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Hi, everyone, I'm Renee Brown, and this is unlocking us today. I'm talking with Dr. Marc Brackett and he is the founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and is a professor in the Child Study Center at Yale University.
His research focuses on the role that emotional intelligence plays in Learning Decision-Making creativity, relationships, physical health and performance.
I know him from his many, many scholarly articles. I think he's published over 100 scholarly articles. You may know him from places like The New York Times or Good Morning America, The Today Show, PBS.
He's just dedicated his life to emotional literacy in his groundbreaking work at Yale. He is the lead developer of Ruler, which we'll talk about in the podcast, which is an evidence based approach to social emotional learning that is now inside of over 2000 schools, from preschools to high schools around the world. Now, I'm going to tell you right now, we're going to dig into his book, Permission to Feel, which just came out. The full title is Permission to Feel Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves and Our Society Thrive.
You're going to hear me at my most noted out geek on Nesse, if that's a thing in this podcast, because I've been working on a project and emotional literacy for the last two years, something that's going to be coming out in 2021.
He's one of the people who I really look up to the most I've learned from. He said a couple of things during this podcast that blew my mind, just not only as an emotions researcher, but as a person. So settle in, put your ear pads in and get ready for your walk or grab your maggoty wherever you are. I hope you can get your emotions on your weakness on with me in this, because I think Mark has a lot to teach us.
So, Mark, I think you know what question I have to start with, after reading your new book, you want to guess it's probably going to be about how I'm feeling.
I wanted to be an original here. Come on.
I wanted to be the feeling. OG how are you feeling right now?
Well, I'm excited to be here with you. I'm a little overwhelmed about what's happening in our world right now, so I'm having a lot of feelings. A lot of things I need to ask you this, this is going to be like a free session for me all and Yelchin, listen to me get fixed. So here's what's interesting for me. And I don't know what to make of this. I am exhausted. And I am hopeful. I am weary and I am grateful, and there's this weird thing going on right now, so we start all of our meetings on Zoome with my team.
There's probably 30 of us with a two word check and feeling check in. That's how we start our meetings. And what I'm seeing right now are these weird, paradoxical feelings and emotions. What is that? I think it's normal.
You know, actually, I just did a study last week with 5000 people across the nation asking them how are they feeling? Of course, the number one emotion with anxiety. Right? I mean, it was blow up, but then there were people who felt grateful and hopeful and optimistic.
I think it's more of a regulation strategy that it's I've got to say that because I got to have hope, because it just got to have that right now. Oh, wow. So is there a difference between, like a regulation strategy and bullshitting people, like what's the difference there? Well, we are brains, you know, like to tell ourselves stories, right? So right. I think it's a helpful strategy. It's it's a self talk strategy.
You know, I've got to be grateful. I'm going to be hopeful. It's going to make a difference. And I'm going to get through this. And having that positive self talk makes all the difference.
Oh, man. I knew it, y'all. I knew this is going to be good.
OK, so before I start and before I dig into your book, permission to feel, I have to say that social emotional learning, emotional literacy has been a big part of my work for 20 years. Your work is amazing.
Thank you. Appreciate that. I mean, just incredible.
OK, so I want to start with this quote you write, It is one of the great paradoxes of the human condition.
We ask some variation of the question, how are you feeling over and over, which would lead one to assume that we attach some importance to it and yet we never expect or desire or provide an honest answer.
Yeah, I know I did write that hack. You did write that.
You know, I think the problem is, is that we don't want to spend time dealing with people's feelings. So we want people to just say, fine, OK, good, and we can move on. You know, think about teachers, think about parents. Like parents are getting up in the morning at seven forty. They've got to be in the car at seven 45. The kid's got to get on the bus. You know, they say, good morning, honey, how are you feeling?
And what if they hear hopeless?
Disappointed, sad, I'm angry, I'm overwhelmed, I'm anxious. I mean, you've got to stop what you're doing and provide that unconditional love and support and it sounds crazy, but people don't have the time for it, so why bother asking? And I think that's something that really needs to change in our nation and the world.
OK, I forgot to tell you that when you just went through that role, I wish I could see my hands right now. There's my palms are sweating because I do what I do for a living. Steve's a pediatrician. So if we at seven thirty five said, how are you feeling, sweetie? And one of our kids said, overwhelmed, anxious, maybe a little depressed. I would be like. Can we talk about it on the way to school?
I just I think about your profession. I know this is hard. I imagine parents who have not had an emotional education, teachers who have not been trained in social emotional learning to a lot of information to deal with. OK, before we dig in to everything you have to teach us, which is so much and so good. Thank you. Tell me about Uncle Marvin and tell me about can we talk a little bit about your own experiences with emotions and, of course, the big permission you got in your life.
So, you know, as you know from reading my book, I was sexually abused as a child and was from when I was very young until I was in fifth or sixth grade. So from like five years old to 10 years old. And you can imagine when there's an adult who basically threatens you and says if you share what's happening, you're going to be hurt. If you tell your parents, you know, they're going to be repercussions, you're trapped with your feelings.
