Let's be real. Life has just as many challenging moments as it does, basic or joyful ones. No one is exempt from the struggles that present themselves on a regular basis, even me, (though if you know me, I sometimes try my hardest to pretend they don't haha). How we handle these tough situations is everything. Emotional Intelligence is key to move forward in healthy and productive ways. The subtleties of our emotions offer valuable insights. Embracing and understanding our emotions as they surface is an important piece in the journey toward our holistic well-being. Much like how lab testing can pinpoint physical health issues, there are tools and practices available to delve into the core of emotions that can hinder our optimal self. (That is another blog all in itself!!) These resources are crafted to guide us through the exploration and integration of emotions, empowering us to navigate each day with heightened awareness and intentional choices. It's a holistic approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of physical and emotional well-being on the path to overall health.
As I have gotten older, since having kids and even furthermore, in the last 3 years, my understanding and value of emotional intelligence, especially in the areas of conflict management and communication, has dramatically increased. First and foremost, being able to witness and understand our feelings without identifying with them or denying them, and then recognize how they affect our thoughts and actions is a huge step to a more balanced and self-aware way of connecting with and relating to the world around us and in turn creating the life we envision for ourselves. Being able to notice when we are on a triggered pattern of thinking, pause and choose differently, can be the first pebble thrown, that will create the ripple effect in the life we see manifest before us.
The next layer is, while we can't change the behavior of others, being able to identify the emotions behind their behavior, we can have a better understanding of where they are coming from and how to best interact with them. Having an intricate understanding of emotional intelligence, doesn't translate to being able to easily implement the five key elements when we are in a moment of emotional overwhelm. However, when we are able to look at these moments as opportunities for growth, while the feelings we are no doubt experiencing feel crippling and not easily escaped, we can feel good about our decisions to meet ourselves where we are and make choices that bring us closer to our authentic self and allow our transformation to unfold.
“When emotional intelligence merges with spiritual intelligence, human nature is transformed.” ~ Deepak Chopra
Emotional Intelligence (EI) The ability to manage both your own emotions and understand the emotions of people around you.
There are five key elements to EI:
Self-awareness: The conscious recognition and understanding of one's own thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and characteristics. It involves the ability to introspect and reflect on one's actions, motivations, strengths, weaknesses, and values. Here, we can feel and name our feelings.
Self-regulation: Refers to the ability to manage and control one's own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in various situations. It involves the capacity to regulate impulses, resist distractions, and maintain focus on goals. Here we don't run away, accept, and know that it is ok to feel this way. We can manage using self-soothing or coping skills to embrace or defuse the feeling we have identified.
Motivation: In the context of emotional intelligence, refers to the ability to harness and channel one's emotions to drive and sustain positive behavior. It involves a deep understanding of one's personal values, desires, and long-term goals, and the capacity to use emotions as a source of energy and commitment. When we are driven to pursue goals for personal reasons as opposed to some kind of reward (External motivation).
Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It involves not only recognizing the emotions someone else is experiencing but also being able to comprehend the perspective from which those emotions arise. Empathy encompasses the capacity to tune into others' emotional states, show genuine concern for their well-being, and respond with sensitivity. When we can recognize and understand others' motivations.
Social skills: Refers to the ability to navigate and manage relationships effectively. It involves understanding social dynamics, adapting communication styles to different situations, and demonstrating interpersonal finesse. Individuals with strong social skills can build rapport, communicate persuasively, and resolve conflicts diplomatically. This aspect of emotional intelligence includes qualities such as active listening, clear communication, and the ability to pick up on social cues. When we share with loved ones what we are experiencing and check in on their feelings as well.
Now, here is where things get really interesting. Intelligence is information in the brain. Emotional intelligence doesn't automatically translate to emotional intimacy until these learned skills and behaviors are put into action! The experience of emotional intimacy is completely different than just learning about it. This is where the integration and transformation take place. Once we are more emotionally aware, we must then take the dive deeper and explore true vulnerable uninhibited emotional intimacy, which if you are anything like me, can be the scariest yet most rewarding thing you've ever experienced. We all feel different levels of comfort with the different facets of intimacy; mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. When we have the tools and practices that keep us balanced and grounded while exploring new depths of any intimacy, the journey can be slightly smoother, but will always be tumultuous and challenging in some sense because change and transformation always feels uncomfortable. Deciding to choose growth and expansion comes with its own Kind of struggles and discomfort but comes with ever greater rewards.
What if the next time we felt an uncomfortable emotion, we paused, took a deep breath, and said to ourselves, right now, I feel (fill in the feeling) in my body, from a place of non-judgmental witnessing, instead of identifying that we are the feeling or even worse, criticizing ourselves for feeling that way?
What if when we felt the impulse to find an escape or distraction from a feeling that we judge as "bad", we closed our eyes, noticed where it lived in our body and wondered how old this feeling was and then asked ourselves what we need in order to feel cared for, safe and nurtured?
What if we relaxed into the knowing that these uncomfortable moments are a necessary part of our journey of self discovery and to not delve in, would be denying ourselves a large part of the experience?
What if when we found ourselves in an uncomfortable emotion, we relaxed with a deep exhale and said to ourselves, "I let go of what is no longer serving me and I am open to what is" and trusted that everything is working out exactly how it should be.
What you are feeling matters. You deserve to feel seen and heard, first and foremost, by yourself. I send you love on your journey exploring the uncharted waters of your soul's journey to find love, peace and connection.
All the love,