Language is our portal to meaning-making, connection, healing, learning, and self-awareness. Having access to the right words can open up entire universes. When we don’t have the language to talk about what we’re experiencing, our ability to make sense of what’s happening and share it with others is severely limited. Without accurate language, we struggle to get the help we need, we don’t always regulate or manage our emotions and experiences in a way that allows us to move through them productively, and our self-awareness is diminished. Language shows us that naming an experience doesn’t give the experience more power, it gives us the power of understanding and meaning.
Our ability to accurately recognize and label emotions is often referred to as emotional granularity. In the words of Harvard psychologist Susan David, “Learning to label emotions with a more nuanced vocabulary can be absolutely transformative.”
The resources below—companions as you read along with Atlas—are intended to help build our emotional vocabularies.