You feel shame, you feel disgust, you feel hate, you feel anger, anxiety. And the list goes on and you have nowhere to go with those feelings. Now, I was blessed in life that my mother's brother, who was Uncle Marvin, who happened to be a middle school teacher in the Catskill Mountains of New York State, was working on a book and on a curriculum to deal with kids feelings. And so when I disclosed what was happening and he was the only adult who was there for me, you know, he just listened.
He didn't say, you know, toughen up like my father did and didn't have a breakdown, you know, like my mom did. And God bless my parents. They did everything they could, but they just had no resilience. They had no strategies to deal with their feelings. But Uncle Marvin just had that, as I call it. He was the compassionate emotion scientist. He was open and curious, never judgmental, great listener, and didn't tell me what to do, but rather he was my coach.
You know, he helped me to think through what the alternatives were and he gave me hope. I dedicate my entire career to him. First of all, thank you for sharing it, because so it's such a hard thing to share and talk about, and yet it's such a prevalent form of trauma and violence that we just don't talk about enough. And not everyone has an Uncle Marvin I know.
And I hear people tell me that all the time. You know, they didn't have that adult in their life. And what I know from research is that about two thirds of our nation's youth don't feel they have a supportive adult like in their school. Think about that. Going to school every day, not feeling like there's an adult who cares about you or is there for you.
Do those same research participants, those same children also feel like they don't have anyone at home either?
There are lots of kids who feel the same way at home as well, for sure. Right.
And then what's hopeful about this story? To me, when I was reading your book, I kept thinking. Be the Uncle Marvin and the kids, yeah, be some kid's Uncle Marvin, you know, be the person who, when you say how are you looked genuinely into someone's eyes as if you really care and that the answer makes you late for school.
Screw it. Be late for school.
I couldn't agree more. I mean, that's my dream is, you know, going to make a world filled with Uncle Marvin. Yeah, we need that. Right. Do we really do that right now? We need it more than ever. So I want to get into some nitty gritty, and I think it's because I've been working on a project for the last couple of years around emotional literacy. And of course, I read your book like I ate it.
I took every page out and I ate it. It's just incredible. And the data and the way you approach things with, you know, equal parts, scientific rigor and big juicy heart, like you just we don't see that a lot in our profession. I appreciate that. But we don't see it a lot.
It took me a long time to figure out how to do it. You know, it took me till I was 15 to write my book for the Real World.
GIs, we're trained that if it's too accessible, we're not that smart. There you go. Yeah, that's the training and academics. And so you have just taken this incredible science and made it not just digestible. It's like a page turner for people. I just loved it. Very sweet. Thank you. Yeah. And so I have a question that I think is helpful. Can you talk about what is an emotion? What is a feeling? Sure.
How do you think about those differently or the same so they're related? You know, I think for you know, for most of us, it doesn't matter if it's an emotion or if it's a feeling of it's a mood or, you know, it's an experience that we want to connect with and understand. But in the basic sense, think about it. In the morning, you wake up and you're kind of appraising the world around you, like from your own inner dialogue to what's happening around you.
And you're saying, I want to approach. I want to avoid. I feel pleasant. You know, I don't feel so pleasant today. And then you're checking in with your body and you're saying, I got a lot of energy or I feel kind of depleted and tired or exhausted. And that's how that mood meter tool that is in my book, you know, was derived from research in that area. And so, like the feeling right. I feel like approaching I feel like avoiding is this kind of core experience.
But the emotion is more granular. It's more specific. Anger is about injustice. Disappointment is about unmet expectations. Anxiety is about uncertainty. The language of emotion is what I think we really need to get at in order to help ourselves and other people thrive. I have to share this with you, because I think it's really interesting and everything that I find in my work mirrors so completely what you find in your work.
So for the last since 2006, we've been asking folks who go through our curriculum to write down the name of the emotions that they can recognize in South. And name and what they can recognize in other people and name, and so we have, I don't know, maybe fifteen thousand pieces survey back the ME number that people can identify and name itself and others. Three.
Wow. Yeah, it is that people have no training in emotion recognition. I have a whole theory about that. The first thing, it's not part of the curriculum. How much time do we spend in school learning about feelings and emotions and moods? You know, when you analyze the curriculum from math and language arts or science to whatever you're learning, you know, even with social and emotional learning, it's still an add on. It's not integrated is not part of our education that yes, that's my hope.
My career goal is to make social emotional a permanent part of our children's education. And this is where the you know, in my book I talk about the ruler skills and that first is that core experience. Do I want to approach to him on the yellow, which is that high energy pleasant place, or the green or blue or red, which are, you know, the red. Is that high activity unpleasant? The blue, low energy unpleasant.
