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  • Writer's pictureGladys Agwai


Emotions are an integral part of the human experience, shaping your thoughts, actions, and interactions. They are powerful tools for understanding yourself and connecting with others. However, like any other aspect of human nature, emotions are not always straightforward resulting in emotional blind spots. Emotional blind spots are areas in your emotional awareness where you may lack insight or understanding. These blind spots can have a profound impact on your life. They exist because your emotions are complex, and you filter them through the lens of your subjective experiences. For example, a) biases from your upbringing, cultural background, and societal conditioning; b) past traumas or negative experiences that create defense mechanisms; c) society dictating how you should express emotions; and d) not acknowledging or sharing your emotions to protect yourself from harm.

Nick Wignall, Psychologist, shared these five most common emotional blind spots:

1.) Intellectualizing: Adults stop using plain language to describe how they feel emotionally. Instead, they intellectualize their emotions describing how they feel with sophisticated sounding but vague language to avoid painful feelings. When disappointed with a friend you say you are upset which is less specific and painful than facing the fact that you feel legitimately angry. Avoiding uncomfortable feelings keeps you trapped in a cycle of poor self-awareness.

2.) Controlling: The instant you feel anxious, you criticize yourself for being weak as if you could punish yourself into feeling confident! However, when you insist on getting rid of your emotions, you teach your brain that your emotions are the enemies. Instead of controlling your emotions, accept and understand them for what they are. Channel your energy into a more productive means of feeling good by changing things in your life you do have control over:

a. Where you choose to focus your attention.

b. How you behave and act.

c. The situations you put yourself in.

d. The people you allow into your life.

e. The habits you do or do not stick to.

3.) Judging: If you cannot control your emotions, it does not make any sense to judge yourself for them. For something to be morally wrong, you must have control over it. If you feel angry, you tell yourself that it is not okay to feel angry, then end up feeling guilty on top of your anger. Judging yourself for feeling anxious is not going to make you any less anxious. It makes it worse. Most painful emotions subside on their own when you stop compounding them with extra judgments and painful emotions.

4.) Running: When accidentally touching a hot pan on the stove, your body instinctively pulls back your hands to escape the pain. But it is not the pain. It is the avoidance of tissue damage. The pain is just the messenger of information. When you spend all your time escaping emotional pain, you do not have any time left to address the real issue behind it. Remind yourself your emotions are not dangerous or bad.

5.) Choosing: Human genetic code and subsequent instincts are the result of evolving in a time and place where following your feelings was usually a good idea. Unfortunately, evolution has not had time to catch up and adjust. If you want to thrive now, you must learn how to override many of your initial instincts, desires, and emotions. Emotions give you both bad and good information. The trick is to be neither dismissive nor naively accepting of your emotions.

When you lack awareness of your own emotions or the emotions of others, you become more insensitive creating misunderstandings and conflicts. Unacknowledged emotions contribute to your stress, anxiety, and even depression. Any clouded judgment impacts decision-making leading to suboptimal choices. Leaders struggle to connect with their teams, inspire trust, and make fair decisions affecting team morale, productivity, and the overall success of the organization.

Recognize and acknowledge your blind spots through a process of:

• Self-Reflection: Pay attention to your emotional reactions and try to

identify patterns.

• Feedback: Actively seek feedback from those you trust who offer invaluable


• Mindfulness and Meditation: Better understand your emotions as

they arise.

• Journaling: Express and track your emotional experiences to assess and reveal feelings, patterns, and blind spots.

Address your emotional blind spot by accepting them without self-judgment, improving your ability to recognize, understand, and manage your emotions, as well as those of others. It will bring about numerous benefits: more empathetic and constructive relationships; better decision making that aligns with long-term values and goals; reduced stress and better mental health; and more effective leadership leading to success.

“We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.”-Anais Nin

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