There are a whole spectrum of emotions that we could engage in and express and this grid introduces us to the core five emotional states. One way I have developed my emotional fitness work with men and boys is by using the feeling grid. The grid is interactive, it is physical and it allows movement and an exploration of a fusion of feelings. E-motions move you!
You will notice that the first grid is in greyscale – I use this to demonstrate that typically many men I work with see the world of emotions through a grey lens – very little appears to touch them, move them and enliven them. It is like the world has only two shades.
The colourful feeling grid represents an emotional world full of energy and engagement in the full spectrum of human emotion. As you will notice the grid represents five of the core emotional states. To access and express the full range of these feelings – glad (Happy), sad, scared (Fear) and mad (anger) is completely normal and healthy. You will notice I didn’t mention shame – more about that later.
Infants are typically fully integrated with their emotions and bodies, when they feel sad they cry, when they are anxious they show fear, when they are happy they can’t prevent a smile appearing on their faces and bodies, and when they are angry – everyone knows about it! What infants learn (especially male infants) as they grow up is that it is not acceptable to express the full range of emotions.
Typically these feelings are then distorted through denial, our unique defence systems and distancing. These strategies decrease the ability to express the right feeling at the right time at the right situation/person. These feelings are then internalised by emotionally beating the self up or projected /downloaded/transmitted onto the people one feel safest with.
Throughout my next few posts I will explore these core emotions and our expression of them and some of the ways they have been distorted, denied and distanced from the present moment.
How colourful is your emotional world?