outmaneuver or overcome the emotional turmoil.
Your empathetic soul is both a blessing and a curse. You may find that people hide things from you so that you won't be upset. Which of course, makes you even more upset. Try not to wear their life happenings as your own garments. Practice separating your emotional response from their actual life experience. Take the time to observe how THEY are reacting, before allowing the wave of emotion to overtake you. You may find that they are not as upset as you think they are.
Additionally, you may believe that because someone doesn't respond as strongly as you, that they don't care as much as you do. This is most likely a false assumption on your part. If you've taken the time to read through the different emotional types, you can see that others process emotions in different ways.
As an analyst, you most likely believe you can think your way out of any situation. You may be highly intellectual and participate in life as an observer of humanity. Most people admire you because you are able to stay calm during a crisis. They may look to you and the Rock to keep things on a steady, even keel.
When you are confronted with a situation, you tend to analyse how to solve the problem, rather than become engaged in the process. You are more comfortable in your thoughts, than in physical or emotional interplay. When your associates throw out a spontaneous idea, it is hard for you to follow along. You'd rather have, and keep to, a plan.
On the bright side, even though you don't enjoy spontaneity, it is hard to throw you off balance. Your careful consideration of the situations around you help you to observe and not be entangled in conflict.
However, this very attribute can also keep you from actively engaging in intimacy with others. It is very hard for you to go with your gut instincts. It can be hard for you to let things go, because you have to think over and through them, time and again.
Here are a few tips for you to get off of the balance sheet, and into more meaningful relationships.
- Practice asking how you can respond from your heart instead of just your head. Get out of your thoughts and into the actual situation in front of you. As you are analyzing the facts of the moment, use your keen observation skills to see how the other person is ACTUALLY reacting. Are they upset? Why? Are they happy? How are they expressing that emotion? How can you connect with the emotion in your response?
- Are you stuck in your head, going over and over a situation? Take a moment to disconnect and do something physical. Take a walk, do the dishes, play with the dog or the kids. Breaking the thought pattern will release you from what is typically called analysis paralysis.
Remember that almost no one likes their every thought and action to be analyzed. Those closest to you would like for you to simply accept their emotions instead of trying to find a reason behind them. Practice laying aside the thought process and let the emotions find their way to the surface.
Your tendency to analyze could be a protective layer. Turn your analysis on yourself to see if a past relationship is causing you to subconsciously distance yourself from those closest to you.
Relationships are never a matter of exact science. Even with all of the data to back the psychological processes, it still comes down to chemistry and environment. I do want to acknowledge an article by Dr. Judith Orloff in Psychology Today for the skeleton of this examination of emotional types.
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Would you like to investigate your personality type even more? Here's a link to a free test.