Never label emotions ‘good’ or ‘bad’

Published Categorized as activities, emotional literacy

It is really important that we never label emotions ‘good’ or ‘bad’ with our children as this can create extra baggage when we feel any emotion. For example, if jealousy is labelled as ‘bad’ we don’t just feel jealousy when we feel it, we also feel shame for feeling it. If happiness is labelled as ‘good’ we strive to always feel happy to gain approval and this is a really unrealistic expectation! It can also add feelings of shame for not feeling happy all the time.

This extra baggage can not only knock our self-esteem, it can make our processing of emotions more complex and therefore make emotions less transient. Healthy emotions ‘flow’ and are transient, after all.  This is why (with the odd slip up) I always state emotions range from enjoyable or comfortable to uncomfortable or unenjoyable.

Exploring different emotions in terms of these two opposites can help to improve your child’s emotional literacy. So to help with that activity, I have created this ‘poster’ of emotions that could be cut up to be placed into piles of those which are comfortable/enjoyable and those which are uncomfortable/unenjoyable. With older children, you can move on to placing them on a spectrum to indicate degrees of enjoyableness or ‘unenjoyableness’!

If you wish to be sent the poster shown at the top of this article (in a  word document), please contact me through this website.