And then you say, well, what's going on for me right now? Like what's what's the story? I'm telling myself, well, I'm about to do a podcast with Bernie Brown. Oh, well, am I anxious or my excited, apprehensive or my eager? I'm about to go give a presentation. I just got bad news. So you're trying to figure out the story behind, you know, the experience. And what I find is that's really helpful to then find the word that helps you label the feeling.
But I mean, all the majority of people we work with know and this is from CEOs to prisoners and, you know, people in correctional facilities when all they know is. Happy, sad, pissed off, I call it the mad, sad, glad trilogy, you asked yourself questions, very nuanced questions just now. Anxious. Am I? Before we get into ruler, which I think is so brilliant, you talk about five areas where feelings matter the most, make the case to me.
Why not that I need it? Yes, but make it because I am so on board, I am behind you paddling.
I appreciate that. Make the case.
Why understanding emotion matters. Well, that's you know, that's my call when I do my presentations, I call that slide my money slide, because for anybody who is a naysayer, you know, I just said you just don't know the research because once you understand the data and the science behind this, there's no way that you want to take this seriously. So the first is that emotions matter for attentional capacity. I mean, let's be I'm going to be honest with you.
I was a C and D student in elementary school. And, you know, with all modesty aside, you know, I'm a pretty smart guy, but I couldn't function academically. I mean, think about it when you're feeling nervous. And I was bullied horrifically. I had parents who had troubles, so I was being abused. Do I really want to learn about the Roman oligarchy? Am I really going to focus and concentrate? I mean, let's get real, right?
I just want friendships. I want love. I want safety. I want to get home without being bullied and hurt. So we know that our emotional system is inextricably linked with our cognitive system and our attention. The second is decision making. I mean, think about it. You know, we like to think we're rational creatures. Here's an example. In a study we did with teachers, we randomly assigned them to be in a good mood or a bad mood.
It's pretty easy. Take five minutes and think about a good day. Take five minutes and think about a bad day. And then we had them grade the exact same paper. Lo and behold, one to two full grades difference. When we asked the teachers, do you believe that how you felt had any influence over the way you evaluated that essay? Ninety percent said no. So think about that, their emotions clearly shift in the way they viewed the same content, but we want so powerful.
We don't want to believe it because we don't want to. That means we have no control. You know, that means there's no free will. The third is relationships.
I like to say in the simplest form, emotions are signals to approach or avoid.
So my facial expression, your facial expression, other people's how we feel inside sends messages, approach, avoid ever work with someone who is like that disgruntled character, huh? Think about that person. You say to yourself, gosh, I'd like to work with them for the rest of my life. I know you like I'll do it. I'll go down this hallway.
I'll do anything to avoid them. The fourth has to do with our physical and mental health. Here's an example in our work with educators, what we found is the following, the culture and climate of their school. Was highly correlated with their anxiety, their stress, their negative feelings, which also was correlated with their mental health problems, with their sleep troubles and their body mass index.
So think about that.
This is how our emotional system and our environment are all linked together and connected to our physical and mental health.
There's no question. I mean, it just makes sense to me. Yeah.
And then this vicious cycle, because cortisol, insulin levels change. I want the fatty foods and I want immediate gratification. And then it just loops and loops and loops that I'm in shame for having eaten that.
Yeah, it's great completely. I speak from just research, not from personal experience. Me too.
And then the final one we call performance and creativity. You know, one thing that people often say is looking at your cognition. My students, for example, here at Yale where I work, often say to me things when I teach my classes. Know Professor Brackett, I didn't need emotional intelligence to get into Yale. And I say, well, you're going to need it to get out and.
Because no one's going to hire someone that has that kind of attitude, and of course, many of my students are fabulous, most of them are, but they didn't have an emotional education.
You know, they went to good schools and they got in because of their SAT scores and their grade point averages. But the truth is, you know, when you go to the real world, I can see that I work where they say things like, we can't stand these Ivy League graduates. They're so entitled and they're, you know, they don't work well in teams and they just think they know everything. You know, we want people who are flexible, people who, you know, are inspiring the skills that we never teach.
So I think that we need to rethink education to make sure that, A, our educators are taught emotion, science and be our kids, get these skills from preschool until whenever I just it's so.
The microphone is working, I just have no words because I, I spend so much time. Working with leaders of these Fortune 100 companies and. Sixty percent of the work they have to do is social, emotional learning, people are coming with skills.
People can code, people can think about financial strategy, but people lose their shit in meetings. People don't know how to talk to one another. People avoid hard conversations because they don't know that awkward is OK to feel. It's incredible that.
What is it going to take, do you think, to make this case? You know, it's going to take all of the students who are going through this training now to become the next generation of leaders, and I have faith that adults can learn these skills. And I I've demonstrated that. But the mindset of adults, you know, this is an example. So I gave a talk in one of our big departments here. I won't name it right now.
At the end of my presentation, one of the senior professors stood up and you looked at me and he goes, What happened to Yale?
