In the writing work of Eileen Barker titled, Emotional Literacy for Mediators, she mentions a lot of very good points throughout her article as well as statements that really made me think about how I am as a person and how I sometimes let my emotions run my life both in a positive and negative way. We often see this play out within a mediation session sometimes when emotions get the best of clients and they either give up what they truly want or they will fight and argue until they get there way.
The questions under the section “Emotional Awareness” within Barker’s article made me stop and really ponder what my thoughts and answers would be to each question. They all really made me think and made me try to understand myself in a better, deeper way. I believe that before mediators can truly be successful with helping mediate and handling the emotions that come with clients, they need to really believe and understand emotions and recognize their own emotions as well. Being able to identify certain emotions within ones-self is the key to being able to find it in others.
One specific question within her article under the “Emotional Awareness” section that really stood out to me and made me think was, “What are your beliefs about emotion?” This one question was especially very difficult for me to think about and really find a suitable answer for. We all have certain ways in which we think about emotion. In my opinion, emotions can sometimes, or most of the time, be like a roller coaster. They can go up and down, upside down, backwards, and all over the place and it can all happen so fast. Emotions can make your stomach feel sick as well as make you smile with joy.
For me personally, my beliefs about emotion have changed throughout time as I have gotten older and more mature and experienced more within my life. When I was younger and in my teenage years, I probably had a different emotion every hour of the day, just like most teenagers. I believed that being popular, beautiful, social, athletic, etc. was the most important thing in life. Man was I wrong! If I could go back in time, I would tell myself that there are much bigger things in life to worry about and to be proud and thankful for the life I had at the time. I had not yet experienced any true, strong emotions yet.
If I had to explain my beliefs about emotion today it would be that emotions can be a very positive, beneficial feeling as well as a very negative, depressing feeling; and sometimes both all at the same time. Right now, I believe that my life has been changed for the better because of the certain emotions I have had to face. For example, I have had several distinct emotions and incidents in my life that have helped me learn to handle certain emotions. These include but are not limited to; watching my grandfather pass away when I was sitting by his side, seeing my niece and nephew being born, watching my best friend leave for a nine month deployment to Kuwait, seeing my brother graduate from college, watching my oldest brother get married to the love of his life, getting a call telling me my best friend passed away in a car accident, etc. All of these times in my life have shown me very specific traits of emotions, both good and bad. All of those examples of events in my life happened to me after high school when I was away from home and in college. I did not have my family right by my side so I had to learn how to deal with my problems almost all alone.
Everyone will go through a “roller coaster” of emotions throughout their life and it will only make a person stronger. You learn different ways in which to cope with sad, confusing times as well as how to handle your excitement when something good happens within life. I have learned that it is not only the big events in life like death and birth or big celebrations that create emotions, but also the little, simple things as well. This is one of the reasons that defining emotion is so difficult to do because it also depends on how our mood is at the time of defining what emotion truly means to you.
Going back to the article written by Eileen Barker, Emotional Literacy for Mediators, one specific quote that really stood out to me while reading this was, “As mediators, we need to become adept at recognizing, understanding and addressing emotional issues. We need to become emotionally literate, fluent in the emotional language of conflict.” This goes along perfectly with what I said previously. Mediators cannot yet be successful at dealing with other people’s struggles and emotions until they truly understand their own.