Mainstream science is beginning to accept more and more, due to successful research, the importance of ‘emotional intelligence.’ You may ask, but ‘what is emotional intelligence and why should I care?’
The definition of emotional intelligence means having the ability to recognize, direct, and positively express emotions by involving the heart as well as the mind. It has never been a secret that emotions play a huge role in our overall well-being. However, it has taken the scientific community time to wake up to this obvious fact and to be able to conduct experiments to verify it.
Emotions were not considered important by the scientific community for hundreds of years as they considered humans were superior to ‘feeling’ animals, because of our ability to think and reason. Any person who expresses emotional intelligence can understand that it is this ‘thinking’ and ‘not feeling’ that is the cause of many of the world’s problems today. So, Why is emotional intelligence important for me?
What are the benefits to me of positively connecting with my emotions?
It is feelings, especially empathy with others, that can guide us towards being the best, doing the best we can, and are the driving force behind most of our actions. When positively connected with emotional intelligence, people are better able to work at co-existing in harmony with each other, with nature, and the whole environment.
There is no downside to learning how to be emotionally intelligent and the rewards to everyone are immense. The necessary skills to develop self-awareness, leading to emotional intelligence, can be learned by all of us and positive results can be achieved as quickly as we allow ourselves to incorporate the practices into our daily lives.
Feelings originate from our hearts and have much greater power than our thoughts so are therefore the best way to manifest our desires. The stronger our connection to our heart, the more connected we become to the reality of life that is unfolding before us. Whereas a disconnected, unappreciated, heart will not sustain us with a long, happy, or healthy life.
If we neglect our emotions, our physical, mental, and spiritual aspects will also suffer, as ALL are intimately connected. Also, if we allow our emotions to control us, we are just reacting to events instead of acting in an intelligent way. The main benefit of developing emotional intelligence is that it allows us to live a life based on consideration of a variety of factors, instead of mindlessly reacting based on a single outdated unconscious program that we inherited when we were younger.
How do I develop emotional intelligence? What’s in it for me?
Developing emotional intelligence allows us to be at peace with ourselves and our environment. People who are not controlled by their emotions are more fulfilled and satisfied with their lives. Self-love and appreciation for life is the key to feeling fulfilled and luckily for us, love is constantly flowing towards us from the Creator. However, due to free-will and ignorance, most people do not understand how to receive this love. Their hearts have hardened over time due to fear which restricts the amount of love they can receive. The way we free our hearts is to allow it to be submerged in the constant love that is always abundantly available for all of us. We do this by living in the moment, with joy, and by loving and accepting ourselves unconditionally, here and now.
Thinking positively and lovingly, all the time is a great idea, but by itself will not heal the damage that we are harboring deep within. We each need to be brave enough to go within and explore the aspects of our nature that we would prefer to remain hidden in the deep dark recesses of our being.
By bypassing our reactive responses and becoming aware of how we are feeling, and why we have these feelings at any given time, we are provided with the opportunity to transform ‘negative’ feelings into positive outcomes. By moving away from ‘ignorance is bliss’ to accepting responsibility for our current state of being, we can empower ourselves. This gives us the ability to transform situations to promote mutually beneficial outcomes for all involved. What’s in it for me? A better, more satisfying, life experience!
Our heart energy is the key to successful relationships as social connections depend upon the emotional acceptance of individuals within any group. First, we must accept ourselves and then those around us. This results in healthy, happy individuals and families living within a community, city, and country.
Presently the majority of people are out of touch with their feelings and this has led to many of the social problems we experience today within our communities. We have lost the ability to know what we are feeling at any given moment and therefore cannot empathize with others. This results in a breakdown of relationships with those with whom we share the planet, country, city, and even our homes.
By avoiding, or trying to control emotions such as pain, anger, and discomfort, the ability to feel all emotions becomes distorted, and the gift of being in touch with our emotional self is diminished or lost. Many distractions can be used to avoid acknowledging how we are feeling. We may use mindless entertainment, drugs, alcohol, and other addictive behaviors. We may also just disconnect from feeling by numbing ourselves to all emotional experiences. Others sometimes choose to continually use one emotional response for all situations- like constantly joking around to cover up their fear and insecurities.
I don’t like my feelings: They often get me in trouble.
We need our emotions to help us to make many decisions in daily life. Some consequences of not appropriately connecting with our emotions include:
- It is impossible to control one emotion alone. So if we attempt to shut down anger and fear, we will also lose the ability to feel love, happiness, joy, and all other emotions.
- We lose the ability to communicate effectively and therefore will not be able to build strong, healthy, relationships.
