Emotional intelligence is an interesting phrase and has been a buzz phrase for years! Its it about recognising your feelings?
What does Emotional Intelligence actually mean and do you have it?
The Wikipedia definitions is:
Emotional intelligence is the capability of individuals to recognise their own, and other people’s feelings and label them appropriately, to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour, and to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve one’s goal.
It is about being able to recognise your own feelings, label them and use that information to deal with the situation. It is not about you getting to a point through your wisdom and self-discipline that you don’t actually feel anything ‘bad’.
With the whole positive thinking movement and the Law of Attraction way of thinking it is a common error that you have to get magically happy to be able to manifest what you want. The Law of Attraction works by allowing you to attract things into your life that you are a match to energetically. So to attract good can be a process, especially if you have been in a depressive funk for months and part of the process is to be able to feel, label and deal with your emotions – all of them – every single one. Everything!
The problem is we have been taught to suppress our feelings. We are taught not to be too loving as we will get hurt; not to be too smart as we will be bullied, etc. As children we were punished for crying if it wasn’t convenient for our parents.
So we get in the habit of suppressing how we really feel. Feeling can be scary so we end up thinking that our feelings are too big – especially in the moment we are experiencing them. Have you ever noticed that physical feelings are quick and fleeting, but the ideas you hold of the pain is what sticks around.
We avoid feeling anything because we have been taught our feelings have a life of their own, that they will stick around if we dwell on them. The opposite is true – when you don’t acknowledge your feelings you become stuck.
When you feel joy does it last more than a few minutes? It doesn’t. But with emotions like anger, tension, depression and sadness they can last longer – weeks, months or even years.
Because they aren’t actually feelings but symptoms of not dealing with and processing your feelings at the time. Your sadness is letting you know that you are still attached to something being different. For example your guilt is saying you have done something bad and your shame says you are bad in other people’s eyes.
Many people walk around numb – thinking they are feeling nothing but that isn’t true. Numbness is feeling everything and not processing it – it is literally everything at once. Being numb is the worst place to be in.
To bring about healing you need to let yourself feel.
It is time to deal with your with the emotions you have suppressed. These emotions could have come from grief, guilt, disappointment, etc. All of those emotions you couldn’t deal with at the time – it is letting yourself process what you had to suppress at the time to cope.
It’s not about changing how you feel but about listening to what you are feeling. Every feeling you have is there for a reason and the ones you suppress the most are the most important to learn from.
Sadness won’t kill you, nor will depression! But ignoring it, trying to escape it rather than deal with it will. When you do this you give it no other place to go than deep into your sub conscious mind- where it will stay and control you. When you do this it will literally rob you of everything good in your life. What happens when you numb emotions is you numb the good ones as well as the bad ones – you literally can’t numb one without the other.
The thing to know is there is nothing to be afraid of, in fact when you feel your emotions you will allow healing to begin.
What you need to do is to feel the emotion without judging it. This is not about positive thinking or changing how you feel – it is about listening to how you feel. Sit with the feelings – see what the feelings are telling you. Remember every feeling has a purpose – you miss so much by trying to change them or by thinking some are right and some are wrong/ that some are good and some are bad. Or that you should feel this and you shouldn’t feel that. The feelings you most suppress are the most important.
Some people worry that they will get stuck in their feelings but if they don’t actually take the time to feel them, then they will stay stuck. There is a difference between dwelling on the feelings and simply feeling them.
When you learn to feel all your feelings you grow. When you feel your feelings you are then more able to feel love, gratitude and happiness. To read about how being in touch with your feeling can improve your dating life read How Emotional Granularity Improves your Relationships.
Remember when you are in a great place you will attract the right person into your life. Like attracts like, so if you are carrying around pain you can attract more of the same.