Emotional Expression: How To Express Your Feelings

How To Communicate & Improve Communication Skills

Emotional expression is the ability to communicate exactly what one feels in a way that is completely understood. This involves being forthcoming and transparent with one’s feelings and emotions. But how does emotional expression normally occur? Emotionally! Yeah, with a lot of emotion. Anger, sadness, joy or surprise are usually easy to see. Most of the time people react to some stimulation. However, there is room for proactive use of emotional expression. “What?” you exclaim. Is it appropriate to express anger in a way that makes a better point? Yes, I think, sometimes. Could I be more vague? Maybe. 

Let me be clear about this. Intentionally trying to manipulate someone by using emotion is not appropriate unless it is for the good of the person. For example, I once had a subordinate who intentionally decided to act contrary to the direction provided by his supervisors, of which I was one. I wasn’t surprised with his insubordination but felt like I needed to make a point. So, I decided to scold him. I raised my voice and wanted him to understand the significance of his misbehavior. My other options were to let it go or to terminate him. I couldn’t let it go and he was untouchable in the organization.

How To Express Feelings In Words

This may sound like a bad decision but honestly I really wanted to fire him. My boss would never have allowed it. Perhaps this is what really angered me. Anyway, that isn’t the point. The point is, to make a point sometimes we have to show some emotion.

Some emotions are very easy to communicate but are often confusing. For example, anger can be expressed and understood quite easily. But what if you are mad at a boss or boss’s boss? Expressing your feelings may only lead to a win/lose situation! They win and you lose. Coping with this behavior can be exhausting but necessary. However, coping isn’t communicating. Sometimes you must be vulnerable and share how you feel. Saying what you mean to say in a way that others understand is the most important element of communication! 

What is Congruence

Congruence is found when the the receiver completely understands the intended message. This boils down to authenticity. Of course, knowing what one feels is important when communicating the appropriate feeling. And, your feelings are often seen on your face whether you like it or not.

Pioneering American psychologist Paul Ekman (1993) famously noted that it is now widely accepted that people can reliably discriminate between six different classes of facial expression: happy, sad, angry, surprised, afraid and disgust. This ability is said to transcend cultural or linguistic barriers, therefore these facial expression are not culturally specific, even when taking into account social norms of emotional responses. MORE

How To Express Your Feelings

The point with all elements of emotional intelligence is to use them appropriately. Emotional expression is used with our voice, body movements and facial expressions to promote learning and to enhance understanding. Further, the benefits of appropriate use of emotional expression includes this list and more:

  • Coping with stress
  • Enhancing Relationships
  • Emotional Intimacy
  • Physical Health
  • Conflict Management

Conclusion: How To Communicate Better

You have choice when communicating feelings. This choice has consequences for your health and welfare. Bottled up emotion can increase stress that adversely affects your health but may help in your difficult relationships. Take time to pause before reacting to any stress placed on you. This may seem rudimentary because it is. The best thing you could do for yourself is simply say, “I’m sorry but this is causing me a great deal of stress and I don’t want to say or do anything I will regret later. I need some space for now.” If this request cannot be honored your problem is bigger than you thought. For more





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