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Boys Need The Words

We all know how we feel. In fact, we are the only ones who truly know how we feel inside. What we struggle with is finding the right words to convey to others so they can understand how we feel. What continues to surprise me is how few words we know to express how we feel.

On average, women can list 8 emotions when asked. For men, the average 4 .

For school aged kids, the average feeling chart used in schools depicts on average 12 – 16 emotions. Compare that to the the work of Paul Ekman that identified that there are over 7,000 emotions that humans can express through facial actions.

For boys, its no different. They simply don’t have a huge lexicon of words for them to accurately label how they feel. And in the absence of having the right words, they often pick feeling words that are the most commonly known (anger, mad, excited, scared, etc.). Ironically these words are often the most intense words we have to describe our emotions and when used incorrectly they are at risk of conforming to the emotion they have identified and not to the authentic feelings inside.

So, what is the fix?

Simply put – we need to know more words to describe our feelings. We need to understand for ourselves that there are a boundless number of words to describe how we feel. And we need to teach and mentor the same to the youngest of us. We need a bigger emotional dictionary.

With that in mind, I have put together a list of 365 emotions, a whole year’s worth. I am going to be rolling one out everyday on social media with the hope that it helps us all expand our emotional repertoire. I also hope that these words find themselves into a more expanded emotional vocabulary that will help kids expand their own.

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