The wheel of emotion
So, there are two young fish swimming. As they pass by an older fish, the older fish goes, “Hey Kids, how’s the water?” The two young fish look at each other and say, “what the hell is water?”
We’re much like the two young fish when it comes to our emotions. A feeling emerges, takes over, and disappears before we can even understand what it was, and so on in an endless cycle. Breaking the cycle for ourselves and others requires sharpening the two foundational sub-skills of empathy: listening or noticing and affect labeling or putting feelings into words. Because you can’t name it if you don’t see it, and you can’t process it if you don’t know what it is.