Book Review: "Permission to Feel"

Book Review: "Permission to Feel" by Marc Brackett

I came across this title in a Yale alum publication recently, and decided to give it a try. Over the past decade, I have been on a quest to find strategies for my students to face their demons in the practice room and onstage, and to let go of this ever present sense of shame that they are not who they wish to be. In my desire to be an effective teacher, I have discovered just how well I have buried these emotions in myself without having quite processed them. While I have had much success in bringing temporary relief to lesson sessions, what I really want to do is to find better ways to process emotions continuously. So a highlight of this book for me was when Dr. Brackett articulated how we habitually choose to limit our focus to behavior rather than investigate the underlying passions, because we are mortified of having to deal with unknown realities once we uncover them. He demonstrates how to marry "passion and reason" by breaking down emotional intelligence into a clear five part process, while explaining the associated intimate feelings and vulnerabilities throughout the book. A quick and simple tool I have begun to use is the mood meter. It is available as an app or printables. Anytime I feel lost about my emotional state or when there are too many simultaneous emotions, I point to where I am or write down a new emotion on the grid. This simple act immediately pushes back on the amount of unknowns I am combatting, and downgrades the stress level. The book also shines light on the large-scale systemic reforms he is actively working on through the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, releasing tensions in schools, family life, and the workplace. A fantastic read!

Hsing-ay Hsu ©2020