I said, and I'm a bit of a self sabotage. So I said, you know, tell me more. And he goes, Mark, this is Yale. We produce Nobel laureates, not nice people. And I was like, OK. And then I you know, I can facilitate a group. And I said, Does anyone else have a different perspective? Lo and behold, another professor stands up and looks at me and goes, Here's what I learned, Mark.
Sometimes you just have to be a blank because then the people who work for you just shut up and do what you tell them to do. And I looked at the chair of this whole school and I said, look, are we making a movie here?
What if this goes like, I don't know what is happening?
And I thought the chair of this department was just going to cry. And he was so embarrassed and he looked and he goes, why do you think I asked you to come in?
And so, you know, we have a lot of work to do, you know, to get people to be on that, you know, emotions matter bus. And that's why I do the science and that's why you do your work. And, you know, I'm going to keep going until I get everyone to understand that data and to understand that our cognitive abilities matter. But how we deal with life, you know, I always say things like so many of our children don't reach their fullest potential because they can't deal with the feedback they get.
They can't deal with the disappointment, the frustration, the anxiety around the content. So their ability to be creative, it's that when they fail at being creative and when they get harsh feedback, they can't deal with the feelings around it and they give up not because of their ability, but because of their inability to deal with their feelings.
You know, I have to say, I was thinking about this in prep for our conversation, and I have never met a truly transformational leader in my career.
And I've worked with a lot of leaders just like you and all the big companies. I've never met a truly transformational leader that did not have a deep understanding of their own emotional landscape and the emotional landscape of other people.
I just never have. I agree. We did a study a couple of years ago with 15000 people across the workforce and we asked them about their feelings, know how do they feel each day at work. And, you know, we found not like the anxiety that we had today in our study I mentioned earlier, but, you know, 50 to 60 percent of the feelings were negative, you know, on a daily basis. But here's what the magic ingredient was.
We also learned about the emotional intelligence of their supervisor or their leader. We found a 50 percent difference in inspiration, that someone felt inspiration 50 percent more when they were in an organization with a leader with higher emotional intelligence. Their frustration levels were 30 to 40 percent less. Their intentions to leave the profession were significantly their burnout lower. So these are skills for us. But, you know, our leaders have to have these skills because we also found ethical behavior was related to the emotional skills of the supervisor and leader.
No question, so many variables are related to the person who is in charge, having the skills to manage people and manage their own feelings.
And it's so funny, too, because, you know, you talk about your money side. And I think for me, the moment where I get people's attention is when I talk about courageous leadership requiring the ability to attend to fears and feelings of the people we lead and serve and support. And just like in your Yale experience, so many people jump up your arms tightly, cross over their chest and say, I'm not a therapist, I'm a financial strategist.
I don't need to attend to fears and feelings. And inevitably, I will say, tell me your biggest struggle. Tell me your biggest time suck dealing with problematic behaviors. I'm like, right, because you can either spend a reasonable amount of time attending to fears or feelings or an unreasonable amount of time dealing with problematic behaviors. You're not. Couldn't agree more.
I call it we need to be. Prevention is not interventionist. Oh, I love that. If we are preventative and we help people develop the skills they need to navigate their lives, we don't have to spend millions and trillions of dollars like we are right now intervening.
That's right. I mean, that's just the science. That's right. OK, let's talk about ruler.
Tell us what it is. Tell us how it came about and let's walk through it together.
So Ruler is an outgrowth of the theory of emotional intelligence that was developed by my mentors, Peter Sullivan, who is now the president of Yale, and Jack Murtha, who is a professor at the University of New Hampshire. And so as I was working with them as both a graduate student and a postdoc, I was working with my uncle in this curriculum and it was playing in the real world and I was playing in the scientific world and I was passing out the different skills that the scientists had come up with and that my uncle had been working on.
And essentially it came together as ruler. And so ruler is recognizing emotions in one self, another. So paying attention to the cues in my body, the cues in my mind, it's recognizing emotions and other people. So face, body, voice, behavior, understanding of emotion has to do with knowing the causes and the consequences of our feelings. Going back to our example earlier I've given the three thousand presentations. I asked people what's the difference between disappointment and anger?
Do you know that three people in the last 10 years could really define the difference? People say things like one is internal, one external, one is a secondary emotion. But what's the psychological difference? And which is disappointment, unmet expectations, anger, perceived injustice, and the reason why that matters is because it helps us to then label that feeling properly. And then you have to decide in my angry or my enraged mind, just irritable or am I annoyed?
So that's the are the you and the ruler are recognizing, understanding and labeling. I call the the skills that help us create meaning of our experience. So I know I know what I'm feeling by the hour, the you in the L or how someone else is feeling.
So I want to stop you. I want to stop you before you go to the end. Ah well stop it rule.
OK, r is recognizing the occurrence of an emotion by noticing a change in your own thoughts, energy or body or in someone else's face, body or voice.
Correct. Recognizing. Tell me what you find as the greatest barrier to the ah to recognizing pausing to just be self reflective.
