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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday Tip - 02-03-2009

Have you ever heard of secondary and primary emotions? A secondary emotion occurs because another emotion caused it. Anger is almost always a secondary emotion. Primary emotions that typically cause anger are fear, embarrassment, or depression. Lets look at a real life example to illustrate this further.

A wife is angry that her husband and children messed up the house while she was out. All she sees and thinks about is being angry. She has no clue what has really caused the anger, unless she takes some time to think about it. (Which reminds me of this phrase: You can't be angry when you are thinking and you can't be thinking when you are angry). She may be embarrassed to have a messy house. Or she may feel threatened because she knows that it will cost her time and energy to clean up. Or it may overwhelm her as she sees cleaning up as one more thing on her to do list.

Normally when someone expresses anger, usually others shut down and don't listen. Anger separates people. However talking about primary emotions brings people together. If she would say "I am overwhelmed when I see that I have more work to do" instead of letting off an angry tirade, the chances are greater that her husband and children will connect with her and work to solve the issue instead of shutting down.

So take some time and try to identify your primary emotion and not just react.

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