Nouns into Verbs

I don’t listen to podcasts as often as I plan to. My count of unheard episodes is too large to put a real dent into. As opposed to reading or other activities, I find with podcasts that I need to devote that time singularly to listening – I’m not a person who can listen while running or walking, or just have it on in the background. Part of it is intention: I want to get something out of the experience and if I’m distracted or attempting to multitask, then all the activities suffer. Additionally, I want to pay respect to the author – they’ve devoted the time to share their insights and I want to give it the proper attention.

I was listening to an episode of Jim Kwik’s podcast yesterday. I’ve enjoyed his book and his insights on learning and how to “learn to learn”. In passing, he made a point of saying that we don’t have emotions but instead, we “do” emotions. I really enjoyed this insight, about making the emotional experience an activity instead of being a passive participant.

It’s a little jarring to consider this concept since most of our language centres on having or being a feeling – “I am happy”, “I have a heavy heart”. In thinking more about this, I tried to get around the language inconsistencies and instead focus on the intent & meaning behind the approach.

When I think about the statement “I am sad” and try to conceptualize making it into an action, I can see that I become the active participant in being sad. That shifts the direction for where my sadness originates. Typically we might think it’s an external cause, but this hammers home for me how my emotions start with me.

Other emotions, like frustration or disappointment, become really interesting to look at. Typically when I am frustrated, it is with a situation that involves others where I might be triggered by someone else’s actions. Turning this around and seeing how I am doing the action of “frustration”. I see how I am frustrating myself and this gives me an opportunity to reframe the situation and start the change from within.

Feelings are extremely important to acknowledge and to experience. Reframing an emotion into an action instead of being a passive noun or adjective really illuminates how our emotions originate within ourselves and how we can be more engaged in how we experience them.

Thank you for the time you’ve taken to read this and I hope it resonates with you in some way.