What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence is about recognising the emotions within yourself and others and knowing through experience on the best ways to fully express those emotions in a safe, loving and nurturing way. It’s not about controlling our emotions or hiding harmful ones. When we are emotionally intelligent, there is no need to hide an emotion as our emotional e
xpression cannot be harmful.
As spiritual beings having a physical and human experience, emotional expression is a very important part of our experience and learning emotional intelligence is a big part of our journey of enlightenment.
Blocks to our Emotional Intelligence
Growing up in London in the 70’ and 80’s you’d think that there wasn’t much work being done with our emotional intelligence what emotions mean to us. On the surface that is a pretty fair assessment of the times. Schools would brush over any emotional content, our parents wouldn’t know where to start, our primary educator, the television had no content where we’d explore our emotions.
However, under the hood of society there was a lot of work being done with our emotions. We were shamed for anything that showed any sort of emotion. If we cried, were angry, were upset, were confused even if we laughed too much or in the wrong way. We were shut down and told that it was wrong or we were being silly, it was a rare environment where we were allowed to fully express our emotions and allowed to be comfortable to do so.
All of this has created deeply ingrained belief patterns, emotional trauma, judgements and karmic energy when it comes to expressing our emotions. These patterns run deep within our consciousness and have created experiences where time and time again we shut our emotions down and we deny ourselves a full and enlightened physical experience.
I don’t know if things are any better for those growing up in the later years and even today. I know my own son who is 17 was in a similar place to where I was growing up, partly due to my own lack of emotional intelligence and not being able to give him the space to express, nurture and grow his own emotional intelligence. Some of this has changed as I have but I’m only a small part of his world and I know in other areas, of his life, emotions are still being shut down.
I have no idea if all of this is intended or if we have come here as a result of many years of social change and progression but the end result has created generations of people who cannot and will not connect, allow, display or acknowledge their emotions.
Something I’d like to clear up here is all emotions in their pure form are completely natural and a part of who we are. To not have or feel any emotion is akin to not being alive. Yet so many of us go through life accepting and joyfully processing some emotions but when the emotions that we consider as toxic. What I’ve found is that no emotion is toxic. All emotion is healthy and we should want them to be a part of our lives. However, it I the way we process some emotions that are toxic.
Anger is not a toxic emotion, we can do great things with anger and as we become more emotionally intelligent, we will learn to channel that anger in healthy and useful ways. However, if we process our anger by shouting at somebody or breaking objects, our anger will become toxic and harmful to us. We eventually decide that anger is a bad emotion and whenever we feel it we supress it and push it away lest we take our anger out on somebody else.
Once you realise that emotions are natural and all emotion is healthy, we can drop the toxic label form the emotions and start to deal with our toxic behaviours around them.
How to Grow Your Emotional Intelligence
Our ability to connect with, understand and process our emotions is a big part of growing up that I know myself and many others missed out on. Yet, we can make the decision to start working on this part of ourselves at any time and start to develop an emotional intelligence for ourselves.
I’ll write about some of the things that have helped me, you do not have to do everything I suggest, just make a start and let yourself be guided on the best way to grow into this new part of yourself.
Decide to Work on Your Emotional Intelligence
One of the most powerful forces of creation in the universe is the power of intention. Before anything can be created or anything can happen, an intention must be created and it’s from the power that intention creates that the rest can follow.
Look at your life, look at how you manage emotions, make a strong and powerful decision on what you would like to change about that. Tell yourself sincerely on what it is you want to achieve, make it real and make it necessary for your personal growth and empowerment.
Start to Recognise Emotions
Emotions rise up to be processed constantly. A lot of the time, we may not even recognise that an emotion is there and we subconsciously process it. This may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how healthy our relationship with that particular emotion is.
Before we go to change any behaviour, we should start to recognise those emotions that are there. Identify them, name them, start to feel them, do you get a sensation in your body, do you feel a temperature change, do you sense colours or smells or maybe you attribute them with an object. This is the start of you acknowledging these emotions knowing how to recognise and process them. This may feel like a strange thing to do at first but as your emotion intelligence grows, you will subconsciously be opening to and dealing with your emotions and processes like this will be unnecessary.
Stop Judging Your Emotions
Look at all emotions as a natural and healthy ways our expression, our healing and our experience. By judging our emotions as bad we are contributing to the toxic behaviours around those emotions. By embracing all emotion, we can start to learn how to deal with that emotion and process it, we create healthy actions based around our emotions and we can even start to grow spiritually and mentally.
Expressing Emotions Safely
It is very important to have safe environments where you can access and process your emotions. This can be safe places where you can process without being judged and safe people with who you can share your experiences and learn together with them. Start building networks of people you can be open with and assist you in your journey.
Heal your Wounds
As we go through life, we can be emotionally hurt and develop mental, emotional and energetic wounds from the trauma that these emotional pains give us. Until we heal these wounds, we will find it difficult to deal with these emotions and find ourselves unconsciously sabotaging our efforts in order to protect ourselves from reliving that pain. Seek out ways to heal those wounds be it from counselling, spiritual healing, special workshops, self-help books or likely using a few or all of these.
Go Easy on Yourself
Changing behaviour, attitudes and ways of both conscious and unconscious being takes a very long time. Like all forms of mastery, you can be working on your emotional intelligence for a lifetime and still have more to learn. However, it is easy to get frustrated and fed up when progress is slow. But as you keep going, you will make great steps, every few months, look back and see how far you’ve gone, it’ll give you hope and courage to continue the work and develop yourself further.
In a world where emotions are shunned and ignored, it takes a great deal of courage to want to work with our emotions. However, developing and working with our emotional intelligence is incredibly empowering and once we start this journey, we will realise how much easier it is to deal with things in our lives, how much more resilient we become and how much more fulfilling all aspects of life become.
I originally wrote this piece December 2016 in a place where it was lost and I've re-published it again in June 2018. In the 18 months since I originally wrote this article, its amazed me at how my own emotional range has grown and how much better I feel for myself that I've done this work.
I hope that you will take something useful from this piece and it will help you in developing your own emotional intelligence.