- Emotions, when suppressed, do not go away. The energy builds up and if it is not dissipated appropriately it will come back to ‘bite us in the ass.’ Energy blockages reveal themselves as problems in our lives and may manifest as depression, anxiety, fear, confusion, self-doubt, or in many other ways. Therefore, it is far more beneficial to appropriately deal with emotions as they arise rather than actively using energy to suppress them.
- When shut down or suppressed, we cannot have the benefit of our emotions to guide us in daily life and therefore the decisions on what we like and don’t like are not so clear. How do we choose who to love and spend our lives with when we cannot feel love? By ‘not feeling’ we are unable to make the best decisions because all the information is not available to us, that would be available if we were using our emotions wisely.
We should care because: on a personal level, emotions, when checked can override our thoughts causing us to react in ways that do not serve our highest good. They can even influence our behavior in ways that are against our better judgment. This can have direct negative consequences by transforming our key relationships, friendships, working relationships, or any social situation we may find ourselves in.
Working with emotional intelligence: On the plus side!
By becoming emotionally intelligent we can take control of emotions that have caused us problems in the past. This knowledge can be used to change our moods, our attitudes, and remove self-defeating habits from our lives, therefore, allowing us to understand ourselves on a more intimate level.
Anyone can learn and then apply these skills in ways to eliminate or reduce stress so that our body is able to function optimally. This aids our body to remain healthy and within its comfort zone even when under pressure. Our mind also benefits by remaining clear and calm and does not become overwhelmed with thoughts that are not beneficial ‘at this moment.’
The rewards of learning emotional balance will impact every aspect of our life, and as we learn more about our feelings we are less likely to be overwhelmed by fear, anger, helplessness, depression, etc. By being calmer, more relaxed, and more in tune with what is happening around us we naturally become happier, healthier, and more productive.
My emotions scare me: How can I improve my emotional intelligence?
For some, the idea of being connected to their emotions at all times may be terrifying. This is understandable if they have very little control over the way they react to situations because their emotions overwhelm their ability to act in a productive way. However, fighting these strong emotions only focuses thoughts on them and causes them to linger.
However, if we stop obsessing about them, even the strongest emotions of anger, sadness and fear will lose their ability to control us. Learning how to identify what causes these strong emotions and practicing ‘stress reduction techniques’ will enable us to break free from any destructive cycle that we may have been previously caught in. For most people, before they can move forward, this means acknowledging factors in their past that caused these emotions to appear.
It is important to realize that even the emotions we perceive to be negative have a critical role to play in our lives. Acknowledging this is taking a huge step forward to accepting our emotional selves, and then we can use this information to learn more about ourselves so we can move towards producing positive outcomes in all situations.
So, should I be scared of my emotions? No! We need our emotions. They are our friends. For example, while fear can be debilitating and separates us from others, it can also alert us to danger and serve to save our lives. Sadness, leading to depression, is a sign that we need to slow down, stop thinking too much, allow ourselves to trust our vulnerability, and feel our emotions in order to heal ourselves. The upside of some anger is that it can mobilize us and then force us to take purposeful action in a creative way.
Many of the problems we face on a daily basis are not actually life-threatening, but people often ‘overreact’ to perceived threats, thereby placing unnecessary strain on their central nervous systems. Even if a threat is not genuine, but only perceived, we often react as if it is real. When we are feeling anxious, stressed, insecure, or depressed, our central nervous system protects us by shutting down or limiting some of the body’s other functions to prepare us to flee or fight. This limits the tools we have available for a more thoughtful response. It is far more beneficial for us to learn to manage the stress and the related feelings of dis-ease so we can remain feeling safe, happy, and energized.
We only really need to flee or fight if our life is in danger. If a situation is less threatening, like being reviewed by the boss at work causes stress, it would definitely serve us better to be able to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of stress to have our mind clear and fully functioning so we can have a coherent well-structured discussion.
When our mind is running away and thinking against our best interests, we become overwhelmed and our body is put on edge (under stress), creating an environment that compromises our physical health by reducing the body’s natural ability to preserve and repair itself. Sometimes stress, within our comfort zone, can be beneficial as it enables us to perform well under pressure. However, it is when we are stressed too often and beyond our comfort zone that the stress then becomes detrimental to our personal wellbeing. This overflows to affect our relationships with others and the environment around us by preventing us from thinking clearly and acting appropriately.
I hope by now you understand the downside of not being emotionally intelligent. It limits our ability to react in a positive way that would result in better outcomes for us and everyone else. Go here to part 2 of this discussion on emotional intelligence to learn how you can develop and use your emotions to your advantage at all times.
Shared with love and light,