You don't do that. I always ask people how many times to a day before you when you hang up the phone with one person, you go into the next meeting, you take that breath and just check in with how you're feeling. What are you talking about? I got to I don't have time for that. Yeah, so there's that piece in the self-awareness. The problem with the other awareness is that we like to attribute emotions to people. We don't want to really know that feeling.
Right. Vinnie, why are you so angry? Why are you so anxious? Why you said this? I'm like, wait a minute. I have an A.. Do you know what's wrong? I'm like you and I'm fine.
Like, I'm doing okay. Like you're projecting all your stuff onto me. Right. So we do a lot of that. We don't pause to just observe. The other big barrier to R is that we have been trained to fake our feelings. You know, we messed up. It's emotional labor. I was at a big company in New York City giving a talk, talking. The CEO came up to me and he's like, interesting talk. I was like, thanks.
He goes, not for me, I'm OK. I'm like, well, what do you mean? He's like, well, maybe I'll have you train the people who work for me because then they'll get a better deal with me. I was like, this is so layered. But and my point is that he just had no interest in recognizing people's feelings. You know, he had the big corner office. So we have to want to gather this information.
Another big error that we make is misperceive behavior for feeling. So, for example, I come home, I hate you. I'm screaming into my arms up. I'm clenching my fist. How am I feeling? Angry. Well, you know, I know that because that's my story.
I would come home screaming, yelling all the time. And the real feeling I was having was shame. But I'm not going to go to my father, who was a tough guy from the Bronx and say, Daddy, you know, I'm feeling shame.
I'm going to yell and want to scream. I'm going to tell him I have to and I'm not going to school. So then I get punished because my parents and I had a are you tell me. Right. Happens all the time. OK, so I have a question about ah, when you say people have to want to know more, does curiosity play a role? I mean, I find some people are more curious about their emotions and other people's emotions.
Do you find that to be true?
One hundred percent. And you know, that's why I talk about in my book this idea of an emotion scientist versus the emotion judge. Right.
The emotion saying, I want to be both. OK, go ahead.
Well, you don't want to be the judge about your feelings, right?
So I want to be the judge about your feelings. I don't want to be with anybody, but I kind of like it sometimes. It's terrible.
Well, we are on well, you know, it's funny because some people say things well, I'm I'm the scientist for the people I love the least.
Oh, but that whole just like automatic.
Right. Like, yeah. You know, you have to want to know the information. So that's all that attitudinal piece that contributes to our skill development.
OK, so are clear on what that is clear on the barriers you understanding kind of same barriers, that same you know, that's a little bit more cognitive because that's where you have to learn the underlying themes around feelings so that, for example, we know that the anger family is around injustice, that the disappointment is around unmet expectations, that jealousy. Right. Is this feeling that you're threatened, that someone you care about is going to be taken away from you or envy is about just wanting what someone else wants.
Fear is about impending danger. Joy is about achieving your goal. And when we understand these feelings, what happens is that when I'm asking you to tell me what's going on, Briney I as the emotion scientist and listening for these themes. Oh, I'm hearing an injustice theme, all I'm hearing of unmet expectations in my kid is yelling that they hate me because we can't go visit his friend. But I don't think he's really angry. I think he's disappointed.
And so I have to help regulate disappointment, not punish for anger. And that understanding peace is what helps us to label and then in the labeling, we want to get granular, we want to get really nuanced in terms of how much fear is it? A lot of fear. A little fear. Because it's a lot easier to regulate a little fear than it is a lot of fear and like you, the example you used around shame and fear.
There are just some more socially, culturally acceptable ways of being that are based on gender, class, every descriptor.
Well, that's not getting to the e the expression. OK, so the R the U in the L is all about our experience in the E in the R expressing in regulating emotion is all about what we do with these feelings.
So you have to have permission to express you have to have someone who's going to listen to you, someone who wants to listen to you. And we know there are so many barriers to that, right, there are, you know, racial barriers, there are cultural barriers, there's power dynamics. People who have greater power can express whatever the heck they want. People of lesser power have more fear around expressing. I know in our center, the Center for Emotional Intelligence and I direct it's funny because I tell everyone, like, listen, this is the Center for Emotional Intelligence.
I really want to know how you're feeling. But because I'm the director, people are afraid, for example, oftentimes to tell me they're nervous about a project they're working on or anxious about it, a statistical analysis and. It baffles me, but yet there's this like if Mark thinks I'm anxious, that means he also thinks I'm weak, right? Oh, yeah. And so we have a lot of barriers to break in terms of people. We call those meta emotions where they have feelings about feelings and personality.
People often think that I'm, you know, very extroverted because I do a lot of public speaking. But I'm really not you know, I much prefer to be quite alone. And that leads to the strategies. Right. So an introvert might choose different strategies and an extrovert and regulating their feelings. You know, in the emotion regulation piece, which is at the top of that rule, our hierarchy is the probably the most important skill. Right, because it's how we handle our feelings.
