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Emotional Literacy - Finding the Root of the Problem

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

When you want to kill a weed - you can't just pull the top part out of the ground, or a few of the flower parts. You can't just cut it at the surface. Even if you spray the top part of the weed above the ground, it will inevitably grow back.

Why is this?

Because the root of the weed still exists. This is where the plant keeps all its nutrients and is the origin of growth.

Perennial plants have amazing bulbs that allow them to become dormant and bloom year after year. The root is the part that you have to tackle with you want to get rid of the weed. It's also the part of the plant you need to NURTURE when you want it to grow.

Riggs - you normally write about mental health stuff - why all of a sudden are you giving landscape tips? Green thumb much?

It's an analogy, ya goofball.

The same can be said for our EMOTIONS. When we think of feelings, we think of the big ones - happy, sad, angry, afraid, etc. But when it comes down to it - there are SO MANY more emotions out there that you can experience.

Allow me to introduce you to the Junto Emotion Wheel:

Now let's take an emotion of of that wheel that men often feel, the emotion of inadequacy. As men, we feel like we aren't good enough sometimes. Not good enough for your family, not good enough at your job, not good enough in the gym, not good enough in the bedroom, you get it - and almost every man has felt inadequate at some point in their life.

Let's say you're FEELING particularly inadequate about something, but you aren't quite sure why - its just a general feeling. You can get in a spiral feeling awful about it, or you can get to the ROOT of WHY you are feeling particularly inadequate about something. As you can see on the wheel, the root of the feeling inadequate is FEAR.

Great - now I'm afraid - AND I'm inadequate!? Thanks, Riggs.

But think about it - your inadequacy is ROOTED in fear of SOMETHING. Time to figure out - what IS that something? If you sit down and think about it - you can usually find out...

Not good enough for your family = FEAR of disappointing your family.

Not good enough at your job = FEAR of losing your job.

Not good enough in the gym = FEAR of being perceived as physically weak.

Not good enough in the bedroom = FEAR of not being able to please your partner.

What you have just done is identify the root of the emotion you are feeling, and finding out WHY you are feeling a certain way - this can give you a great sense of power and will help build EMOTIONAL LITERACY. Knowing your emotions and being able to identify them will help you flush out the WHY when it comes to your feelings and breaks the cycle of just feeling a certain way.

Feeling guilty? Probably because you are, what are you SAD about? Find the why, and you may find that the guilt drifts away. Find the root, treat the problem.

Now this isn't a one time fix, you have to keep at it and remain mindful of your emotions - this is where EMOTIONAL LITERACY comes in to play. Weeds will eventually grow back if you don't keep up with lawn maintenance. Mental health issues can resurface if you don't keep them in check and remain vigilant and mindful about addressing them.

Being able to troubleshoot your emotions gives you an advantage to help keep your emotions in check, and identify the WHY, so you can almost "fix" yourself - at least for the time being. Any man will tell you, we LOVE to fix shit. When you can FIX something, you get a great sense of self satisfaction. We all do - because you feel like you beat the game! You conquered the big boss at the final level. You found the magic wand and rescued the princess!

Bookmark this blog or save the image above - and the next time you are feeling an emotion and can't pinpoint WHY you feel that way, bust out this wheel and get to the ROOT of your emotions. Don't be afraid to bust it out and talk about your emotions with a good friend. Any good friend worth keeping will totally stop and take some time to talk with you about what you're going through. You may even find out that you're not alone in what you are feeling.

Don't let this be an end all be all - and be smart enough to realize when you CAN'T identify the why - don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help. There are professionals out there for a reason, and nobody is going to give you shit for asking for help. I promise.

Find the ROOT of your emotions, and practice being more EMOTIONALLY LITERATE. It's like having a cheat code for your brain.

Be kind to your mind.


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