In This Chapter
Discovering your emotions
Getting to know your emotions
Dealing with negative emotions
In this chapter, you can get to the heart of what emotional intelligence is all about. I start out with a big assumption: that everyone has feelings. Unless you're Spock from Star Trek (and sometimes I have my doubts about him), somewhere within you, you have feelings. You laugh, you cry, you get angry, you get sad, you're perplexed, you're excited, you're surprised, or you're just plain bored. Day or night, rain or shine, if you stop and think about it, you're feeling something.
Well, you don't experience feelings if you have a disorder called alexithymia (pronounced alex-i-thyme-ia). The literal translation from Greek is "lack of feelings." Alexithymia is a rare psychiatric disorder, although a large body of research shows that it can exist in various degrees in the population — mostly in men, and not in huge numbers.
Generally, these people can't identify, understand, or describe their own emotions. They can't tell one feeling from another. They don't know whether they feel happiness, sadness, or some other emotion. And if you ask them to describe how they feel, they tend to look at you with a blank stare. They also have trouble imagining events that would help them identify feelings.
So (assuming you're not alexithymic), in this chapter, I explore ways in which you can be more aware of your emotions.
Much debate exists ...