Happy December, YWLC! Though there’s so much to celebrate, this month can be crowded with a LOT of difficult emotions and conversations. Whether you’re mentally preparing for the new year, finishing up a tough semester, or just spending time with family and old friends, this is a prime time to flex those emotional intelligence muscles – which is why we are so grateful to have gotten a refresher from grief coach Libby Carstensen.

Libby gave an in-depth presentation on how to handle difficult relationships or situations, and all the big feelings that accompany them. Thank you to all our YWLC participants and alumni who made it to the meeting – your participation made it one of our best!

Do you know how to feel your feelings?

It’s one of those things that should be intuitive, but it’s easier said than done! No matter your age, sitting with difficult feelings without distraction can feel super uncomfortable, but here are a few guiding pointers to get you started.

Describe what you’re feeling without judgement

Resist the urge to categorize it as bad or good. What do you feel? Where in the body do you feel it? Does your chest feel tight with anger? Does your stomach feel like a washing machine because of an important presentation you have to give?

Try to focus on the physical sensations for now. Closing your eyes and excusing yourself to a quiet, private area can be extremely helpful.

Name and Nurture
Sometimes, we simply do not have the language to say what it is we’re feeling. Or maybe we know, but we’re not comfortable admitting it to ourselves and others. That’s totally normal.

When your emotions feel overwhelming or unapproachable, try using an emotional wheel chart. When you find the word that best suits your emotions, validate and acknowledge it – verbally, if you can! Will it feel clunky and awkward at first? Probably, but hey, emotions are clunky and awkward sometimes.

Here is an example of how to do this: “I see you [emotion] and I allow you (or I am building capacity) to be part of my experience.”


All emotions are information

To put it plainly, nobody likes feeling sad, angry, hurt, confused, or afraid. However, we typically don’t feel these things without a cause. Your body and mind are telling you something, and you can best honor this by being curious and compassionate with yourself.

Watch out for stories

It’s easy to create a narrative of why we feel the way we feel, but when we’re in the moment and our brains are clouded by emotions, those stories aren’t going to be very helpful – or accurate.

Overanalyzing your emotions can be another form of neglecting them. Instead, focus on the present and leave the analyzing for later.

Remember that you’re not the only one

We all experience difficult feelings, no matter how mature or successful we are. They’re part of life! They serve the invaluable purpose of allowing us to connect more deeply with ourselves and others.

If you find yourself mid-cry convinced that nobody else feels sad or lonely (or whatever the case may be), ask yourself where you heard that from – chances are, you’re beating yourself up about a thought that isn’t even true.

There’s a lot more that Libby discussed. If you want to add a few new tools to your EQ arsenal, we highly recommend that you check out the full Zoom recording below:

Healthy Relationships with Libby Carstensen

No January Meeting
We’ll see you in February!