The Importance of Emotional Vocabulary

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Did you see our latest update on Facebook? The BitterSweet Score is officially Patent Pending. This is fantastic news as we work towards helping others on their path towards increasing their Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

When we speak about our work at The BitterSweet Score, people often ask what our goal is. In the simplest answer, “We want to help people build their Emotional Intelligence by helping them improve their Emotional Vocabulary.”

As most of you know, I am a therapist, Marriage and Family Therapist, or Social and Systemic Therapist, to be exact. During my work helping people, I found they had tremendous difficulty naming their basic feelings. For example the question, “How did it make you feel when your mother said that?” was often met with a silent shrug followed by, “I don’t know.” During these types of interactions, I would pull out the old-fashioned emoticon sheet showing facial expressions and the emotions they depicted, to help move us  forward.

Others with greater insight could name their feelings at a surface level.  After deeper probing though, they would end up having “a-ha” moments when they realized that the emotion they thought they were feeling was in fact another emotion altogether.  For example, when a person in this group was asked, “How did it make you feel when your mother said that?” my client would reply, “She peeved me. I was angry.” This was a great start, yet, after further probing, the client was not just Angry, in fact, they were actually Sad about the on-going conflict with their mother.  

In addition to people struggling with understanding their emotions, the lack of words to express what was felt created frustrations for many others. When asked the same question, these people would respond with flaying hands and other various facial expressions, leaving me to fill in the blanks for the words they could not find to express how they felt.

With all of this in mind The BitterSweet Score tool sets out to solve these problems. And please take note, while this tool can be instrumental in a therapy session, it’s intention is for everyone. We want to help everyone develop their Emotional Awareness and Emotional Vocabulary and from here, improve their Emotional Intelligence.

Research backs our premise, as it has shown, that knowing how to express the feelings you are experiencing, is key to Emotional Intelligence. In other words, having a good Emotional Vocabulary will increase your Emotional Intelligence. Unfortunately, feelings and Emotions are complex and finding the proper descriptor to express how you feel can be a real challenge, as you saw in the above examples. Determining how to categorize a feeling descriptor into an emotional state correctly takes practice.  Much like learning a language, before we can speak it, we must learn the words of the language, i.e. its vocabulary. Once we have mastered the vocabulary, speaking the language flows effortlessly.

The BitterSweet Score tool enables you to identify and select the descriptors that describe how you feel, so you can increase your awareness and understanding of your emotional state. By increasing your ability to describe your feelings and understand your emotional state, you will effortlessly increase your Emotional Intelligence.