For you intellectual-types, I think I have a quick way to explain a way to stop, think and relax in the presence of those feeler-types showing their human emotions… by introducing… MATH!
I’m probably butchering this, but lets look at emotions based on the concept of congruency. The balancing of a formula if you will.
Okay, here goes:
If a loved one of yours is having an outburst of emotions (and you feel super awkward) take a moment to conceptualize and then utilize this string of formulas:
SAD SITUATION + TEARS = APPROPRIATE HUMAN EMOTION
Don’t try to stop the tears or intervene – because the tears are appropriate. They are congruent with the SAD situation. This formula is balanced!
Another formula: HAPPY SITUATION + SMILES = APPROPRIATE HUMAN EMOTION. Balanced once again!
The only time you have permission to feel super awkward and intervene is when the emotion does not match the situation.
SAD SITUATION + HAPPY / LAUGHTER = INCONGRUENT
HAPPY SITUATION + SADNESS / TEARS = INCONGRUENT
So, stop and think if the emotions make sense. Is the situation sad and your loved one is sad? Then… let them be sad and just be a container (listen without words or judgment) as you sit with them.
If their emotions aren’t balanced with the situation… then ask, “I’m curious. Your emotions don’t seem to match the situation and I’m left feeling confused. Can you help me understand how you’re feeling?”
I hope the math concept helps you understand that ALL human emotions are real, validated and appropriate given the situation… Lean into the awkwardness and you might find that you’re balancing out a beautiful relationship… and building a powerful closeness with your loved ones in the meantime…