There is no doubt that we’ve never felt more in need of cultivating empathy and connection than during these difficult times. However, after being socially distanced for so long, for many of us, it’s getting harder finding our way back to each other and ourselves as well as describing and then recognising what we’re feeling.
A help to successfully navigate these mixed and sometimes overwhelming emotions may come from the best selling author Brené Brown‘s new book “Atlas of the Heart” in which the lecturer, researcher and TEDTalk speaker attempts to draw new paths to connect each other by naming and exploring 87 emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human.
As she maps the necessary skills and lays out an actionable framework for meaningful connection, she gives us the language and tools to access a universe of new choices and second chances – a universe where we can share and steward the stories of our bravest and most heart-breaking moments with one another in a way that builds links. Because every story shared is a chance to make someone feel less alone and finding similarities with other people helps us live happy and healthy lives.
Whether we’re looking at a map of Texas or reflecting on a tough conversation with someone we love, we need landmarks to orientate us, and we need language to label what we’re experiencing. And, just like a map, the interaction between the layers of our emotions and experiences tells our story. Connection with each other is only going to be as strong as our connection to ourselves – she explains-. So I think the language of emotions is the most powerful portal we have to help us better understand ourselves and others.
But learning how the language of human experience works is not so easy. How can we use the power of emotions to get back on track? According to Brené Brown, in order to create sincere relationships with other people and with ourselves, there are three components that have to happen.
One, we have to have some level of confidence and self-awareness. We have to be curious about other people. Our ego has to be shored up enough that we don’t have to be know-it-alls. Two, we have to have the courage to be with people in pain, to really walk alongside other people. And three, we have to learn how to be stewards of people’s stories.
Of course, we can’t deny that even though we try our best to be on the same wavelength of others, reading humans is a lot trickier than any other species because people can conceal, confuse, and hide. That’s why learning to name an experience, she noted, is important: not only because that gives the experience itself more power but because that gives us the power of understanding, meaning and choice.
I believe that with an adventurous heart and the right maps, we can travel anywhere and never fear losing ourselves – she writes-. Even when we have no idea where we are.
May 2022 bring you not only a new dictionary to read your’s and others’ emotions but also the right map to navigate your future ahead.