Emotional literacy

One of the skills that I have been cultivating over the last few years is emotional literacy. This is a set of skills involving understanding what I’m feeling, what possible neural activity is driving those feelings, and whether it’s what I want to be feeling and what actions I should take if it’s not.

The most significant piece of this, for me, is just being aware of what I’m feeling throughout the day. I think a lot of the time before this I was only aware of emotions when they were extremely strong, but understanding what I’m feeling when I’m not feeling strong feelings – when I’m only feeling slight ones, or no emotions at all, also helps inform what changes I should make in my life and my ways of thinking. Since I want to have better experiences than I’m currently having, being aware of what actions are emotionally null, or emotionally negative is helpful in learning how I should shape my future life.

I wonder how many of my friends study their emotional responses during the day, and what they have learned.

One of the things I have noticed is that writing and tracking music is a highly emotional experience. Not all good – there’s the ego crashes, the frustration, the sense of the hopelessness of ever getting paid to do this.. but there’s also the highs of having that musical ‘perfect moment’ – what my friend Nicka used to call ‘music orgasms’. Comparitively, my IT job doesn’t generate a lot of emotion – in fact, emotion generally gets in the way. I always suggest to people who are angry and trying to debug computer programs that they get themselves to a more centered place first, because anger seems to be actively hostile to the logical debugging process.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that emotion often gets misdirected. I’ve observed that because of the number of subnets connected to the bus that dumps the chemicals into our bloodstreams that cause emotion, often emotions are the results of summing many inputs – and sometimes our storyteller side will tell a story about a emotion we’re feeling which isn’t completely accurate about which subnets are pushing the buttons that are resulting in us feeling that emotion. Also, because summing is involved, many emotions are the results of several components.

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