Back at the beginning of July I introduced the idea that we were designed to live in intimate knowledge of ourselves – heart, soul, mind and body – and to live whole lives based on who we were uniquely created to be.
Let’s imagine these elements as being part of a single circle, like this:
If any of the elements of this circle are weak, or underdeveloped, it’s going to make it hard for the cycle to move forward smoothly. We’re going to miss out on critical information that would help us make decisions and create the depth of wholeness that will leave us free to be powered by love in all areas of our life.
Today we start with the heart – the emotional centre of our being.
So I’m going to start with a simple question – how many emotions can you name?
Most people can do ‘sad’, ‘mad’ and ‘glad’, but how many more can you put names to?
Do you know the difference between being frustrated and being disappointed; hurt or scared; excited or trepidatious? Do you know how to tell when you’re experiencing these emotions? Do you know how to tell when someone around you is experiencing these emotions?
Are you the type of person who feels emotions extremely strongly – so strongly in fact that you become paralyzed and overwhelmed by them?
Are you the type of person who has worked so hard for so long not to feel emotions that it’s become difficult to actually be in touch with what’s going on inside your heart?
And when you recognize these emotions, what strategies do you have to deal with them? What ways have you found to energize yourself when you feel a lack of motivation? What about ways to calm yourself when you’re overly excited? Or to regroup emotionally after reading something upsetting online?
These are just some of the early skills of Emotional Intelligence, but from there we as humans have the ability to develop all sorts of emotional skills. The goal at this point isn’t to become critical of ourselves or beat ourselves down. We want to develop an accurate assessment of our capabilities and capacities so that we know what steps will come next.
Some people tell me that emotions are unreliable. That they can’t be trusted. That we shouldn’t listen to them. However, more and more research points to the fact that an unhealthy relationship with our emotions causes all sorts of deep and lasting harm – it can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, to addictions issues, to relationship breakdowns, to physical health disorders – it can even increase the damage from traumatic events we have or will experience.
So it’s for this reason that we need to spend time developing our emotional skills – learning to feel and process our pain, learning to distinguish between our various emotions, learning strategies to respond in healthy ways to the emotions that we have.
And it’s by doing this that we will go from having emotions that seem to be out of control or non-existent to being able to listen and learn from our emotions in healthy ways that fuel our circle of wholeness, allowing us to become more and more the people we were always made to be.
Want to learn more? Feel free to connect!