All Emotions Are Valid
# 44 on my, 99 Life Tips — A List is: Allow everyone in your life to feel how they feel, they’re going to anyway. If you tell them they shouldn’t feel a certain way, you’re alienating yourself by your own emotional ignorance.
To start, I want to acknowledge and thank John Gottman, author of multiple books, relationship and marriage therapist par excellence, and founder of the John Gottman Institute, where many fine people continue his work on relationships and emotional maturity. Many of the things I will touch on in this article I learned from reading his books and watching his videos and Ted Talks (like this one with over a million views).
I’ll also be linking to several articles for further reading. I promise I’m not intentionally plagiarizing any specific comment, phrase, or idea, but after 16 years of assimilation, I’ve adopted a lot of the language as my own.
Wow. Where do I start with this one? It is regrettable that I discovered the truth that all feelings are valid, far too late in my life. 40 years old, married, and the father of 7 kids, I was an emotional idiot, alternately over or under reacting to the negative emotions of the people around me. I even became a full-time minister. Nevertheless, I possessed zero, ZERO emotional intelligence. Why? Mostly because of how I was raised, and consequently conditioned, to deal with negative emotions.
Before proceeding, it must be noted that emotions, typically thought of as feelings, are not just feelings. They are behaviors, too. They are behaviors, too. The feeling of anger can give rise to an outburst (behavior). Negative emotions form patterned responses (including associated behaviors) from a young age.
Four Parenting Styles
Gottman identifies four distinct parenting styles that influence the development of these patterned reactions. These styles imprint children for dealing with negative emotions as they grow into adulthood. I’ve linked an article outlining each of the styles. Only one of them can develop emotionally stable kids who grow up to be emotionally intelligent and emotionally mature adults. That style is the ”Emotion Coach”.