Executive & Life Coach, INDIA
What is Emotional Awareness?
Emotional awareness is being fully aware of your emotions in such a way that you always know why you are feeling the way you are feeling. It is the first step needed towards getting rid of any bad mood that visits you. After all, you need to be aware of the presence of an emotion in order to be able to get rid of it.
Emotional awareness means knowing when feelings are present in us and others. It is closely related to emotional literacy which means being able to label feelings with specific feeling words. At its highest level it means being able to predict feelings in advance.
What is anger?
Anger is an emotion related to one’s psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged or denied and a tendency to undo that by retaliation. R.Novaco recognized three modalities of anger: cognitive (appraisals), somatic- affective (tension and agitations) and behavioral (withdrawal and antagonism).(1) DeFoore describes anger as a pressure cooker; we can only apply pressure against our anger for a certain amount of time until it explodes.(2) Anger may have physical correlates such as increased heart rate, blood pressure, and level of adrenaline and non-adrenaline. Anger can have many physical and mental consequences.
The external expression of anger can be found in facial expressions, body language, physiological responses, and at times in public acts of aggression. Humans and animals for example make loud sounds, attempt to look physically larger, bare their teeth, and stare. While most of those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of “what has happened to them,” psychologists point out that an angry person can very well be mistaken because anger causes a loss in self-monitoring capacity and objective observation.
Anger has a cascading effect, it numbs brain and body, the thinking process gets completely clouded by negativity and unpredicted emotional outbursts take place. It appears that the angry person is taken over by a demon that has devoured all
the finer human qualities of mind and heart. What shows up is a stranger who has no heart, mind and soul.
Anger is not only directed at others but more than often human beings are angry at their own selves. They feel totally worthless and the feeling of disempowerment takes over. Self-anger leads to a feeling of guilt, worthlessness and helplessness pushing them into a cocoon of inactivity and unhappy state of mind. Anger leads to loss of freedom and disempowerment
What is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is the most precious gift you can give yourself and unto others. It unburdens the pain and anguish of angst and releases one from self-imposed shackles of sorrow and helplessness. It encourages delving deep within the self and seeing what lies there within which is at the root of all stress and anger in one’s life. It means to accept the diversity of life and living by reframing perspectives and beliefs which are detrimental to our joyous being.
Forgiveness is that celestial nectar which enriches and nourishes the provider and the receiver both. Expectations and seeking perfection from one’s own self and all others who form one’s core group and extended group, are more than very often at the root of all anger, stress and frustrations of life. Forgiveness is all encompassing, non-judgmental and all embracing. It is in every human being and emerges from the milk of human awareness and kindness. Forgiving relieves one of the burdens of the past and creates a space where hurt, pain, anger and loneliness cannot exist. One begins to heal and enjoy the beauty of life. Forgiveness is a tool which enables you to focus on what’s in it for you - it’s not always about who was right. Remind yourself that forgiving can free you to move on with your life.
Forgiveness gives the remote of life’s power in the hands of the forgiver. One can recreate and re-design one’s dream life by forgiving and moving on with life. One must remember that life is not harboring past pains but living in the present moment and having the vision of a bright and beautiful future. You may have been hurt by something that someone did to you. You may have been hurt because your expectations weren’t met. You may have been hurt and you don’t even remember why. You may have done something to someone else that you are sorry for. And you remember the pain and carry it with you like a grudge everywhere you go. Forgiveness does not deny responsibility for behavior. You have simply committed to not hold the other person in debt. Forgiveness provides you the freedom to live in peace and to be able to change for the better.
Forgiveness vs Anger:
Hawkins (2002) conducted a study around the levels of human consciousness and the energy fields connected to them. (3) Specific energy fields were localized to a range of values that corresponded to sets of attitudes and emotions. The results of this study are extraordinary. Hawkins places the values on a scale of 1- 1000, 1000 being the highest level of energy. Forgiveness is the emotion which emerges from the value of acceptance and has a higher energy level, 350/1000. Anger leads to the emotion of hatred and the energy level is very low, only 150/1000.
Radha and Kishore (names changed to protect identity) had been married for the past 15 years. Their marriage had been fairly good. They both loved each other and would go out of their ways to add value to each other’s life. With the worldwide recession and economic meltdown the company in which Kishore was working faced heavy financial losses. His salary too was not being paid since the last two months which caused a lot of stress and frustration at home. He started having problems with the team he was heading and with the CEO of the company. Things had come to a point that small bickering started taking heinous shapes at work and at home. The lady employed by Radha to help her with house hold chores stopped working as her salary did not get paid.
