Emotional intelligence, in contrast with cognitive intelligence, is the quality that enables us to negotiate with patience, insight and temperance, the central problems in our relationships with others and with ourselves. It can manifest in partnerships as a sensitivity to the moods of others, a readiness to grasp what may be going on for them beyond the surface, and to enter imaginatively into their point of view. It shows up in relation to ourselves when it comes to dealing with anger, envy, anxiety and professional confusion.
These are things not generally taught in the "academy", especially for those over 40 years of age. When it comes to managing our emotional lives, we were left to our own, igniting the praise of parents, as when we quietly receded as we were overtly diminished, or engendering their scorn, as we were shamed for expressing, or even having, challenging emotions. This would, of course, lead to even more highly charged, "unacceptable" emotions.
These childhood patterns of becoming small, or stuffing our most powerful feelings, show up every day in our relationships with others, ourselves and the world at large. Just think about the last time you wanted to speak up but held back because you were certain that your input would be rejected or that your experience would be ridiculed. These behaviors are rooted in childhood and are reinforced in a culture that seeks to control. They show up in our culture as systems that determine our place. Questioning these patterns (another cause of parental/societal consternation), is definitely taboo, as we're seeing playing out in our current culture. New ways of being in the world are beginning to emerge; new lenses through which we are seeing the world and through which we identify ourselves as individuals and collectively. These new ways create chaos. They always have. Evolution and revolution are only distinguished by one letter. We're witnessing the messiness of history in the making. Are we up to the challenge of the uncertainty of our times? Not unless we can navigate our own inner turmoil.
Perhaps you're interested in breaking some old patterns that you've outgrown. Perhaps you'd like to ask some hard questions that you've been too reticent to bring forward because of some feared silencing or shaming that might result. This work always begins and ends with ourselves. Inner work too, is messy, difficult and frightening.
Keep in mind that we can only be responsible for our own personal growth, relinquishing the growth of others to themselves, no matter how much we love them or oppose them, and no matter how certain we are about THEIR way forward.
Becoming aware of our own interior landscape is the starting line. Showing up to what's actually happening may sound ridiculous. Of course you've been showing up! But are you showing up with awareness, or just going through the motions? Are you on autopilot?
Check out some of these ways of showing up and see if this is what you're experiencing. Some of the practices that are most helpful are:
Need help with these steps? It's easy to schedule a free consult HERE.