Emotional Status Dashboard (ESD)

6 min read

LoVita Emotional Status Dashboard Image

Emotions are everywhere; in every interaction we have with our partner, in every exchange we have with ourselves, in every meeting we attend at work. There are no situations that are void of emotions, and yet we like to believe that we can avoid emotions – or at least pretend that they aren’t a big deal (until we reach our tipping point and all the emotions come pouring out more like a broken dam – less like a beautiful waterfall).

Communicating what we are feeling, as the feelings are arising is the healthiest way to manage our emotions. This is also the kindest way to manage how others are affected by our emotions. Yet this “ideal” way of communication is often out of reach in the midst of an emotional fog. We either jump into arguments before understanding what we are feeling, go silent and stone wall our partners because the emotions are too overwhelming or simply refuse to acknowledge the problem all together hoping it will go away. In the past, when I would face difficult emotions, Ansh would ask me to help him understand what I was going through so he could “fix” the problem for me. My comeback? If I knew what the problem was I would fix it myself – I don’t need you to fix anything just give me the time and space to figure out what I’m feeling. This method of communication at the moment of heightened emotions only made the damage worse. The question comes down to this: what can we do when we are in an emotional storm to manage and express our emotions in a healthy way?

The concept of an Emotional Status Dashboard (ESD) as a method of non-verbally communicating what you are feeling helped save our relationship. The ESD was born when frustration met curiosity, and instead of walking away Ansh and I chose to lean into our skills – and engineer our way through the challenge. Essentially, the ESD is a place for the person who is feeling strong emotions, but doesn’t really know why – or what caused them – or even if they want to talk about them – to “express” non-verbally what is going on with them, so that the other partner can be aware – and hold the space for the partner in the storm to process what they are feeling.

The Partner who puts a status up on the dashboard has the responsibility to transition the status from baking to baked, when they are ready for a conversation. When the other partner sees that status has shifted to baked, they know it is safe to bring up conversations, with curiosity around what was happening. Sometimes the person who puts the status up on the dashboard is the one who chooses to start the conversation and explain what they have learned or why they think they were feeling what they were feeling. 

As we’ve iterated our version of the ESD over time, we’ve realized a few fundamental benefits. 

  1. The Partner that is using the ESD to express the emotions nonverbally gains the benefit of identifying and labeling their emotions helps regulate those emotions.
  1. The partner who is on the receiving end of the other’s emotions gains some clarity on what is going on. In our home the rule is when the ESD is invoked, the other partner’s role is to hold the space, act as a support by helping out wherever they can like doing the laundry and making dinner – and manage their own emotions instead of assigning blame, accusing or demanding justification for behaviors.
  1. The ESD clarifies who has responsibility for what part of the process. The Partner who invokes the ESD has the responsibility to label the emotions and manage themselves to work through what they are feeling; once they are in a healthy space – and ready for a conversation, move the emotions to the baked column, and if you feel like it brings up the conversation. The other partner is holding the space, managing their expectations and emotions and when they see that the emotions are in the baked column creating a Safer Space for the two to have an honest conversation and share what happened and what was felt.

We all know the benefits of communication. Communicating through difficult emotions is essential to build a healthier relationship. What we often don’t know is how to practice this kind of communication. This takes practice, patience and time to figure out. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. Currently, we are on the 7th version of our ESD, and brainstorming the next set of changes required to update it because like all good tools – the things that work, change and iterate with time.

How do you and your partner share your emotions with each other? Do you have a tool that you use as well? Maybe, you haven’t seen the need for this in our relationships or maybe this is the first time you’re hearing of such a thing. Do let us know in the comments below. You can also email us at [email protected] or DM us on our Social Media channels @lovitalovevitamins.

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