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Feeling Disrespected? Here’s What Your Emotions Are REALLY Trying To Tell You (Hint: it’s not what you think…)

Photo by David Garrison | Pexels

Let’s imagine a scenario.

Lisa and Sophie are coworkers. They have been working together on a project for 2 months. They are about to meet their boss, Katherine, for a project status update.

Katherine is under a lot of pressure, and is expecting a lot more progress than what Lisa and Sophie present her, due to delays and circumstances outside of their control.

Upon hearing that the project delivery will be delayed, Katherine can’t control herself, and ends up saying some really harsh words to both Lisa and Sophie. She criticises their performance, and tells them to find a way to get the project delivered on time.

Lisa and Sophie leave Katherine’s office feeling extremely disrespected.

However, they feel like they don’t have time to process their feelings, because they need to focus on delivering the project. Instead, they push them aside, while secretly harbouring resentment towards their boss.

"Disrespected" is not a feeling, but a judgement of how a feeling feels.

Words like abandoned, impotent, judged, bad, good, etc, are judgements of how we feel, and not words that describe how we’re actually feeling. They are surface level ways to describe how we feel, that fail to dive deeper into the real issue, process our actual feelings, and heal.

Let’s dive back into the scenario to understand this a bit better.

Both Lisa and Sophie left the meeting feeling extremely disrespected by their boss, Katherine. But the reason for that disrespect is actually very different for each of them.

Lisa struggles with low self-esteem, and unconsciously seeks validation from other people to affirm her value. She unknowingly uses perfectionism and people pleasing in efforts to prevent others from seeing her as she sees herself: a failure.

When Katherine points out the things Lisa did wrong, she immediately becomes a mirror to Lisa’s biggest insecurity, which leads her to feel deeply ashamed of herself. In other words, the root of Lisa feeling disrespected is an unmet need for appreciation, that manifests through self-shame.

Sophie has been doing therapy for years, to heal from growing up in an environment where she was not allowed to exercise her boundaries. Through therapy, she has learned that what she went through was unfair, and has been learning to establish and communicate her boundaries to people.

When her boss calls her out for something that was completely outside of her control, she feels angry, because she knows that is really unfair. But, because she is afraid of getting fired, she doesn’t know how to put up boundaries with her boss. In other words, the root of Sophie feeling disrespected is an unmet need for safety, that manifests through anger and fear.

And while Lisa’s and Sophie’s feelings are completely valid, neither of them realise that Katherine’s outburst, although unjustifiable, has nothing to do with them personally, or even with their performance, but everything to do with her own issues and unmet emotional needs.

The point here is that there are as many ways to feel about this situation as there are people on the planet. All of them have the potential of leading someone to feel like they have been “disrespected”, but stopping there not only doesn’t help us process the real emotions behind it, it also doesn’t help us get to their root cause: an unmet emotional need.

Feelings are messengers

Our emotions and feelings are messengers, trying to tell us what’s going on inside. The more you learn to listen to the messages they are trying to communicate, the less you are consumed by them.

So many of us are disconnected from them, often without realising it. This makes it so that when uncomfortable feelings arise, the first instinct is to run away, hoping they will resolve themselves.

Well, they don’t.

My experience navigating self-discovery practices from many schools of thoughts and traditions — eastern and western, psychological and spiritual — have taught me that when it comes to feelings there are often two levels of depth at play: feelings and emotions.

But there is also a third hidden layer, that is often neglected, when it’s not completely missed: the layer of emotional needs.

After 20 years being a Yogi and navigating self-discovery practices, I have found that, beyond feelings and emotions, there is a third and deeper level that is often overlooked, which is the layer of emotional needs. This isthe one that is, for the most part, driving our emotional reactions and responses.

From the need for safety and security to the desire for connection and belonging, each emotional need plays a vital role in shaping our emotional life, our relationships with others and with ourselves.

My mission now is to share this knowledge with you, and this is why I created jornee, the community for people who want to rediscover themselves through the things that make them human.

I’m creating products that help people reconnect with themselves through their emotions, needs, vulnerabilities, imperfections, and all the beautiful things that make us human.

In late August / early September 2024, I’m launching the jornee app, aiming to empower people to reclaim control of their emotional well-being, by learning to tune into their unmet emotional needs. You can sign up for early access here.

If you want to learn more about emotional freedom, jornee and our mission, consider signing up for jornee or following us on social media to stay in touch.

We are on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and TikTok.

P.S.: What to find out more about emotional needs? I wrote a book about it. You can download a free PDF sample here.

Enjoy online tests? I made a quick emotional needs test. Try it out here.

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