The word emotion has to do with movement. All emotion is a predisposition to action. For example, if I feel respect for you, I will act towards you in a completely different way than if I feel contempt. Respect and lack of respect, love, and indifference—these aren’t just ways that I feel, these are ways in which I act.

I may think that I can separate ideas from emotions, but a ‘pure’ thought does not exist. It would leave me completely immobilized. Our thoughts are always connected to our emotions, to the drivers of our actions.

The emotional world has a force, a power, and an incredible impact. That is because of the direct influence emotions have on actions. Our society has spent a lot of time cultivating egoism and greed—and that has led to certain actions in the world, but we could choose to cultivate generosity instead. When we become conscious of our emotional world, we can transform it to become the world we chose.

How to Cultivate Emotions

How do you cultivate different emotions? Learning in the emotional realm is very different from learning that is purely rational. I can’t just give you an order to: “Get out of your sadness and be happy!”

The emotional world does not respond to commands, it responds to exposure. For example, if you feel respected by me, it is very probable that the feeling of respect will emerge in you. Or, if you join a workplace with a high level of mistrust, it is only a matter of days before you begin to mistrust your coworkers.

The emotional world isn’t learned via instruction, it is learned via immersion. This is fundamental. When a child grows up in a family where anger is prevalent, he will learn to see the world with anger.

In our programs, we teach that:

1. The emotional world is inevitable. We can silence it but that does not mean that we can make it disappear.

2. Emotions facilitate or close off our possibility to learn something new. They are the space in which we learn. My ability to learn is very different in a state of boredom and indifference than in one of gratitude or enthusiasm.

3. We chose what emotional spaces to create that will both facilitate learning and make life more beautiful than it would be in other emotional spaces. This choice and this practice are what leads to the sense of widening our horizon and of contributing to the world.

If there is one emotion that has truly revolutionary power, it is gratitude. In Spanish, gratis means “free” or “without cost.” This free emotion can radically alter our materialistic way of seeing the world. Our modern world is filled with shiny objects but is lackluster in the realm of the soul. I may look at a tree as a collection of cells or as some nice wood to build a house, but if I look at it from the point of view of gratitude, then the tree transforms. I see it as a being that has been on this planet much longer than I have, as a maker of oxygen, as a contributor to the ecosystem. This is a new enchantment that was previously hidden from my view. It takes me to a world of thoughts and possibilities that I cannot obtain in any other way, and these feelings make me take different actions towards the tree.

We often feel victims of our emotions. It is only by incorporating them into our being that we can begin to choose how to fashion our emotional world. When I dare to look and act with my emotions, I begin to open to the mystery of the universe.

Don’t feel victim of your emotions. Learn more about our personal development program here

About the Author: 

Julio Olalla, MCC, founder of Newfield Network, is regarded as a pioneer of the coaching profession and transformational learning fields. Julio has trained thousands of individuals and organizations, CEOs, and government figureheads to challenge traditional thinking and create stronger leaders to navigate the turbulence facing our global community. He is based in Boulder, Colorado with a travel schedule that takes him worldwide. His multi-cultural perspective makes him an in-demand, trusted advisor of Fortune 500 companies, international governments, and high-profile individuals. Julio Olalla is a sought-after keynote and motivational speaker, addressing audiences on leadership, organizational learning, education, emotion, and executive coaching.

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