4 Important Steps to Greater Emotional Agility

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Emotional agility helps us to navigate our thoughts, feelings, and self-stories to create an outstanding life.

There is a concept that we live in two separate worlds. We have an outer world, think of this as the physical world in which exists outside you. And an inner world which is made up of our thoughts, emotions, and self-stories.

The distinction between the outer and inner world is important because it is the way we perceive our inner world that determines our life success.

Our Inner World

Our inner world drives our actions, careers, happiness, health, relationships. It literally drives everything.

“When we push aside normal emotions to embrace false positivity, we lose our capacity to develop skills to deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.” — Susan David

To create an outstanding life happens from the inside-out. Too many of us get caught up in external circumstances, so we fail to create the life we want.

The concept is that you change your outer world by first changing your inner world.

Emotional Agility

Dr Susan David wrote the book ‘Emotional Agility’ which reinforced the notion of happiness in our daily lives, in our relationships and in our work. In her book, she helps us navigate our thoughts, feelings, and narratives.

David argues that to maintain a negative self-image is destructive, and impairs our potential for success.

If I use an example: Do we let our anger, failings, fear, self-doubts, or shame hold us back?

An Ideal World

In an ideal world, we would be determined. Persevering toward crucial life goals. While also having the courage and insight to recognise when these goals are not serving us. And then we would adapt.

In ‘Emotional Agility’, David emphasises four key concepts. The four are: showing up, stepping out, walking your why and moving on. These four concepts are fundamental in creating emotional agility and adaptiveness.

David suggests that to be emotionally agile is to be flexible with our feelings and thoughts. To avoid holding fixed, concrete-like beliefs of our past. And this is important because this will not lead to change.

Navigating Life’s Twists And Turns

When we embrace emotional agility, it enables us to navigate life’s twists and turns with clear-sightedness, self-acceptance, and an open mind.

Emotional agility is not about ignoring uncomfortable thoughts and emotions. It’s about holding those thoughts and emotions loosely.

So loosely that we can face them compassionately and courageously, and then move past them to create change in our lives.

We should never stick too strongly to an emotion, feeling, or thought. And we should learn to accept these and allow them to move on.

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David Brett-Williams