It's what we do with them. Do I prevent this feeling? Do I reduce it to I initiated or created? Do I want to just maintain it? Do I want to enhance a mood? And then one of the strategies and there are so many strategies. Just briefly, this last week, last two weeks, I've been asked to do a lot of webinars on emotion regulation because people are suffering. So it's so broad, this emotional regulation piece, because part of it is self care.
Right. Do you get enough sleep or are you eating healthy? Are you getting your body? Yeah, that's like all the stuff that contributes to whether or not you regulate. Well, then there's a relationship piece. There's the cognitive strategies. It's endless, really. It's quite interesting when you think about how much there is to learn about dealing with your feelings. I have so many questions.
Tell me the difference between you find yourself overwhelmed with an emotion. Let's just say it's resentment. You put resentment on a continuum with disappointment around expectations, where do you see it normally? You know, I think it's kind of it goes towards the end of your family, right? Because if it's I have to get a lot of philanthropy from my center. So I'm oftentimes envious of their homes and their lives. Well, you know, resentment is that I hate them for having it.
And I don't ever feel that way in general. So it's like the negative side of envy, right? Many ways.
OK, so I'm overwhelmed with resentment or any grief for the anxiety, whatever it is. What is the difference between self-regulation and what we see a lot in the lexicon of the working world, which is personal management of self like we've got a problem with Bernie. She really doesn't have the skill set to personally manage herself when she's in really hard feelings. Do you think there's a difference, different nomenclature? What do you think?
You know, I think the feel of emotion regulation is a huge right and people call it coping. And there's emotion management, self-control and regulation. And there's so many terms, you know, I prefer to call it emotion regulation, because it's what we're doing is we're you know, we're regulating a feeling. Regulating does not mean not feeling. It doesn't mean getting rid of the feeling like I've been telling people, as you would, too, around the anxiety they're experiencing, kind of not feel anxious, like there's a lot of uncertainty and unpredictability going on.
But you don't have to watch the news 10 hours a day and being bombarded with crazy information that's going to make you go nuts. Right. So you can be with the feeling and not let the feeling have power over you. That's the ultimate form of acceptance of that feeling.
So what about the person who says to you, I do have feelings, but I regulate them and I don't feel them when our guy stuff them down?
Yeah, that's you know, that's what we all learned. You know, the suppression, the repression, the denial. Again, it's easier. The way I like to think about it is that emotion regulation is effortful. You have to want to regulate. You've got to be motivated to regulate. You've got to see that it's going to help you have greater wellbeing, that it's going to help you build better relationships. It's going to help you attain your goals.
But most of us aren't taught to think that way. So we think that just by suppressing or repressing, we can move on. And we all know that doesn't happen. Right. These emotions don't go away. The suppression doesn't mean it goes away. I mean, it gets buried in your belly or your in your heart or in your lower back. Right. So those I would just call those maladaptive are unhelpful strategies. I think it's hard for people to understand.
I read this somewhere. You know, I always say to people, emotions don't go away. Unfelt emotions are not benign. They metastasize. And you have this great thing. I can't find it in the book right now, but maybe you can help me since you wrote it, as sometimes I don't remember what I write. Do you ever find yourself like, OK, so maybe we could do it together. But I always say unprocessed emotions don't dissipate.
They're not benign. They metastasize.
You say something like something about the debt is going to be called out like they like. Yeah.
Do you know what I'm talking about? Yeah. Can you tell me, going back to the expression of feelings, I mean, I'm at home with my partner and my mother in law right now. And, you know, we haven't been together, you know, like this ever in my whole life. I've not spend this much time with anyone who's the traveling, teaching and running around. And so, you know, we're having strong feelings. You know, I'm getting feedback about my cooking that I'm not asking for.
And unless, like in the hallways, do we look at each other the same way we just like each other.
And anyhow, so my point here is think about the people that we're in relationship with and how many people have not been taught how to talk about their feelings or express their feelings with the people they love the most potentially. Yeah. And you realize that you don't really know the person you've been living with for twenty years because you're not you're not willing to be vulnerable. You're not willing to be your true self and share the feelings that you're having. And that just it pains me that we have gone through life with the inability to just be our authentic selves, with the people we love the most.
And so my question is, what do we need to do to create a society where that's part of the past? Yeah, it's the heartbreak.
And the driver for me with my work is all we really want, I think are the core human need is to be seen and known and loved. Yeah. And, you know, and if we don't understand the emotional landscape in our own lives, much less of the people that we are trying to see and know and love, we can't get there in so many people die without ever getting there.
It's terrible. And when you think about it in terms of the stuff that we do, you know, it's like being vulnerable means a number of things. I have to have the comfort and the skill to communicate. I have to be aware and really skilled at communicating my experience.
But I also have to know that I'm with that Uncle Marvin. Yeah, right. Because if the Uncle Marvin is on the other side, it's not worth sharing the rest with you. Exactly.
So there's so many variables that go into whether or not we talk about our feelings because, you know, we're going to be judged oftentimes by having them.