One evening Kishore returned home after a tough day at work and found Radha feeling very tired and sick. She grudgingly and angrily asked Kishore to help her with the laundry and dishes. This irritated and angered him and he refused to do anything to help her. They ended up having a heated argument leading to venomous exchange of dialogues. It turned so bad that Radha packed her stuff and marched out to her parents’ home. Anger spewed venom at both of them and ruined a beautiful relationship. Radha narrated the entire incident to her parents. She was fuming and hurting.They listened quietly and carefully showing empathy and love. Her father called Kishore and listened intently to his side of the story. Kishore too was very hurt and the parents understood how anger had engulfed their loving relationship.Radha’s mother encouraged her to see a Life Coach.Radha’s coach provided a confidential space and established her current mentaland emotional being through the tools of Powerful Questions, Values Finder,Strengths Finder, Empathetic Listening and Silence. Thereafter he started careful probing and exploring about Radha’s relationship with her husband. The coach encouraged and created self-awareness in Radha. During the coaching sessions the coach used the tool of Perceptual Positioning. He moved Radha through the following steps:
1. Radha describe what happened and why it happened?
2. Radha take another chair and visualize yourself as Kishore. Kishore describe what happened and why it happened?
3. Get up from this chair and take another chair. Now just observe the whole situation through an observer’s eyes. Tell me what happened and why it happened?
Radha was made to view the situation through her own perspective, through Kishore’s perspective, and then through the eyes of an observer. The Perceptual Positioning helped her to understand how anger had negatively overpowered her mental and emotional intelligence. Radha found a complete shift in her mental and emotional perspective. She felt relaxed and at peace with Kishore and herself. She realized that forgiveness was a boon and nurturing angst would be a bane ruining her relationship with Kishore.
Radha went back home to Kishore and apologized for her angry outbursts. Kishore hugged her and apologized for his behavior too. Both felt blessed at choosing forgiveness over anger. The couple realized that pointing fingers and placing blame through angry outbursts nearly ruined their marriage. The above case study tells us how forgiveness is all powerful and anger is all disempowering. Choosing forgiveness over anger is the key to success, happiness and peace.
Forgiveness = Freedom + Empowerment + Happiness
Anger = Loss of Freedom + Disempowerment + Unhappiness
Forgiving others, and ourselves, does not mean that we approve of whatever has happened. Forgiveness is self-focused and has nothing to do with others. When we forgive someone, we free ourselves from the burden of anger. When we decide to forgive we generate new possibilities in our life. Self-forgiveness makes one feel worthy of love, happiness and joy. It discourages self-criticism and encourages feelings of worthiness. It causes realization that there is nothing right or wrong in feeling vulnerable. One must hold a positive vision for self. This gives options to move on in life. It is all about choices. Choose to forgive yourself and then move forward and let go of your past. Live in the present moment and enjoy the journey of life itself. Forgiveness is an antidote for anger and a key to solving several problems of life such as hurt feelings, guilt, depression, marriage, child rearing, and divorce.
When we accept forgiveness we become calm, restful and selfless. A new awakening happens and we realize the beauty of forgiveness. We feel enthusiastic, energetic, supportive, motivated and committed towards ourselves and others. By choosing forgiveness we let go of anger. We get the remote of power to change the very path of our life. There is no need for anger as you have the power now to act in peace with yourself and with the universe.
1. What are certain events and situations that make you feel irritated and angry?
2. How will it make you feel if you chose forgiveness over anger?
3. What are the reasons you can attribute to irritating you into fits of rage?
4. Why do you think we need to forgive our self and others?
It is highly imperative for the coach to be aware of his or her emotional state before entering a coaching relationship. A coach should never enter a coaching relationship while nurturing angst and hurt for self or others who might be the cause of it all.
There are many techniques that a coach can use to help a client choose forgiveness over anger.
- Exploring ‘Why, when, where, how and what causes ‘anger’ to show up in the client’s life.
- Creating self-awareness in the client to recognize any underlying beliefs, values or perspectives which cause ‘anger’.
- By making the clients recap the entire incident which led to the volcanic outburst of anger. Most of the time human beings feel that it is that proverbial ‘other person’ who is always at fault.
- By using the tool of ‘Perceptual Positioning’ the coach can easily make the client see the entire scenario from three different perspectives, firstly as himself or herself, secondly as the other person and thirdly as the observer.
- Viewing the issue from three different perspectives it dawns upon the client that a trivial issue was blown out of proportions because of anger. The client realizes that committing to forgiveness and fundamentally to one’s own self is the very first feeling towards peace and happiness.
1. As a coach, how will you choose forgiveness over anger in a coaching relationship?
2. What are some questions you could ask your client to shift their perspective from anger and hatred to forgiveness and love?
1.Novaco, R. W. Anger control: The development and evaluation of an
experimental treatment. Lexington,Mass.: Lexington Books, D. C. Heath, 1975.
2. G DeFoore: Anger Among Angels: Shedding Light on the Darkness of the
Human Soul, Health Communications, Inc., 2000.
3. Dr. David Hawkins: “Power vs. Force – The Hidden Determinants of Human
Behavior” (Hawkins, 2002).