Emotional Literacy Feelings

Definition of Emotional Literacy

There are various definitions of emotional literacy, but perhaps the simplest, most precise and most practical is this:

Bren Murphy Emotional Literacy Feelings
Wheel of Emotional Literacy Tool

The ability to express feelings with specific feeling words, in 3 word sentences. (S. Hein, 1996)

For example, "I feel rejected."

This seems to be the most clear and direct way to identify your feelings

One practical and important benefit to doing this is that it helps you and others know what you need whenever there is some painful or uncomfortable feeling. 

In the case where a person feels rejected, for instance, it is an indication there is a need for acceptance. Similarly, when we feel hungry there is a need for food and when we feel thirsty we need water to satisfy our natural human need.

Emotional Literacy Worksheet Bren Murphy
Emotional Literacy - Identification With Feelings

Below is a meditation to help with identifying and accepting your feelings.

This meditation was devised by Roberto Assagioli and is in his book, Psychosynthesis (1969). It is now widely used in mindfulness based therapies including ACT: Acceptance Commitment Therapy. It should take about 20 minutes. This meditation is useful for fostering and observing, authentic self and helps to move away from being overly identified with body, feelings or mind and thoughts.

Put your body in a comfortable and relaxed position, and slowly take a few deep breaths. Then make the following affirmation, slowly and thoughtfully:

I have a body and l am not my body. My body may find itself in different conditions of health or sickness, it may be rested or tired, but that has nothing to do with my self, my real I. I value my body as my precious instrument of experience and of action in the outer world, but it is only an instrument. I treat it well, I seek to keep it in good health, but it is not myself. I have a body and I am not my body.

I have feelings and I am not my feelings. 

My feelings are diverse, changing, sometimes contradictory. They may swing from love to hatred, from calm to anger, from joy to sorrow, and yet my essence—my true nature—does not change. ‘I’ remain. 
Though a wave of feeling may temporarily submerge me, I know that it will pass in time; therefore I am not this feeling. Since I can observe and understand my feelings, and then gradually learn to direct, utilize, and integrate them harmoniously, it is clear that they are not my self.

I have feelings and I am not my feelings.

I have a mind and thoughts and I am not my mind and my thoughts. My mind is a valuable tool of discovery and expression, but it is not the essence of my being. Its contents are constantly changing as it embraces new ideas, knowledge, and experience. 

Sometimes my mind refuses to obey me. Therefore, it cannot be me, my self. I have a mind and thoughts and I am not my mind and my thoughts.

Who am I then if I am not my body, feelings or mind  I am a centre of pure awareness, love and will. This is the permanent factor in the ever-varying flow of my personal life. It is that which gives me a sense of being, of permanence, of inner balance. 

I affirm my identity with this centre and realize its permanency and its energy. I realize that from this centre of true identity I can learn to observe, direct, and harmonize all of my psychological processes including my body, feelings and mind.

I choose to achieve a constant awareness of this fact in the midst of my everyday life, and to use it to help me and give increasing meaning and direction to my life.

As a shorter version

I have a body and I am not my body

I have feelings and I am not my feelings

I have a mind and I am not my mind

I am a centre of pure awareness, love and will.

NB: Some psychosynthesis practitioners prefer to use ‘more than’ instead of ‘not’. I use both. If you are a Psychosynthesis practitioner, feel free to comment below regarding ‘more than’ or ‘not’.

Self Reflection

Which aspect were you most identified with?

Is there one part that you barely know?

How could you build a better relationship with these 3 aspects?

What was it like to realize that you are a centre of pure awareness, love and will…and not in fact your body, your feelings or your mind/thoughts?

This is a powerful exercise. You may want to find a psychotherapist experienced in this kind of meditation to help you work through an over identification with the various parts of who you are.

Alternative meditations

You can change this to suit any area of your life that you wish to separate and dis-identify from.

For example:

I have a mother and I am not my mother

I have work and I am not my work

I have things and I am not my things

I have a victim sub-personality and I am not my victim sub-personality.

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