We can't stop the podcast until we talk about something that I'm seeing a lot right now and you call it, I think meta emotion like emotion about emotion, is that right?
I did this podcast where it's just kind of me talking about some observations since the covid pandemic began about how much shame people are feeling about their grief, how much shame people are feeling about their disappointment, how shame, shame people are feeling about their anxiety. Are those examples of meta emotion completely?
Yeah, it's just having feelings about your feelings. I'm embarrassed and I'm anxious, you know, that I'm not skilled at this or whatever it is. Yes.
So for me, coming from Mylan's, I talk about how comparative suffering is just a bankrupt idea because empathy and compassion are not finite. And so you don't have to everyone's hurt matters. Right. How do we apply kind of your ruler concept to these stacked feelings that we're experiencing right now where we. We don't think we have it as bad as other people, so we're denying our feelings.
It just reminds me of something similar, which is I was in a school with children with severe learning problems and emotional challenges. And this boy came in because we were filming that day and he's like, I'm feeling 15 feelings, you know? And his teacher was getting embarrassed, you know, because she was like he's just trying to be a showman. And I said to the little boy said, well, tell me tell me what happened. He goes, Well, I knew we were filming today.
And I woke up really excited and I missed my bus and my mother yelled at me. And then this happened. And this kid was so articulate about, yeah, 15 different feelings.
And I looked over at the teacher and she's like, oh, that's interesting is that he's going to tell the story to me. It's all about taking that breath, pausing and applying the ruler principles. Right. Just asking yourself, so why am I having the feeling about my feeling? What's the cause of that? And it's really just that reflection on, you know, what is the story that I'm telling myself right now? And you can go deeper and think about where that might have come from.
Right. One of the things that drives me crazy is how our negative self talk often comes from, you know, the adults who are raising us right out that way. Yeah, I'm too fat or too skinny.
I'm too tall. And the treatment of the debate is too short. I'm too dark. I'm too light. And then when you really go into that you're history, you start realizing that, my goodness, that was what my mother said to me when I was seven, 10, and I've now become that person. So then you're having these meta feelings and then you're kind of reflecting and it gets complex. That's why we have that just oftentimes just take a step back and pause sometimes write it out.
Yeah. And just try to figure out that theme, like, where is this coming from? And then maybe we can label the real feeling. And then go to that regulation, so much of emotion, this is what I'm finding in the work we're doing right now, so much of emotion. Is biography. God, I mean, you know, I took your test in the book, of course, I self scored very high, I'm sure.
And you read the paragraph after that. Right.
Which is the biggest threat to validity is how high we sell score. Exactly. I also I also read the part where evidence shows that men self score higher. Yes. But when the rubber hits the road. Yeah. As professors as this is so funny, I did this whole feminist pedagogy approach for several years where people, you know, I had the learnings that we had to do for the semester, but that I let people write their own syllabi and grade themselves based on their own learning objectives.
I had my preformed idea of what I think their grade should be at the end.
And it was so gender stratified because, you know, I would say, oh, man, she really she earned an a I mean, top grade in the class. I hate to be comparative, but it just happens in your head. Right. So I would say these are all graduate masters and students.
I gave myself a B minus for the semester.
I was like what the guys guys would be like A plus like what did not give you that, you know?
And so it's like this strategy is not I'm going to have to change my strategy. I have to weigh in here. That's funny.
So when I read that about yourself scoring around gender lines, I thought, yeah, I think importantly about that is that, you know, it's not like my other career has been in the martial arts. So when I was being bullied as a kid, one really important thing that my father did from was dropping off at a karate school and happened to be with an amazing teacher. So I got really hooked into martial arts.
But, you know, it's interesting, I've made the comparison between martial arts and emotional intelligence. So yellowbelly five kicks, five punches, blue belt, green belt, red belt, black belt, like you are given you're given specific instruction and you're given feedback and you're tested to get through these belts. But where do we have that for our emotional system?
How do you get a black belt, an emotional intelligence, you know? So that's I think what I'm hoping to do is I love that the structure for schools to give our students their black belts, you know, in social emotional learning and emotional intelligence.
And, you know, it's not it has to happen in schools because what I find I don't work with I don't work with K through 12. And I really even work with college students. I mostly work with people in the workforce already. And it's not that they're neutral, it's that you have to unlearn a ton of shit before you can get your black belt.
It's not like they're starting at no doubt they're starting with like their belts 500 miles away.
Now, I couldn't agree more. I can't totally. Because you've been practicing the suppression denial, blaming for 30, 40, 50 years. You can't just, like, snap it to the next one. Right. You've got no. Back a little bit, yeah, OK, so as we sign off, tell me before I've got a speed round of 10 questions for that we're going to do last. But before we get to those, sure, someone's listening.
They've got just like the kid in the classroom that the teacher was embarrassed about, but he proved to be a prophet and emotion literacy prophet. You have 15 things swirling in your head right now.
You've given this ruler tool, you've given us permission to feel the book and permission to feel. Yeah.
