28 Mar What to do with your emotions…
The other night, my boyfriend and I had a disagreement that left me hurt and saying, “I just want to be alone right now!” while I stormed off to my bedroom like a little girl. Thankfully, he didn’t let me get away with it and came to talk to me after a few minutes of me crying into my pillow. As I lay there in tears, he began explaining how I wasn’t seeing the situation clearly.
As he was mid-explanation, I noticed two parts of myself show up to the moment. There was the Emotional Woman and there was also the Objective Onlooker. The Emotional Woman was inside of me, the Objective Onlooker was in the top corner of the room speaking reason over me.
I listened to her as my boyfriend explained himself, and within a few minutes it was all over. We worked it out and ended up better off than we’d been before the disagreement.
Which got me thinking a lot about emotional intelligence.
Over the past few years, I’ve been working very hard to cultivate it in myself, and I can’t say how much of a life changer it is! Situations that can turn into epic dramas are diffused within minutes and life carries on even better than it was before the situation arose.
So what is emotional intelligence?
Well first, what are emotions?
Emotions are defined as: a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. As the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 says, “Our brains are hard-wired to give emotions the upper hand.” (Enter girl who storms to her room in tears!)
Second, what’s the connection between emotions and emotional intelligence?
“Everything you see, smell, hear, taste and touch travels through your body in the form of electrical signals. These signals pass from cell to cell until they reach their ultimate destination, your brain. They enter your brain at the base near the spinal chord, but must travel to your frontal lobe (behind your forehead) before reaching the place where rational, logical thinking takes place. The trouble is, they pass through your limbic system along the way – the place where emotions are produced. This journey ensures you experience things emotionally before your reason can kick into gear. The rational area of your brain (the front of your brain) can’t stop the emotion “felt” by your limbic system, but the two areas do influence each other and maintain constant communication. The communication between your emotional and rational “brains” is the physical source for emotional intelligence.” (Emotional Intelligence 2.0)
How interesting! Knowing that we cannot control our emotions but rather our reaction to them is a very helpful fact. Rather than trying to push away certain feelings, we can accept them and put our focus on how we want to deal with them, instead.
So, my challenge for you:
The next time you get into a heated situation where your emotions are triggered, begin to look for the rational voice in the room with you. Can you hear her? What is she saying? Is she hard to find? Is she a whisper compared to the scream of your emotions? Get present to her and acknowledge she’s there. Awareness is a huge first step!
And I’m curious to know, do you have any stories of dealing effectively with your emotions? What are your strategies? Do share in the comments below!