Mentoring Library

M4_3 Emotional Expression Mentee

Lesson 3

Discuss -> Manage qualifying the emotional expression of a mentee:

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Define emotions:

  • a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.
  • instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge.

Define emotional expression:

  • Those expressions in people while talking observably verbal and nonverbal behaviors are that communicate an internal emotional or affective state.
  • Emotional expressions can occur with or without self-awareness.

Identify negative and positive expressions of emotion:

  • Negative
    • Sadness
    • Pessimism
    • Guilt
    • Anxiety
    • Mindlessness
    • Anger
    • Jealousy
  • Positive
    • Sadness makes you pay attention to detail
    • Pessimism prepares you for anything
    • Guilt improves your moral compass
    • Anxiety turns you into a problem-solver
    • Mindlessness heightens your creativity
    • Anger motivates you to patch up conflict
    • Jealousy forces you to work harder

Discuss appropriate ways for emotional expression in the mentoring arrangement:

  • Avoid the word “that” as it means that what is about to follow is a thought and not a feeling
  • Using the words “I feel” are a good way to start
  • Emotions need to be expressed and not bottled up
  • Both participants in the arrangement need to work together
  • Pause to look inside yourself and label your internal feeling.  
  • An​​​​ger invites defensiveness.  If your feeling is “mad” or “angry”, calm down before you start talking. An angry voice invites an angry voice in return.
  • Then, to optimize the likelihood you will be heard without defensiveness, choose a word other than a word from the anger family for the feeling that remains, a word like “sad” or “scared..” .
  • Launch what you say with “I feel….” “I felt…” or “I have been feeling….” e.g., "I feel discouraged about ..."
  • Explain more about the source of the feeling.  A good sentence-starter for this explanation is “My concern is ….” e.g., "My concern is that I don't see an end in sight for your having to bring work home to do at night."
  • If you need to specify your partner’s role in the feeling, start that sentence with “When you..” for instance, “When you came in so late last night from work I felt very scared.”  Continue then with “My concern was…” and you are on the road to mutual understanding.

~~~ Consider: Negative emotions have become a sign of weakness and inadequacy, forcing us to internalize how we're really feeling and creating even bigger problems.
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