What can you say to people right now who are not only. Maybe overwhelmed by their own affect, their own emotion, but also in a house or at a job that they can't, you know, they don't can't be at home right now. What do you say to people as the first step back me up one step before a ruler?
The first step is permission to feel give yourself the permission to feel all these emotions. There's no bad emotion. There's no such thing as a bad feeling, feelings or feelings, emotions or emotions allow yourself to experience them all permission to feel.
That's just if I can get everyone in the world to just give themselves and the people they love and the people that we love so much, the permission to experience all of their emotions. I think I've I've made it so I'm listening to this right now.
And I said, OK, I'm going to get this book. I'm going to practice ruler. I'm going to read more about this. What is permission to feel look like for myself and what does it look like for my partner and my child?
When I get back from my walk listening to this podcast, it looks like those five things, that money slide. It looks like, you know, someone who can be present, who can be a great learner. It looks like someone who is going to make really sound decisions. It looks like someone who can build and maintain the best possible relationships. It looks like someone who is going to take care of themselves and have good mental and physical health. And it looks like someone who can in my world achieve their dreams, because I really do believe that people who take these skills seriously can can achieve their dreams.
I have zero doubt about that. Yeah, I'm with you 100 percent and thank you. It's just so invaluable.
And not only is your work invaluable, I think, but your commitment to getting the work out in an accessible, meaningful way is just I know it's hard.
It really is hard. It's the hardest part because the theories are there. We that we have the tools to teach people, but like the barriers to implementation, you know, are the hardest part.
Breaking through the barriers of people not wanting to talk about their feelings or ask other people how they're feeling and listen and then strategize. All right. You ready for the speed round?
I'm a little afraid, but I'm I'm ready.
OK. Fill in the blank for me. OK. Venerability, vulnerability is. A strength no to your call to do something brave, but your fear is real, you're in real fear about it, you can feel that fear in your throat. What's the very first thing you do?
Take a breath. Something that people often get wrong about you, that I'm outgoing and sociable. Which is a little pathetic that I'm not, but I would like to be alone, but now I get it, I live it and say, OK, last show that you watched, binged and loved.
This is a little scary, but I don't really watch television except for reality television. So I like The Voice and American Idol. Love it.
Favorite movie. I always go back, I don't know why, but to the Color Purple. It just it's a movie that just always gets me and it just reminds me of the world that we don't want in the world that we want to create.
A concert that you'll never forget is a Pearl Jam concerned about twenty five years ago. And I just remember it because my cousin is a publicist and she was working with the band and I was in the backstage and I was looking at the audience and Melanie Griffith was there and she was waving to me like, can I get backstage?
And I was like, wow, I'm cool. I got backstage access. OK, favorite meal.
I think my favorite meal. If I had a dream come true, I'd be sitting in a village in Italy and just beautiful village and having a great Italian meal with a good bottle of wine and gosh, what's what's going on right now. I can't wait to have the opportunity to go back.
Oh yeah. What's on your nightstand right now? A diffuser and probably five books that have been there for five years that I have wanted to read.
I'm so glad I'm not the only one, OK. A snapshot of an ordinary moment in your life. Just a single moment that brings you joy. I'm a coffee fanatic, and so I have an espresso machine and my the moment of joy in my morning is when I have the espresso and I watch the espresso coming out and I make my cappuccino, it's like bliss.
Oh, last question. What are you deeply grateful for right now? Well, I'm deeply grateful for two things, one is thank you for giving me the permission to be my full feeling self today, and I'm grateful that I have the opportunity in life to hopefully make a difference in other people's lives. Definitely making a difference in my life and I know a lot of people's lives, so thank you so much, Dr. Marc Brackett. The book is Permission to Feel, and you can go on the episode page on Bonnie Brown dot com to figure out how to follow Mark Finmark, find the book.
I just cannot recommended enough. And one of the things that I've been thinking about since reading it is we might do just in the House Family Book Club with permission to feel.
And I can be I can leave Reading Club for you if you like.
Could you imagine having kids now? Now I've got a 20 year old who's interested in studying emotion, and I've got a 14 year old son who really cares about it. And I can see he's struggling for the vocabulary sometimes. And thank you for helping us and walking us through, I think, the center of our being, which is our feelings and our emotions.
Grateful for you and I'm grateful for you. So thank you so much.
I appreciate your listening, if you want to find out more about Mark, you can find him on Twitter at Mark Brackett in ARCC, a secret Instagram. He's at Mark Dot Brackett and Facebook, Dr. Mark Brackett. His website is Marc Brackett, dot com. It's Marsi, BRACA dot com. And you can also always go to Briney Brown dot com. And we have a full episode. Page was show notes and everything you need for each of our shows.
You can find all of this information.
You can also find out how to get his new book, which I highly recommend practical, tactical, actionable, my favorite kind of book.
It's permission to feel unlocking the power of emotions to help our kids, ourselves and our society thrive. Have a great week, all.