Those of you that are familiar at all with my work know that I am committed to the development of emotional literacy in my patients. My secret-not-so-secret mission is to help every person that walks into my office leave me with greater access, vocabulary and maneuver of the language of feelings. Why? Because such is the speak of intimacy. It is the fertile field of life’s connective terrain.

Here are common words that are often used as feelings, but they are NOT: Okay. Fine. Alright. Nothing. Tired. Nice. And, thank you.

Yes, even manners stop the emotional flow between two people. It is much more connecting to say, “I feel grateful, touched or loved” than to dead stop the dialogue with rote politeness.

What are you doing to teach your kids such an essential language needed for successful adult relationships? Children are feelings. They are impulsive balls of explosive emotional energy that they then hurl into action. They don’t know what else to do with their confusing internal lives.

As their primary teachers, it is our job to give them a language for such internal chaotic states. This serves to help them feel understood and emotionally organized in the whirlwind of the new and unknown. When we label and help them to understand the world of feelings, they calm into a sense of normalization and mastery. Their internal and external world becomes more manageable and thus, less scary. They have words to describe what they feel and what they need.

Sounds great, eh? If you missed this emotional education as a child (and, most of us did – we got the “suck it up” version), then it’s not too late for you. You can also learn and broaden your emotional ABCs. It’s just up to you now.

For the rise of your life …