Becoming Emotionally Literate

Are you emotionally literate, saavy with your feelings? Can you communicate and accurately articulate what you are feeling in any given situation?  This is a critical skill in relationships.  We say you have Emotional Intelligence (or EQ) if you can understand, express and navigate your emotional states. Emotional literacy involves having the self-awareness to recognize and name one’s feelings,  to be able to manage and control one’s negative emotions such as choosing to stay calm when angered or confident when anxious. According to Daniel Goleman’s  research on EQ,  anyone can learn to grow their emotional muscles.

Emotions are part of life, sometimes the best part of life, yet so many of us are emotionally stunted.  I remember one of my clients, a male judge,  who told me in his evaluation that the best thing he learned at my Couples Retreat was that he had emotions! Apparently, he just didn’t know that this part of him existed.

We shut down the heart –some of us out of habit and some of us because of past hurts. And some of us shut down because our culture teaches us to.  Some cultures, like the Latinos and the Mediterraneans  let it all hang out without shame.  Northern cultures keep their emotions in check having learned that “too much” emoting can be, well, uncool.   I learned very young that not everyone was like my family.  When my school friends used to come over for homework and then stay for dinner, they would always ask me whether my parents were fighting.  Many people who grew up in Italian households  speak loudly and usually over one another.  This is normal for us but scary for others.

Here in the west, we have been conditioned to live in our heads. This is where we solve problems, advance careers and make money.  While we love to operate from the rational brain, the entanglement that is romantic love can only be unraveled if we activate our emotional brain and exercise our emotional muscles.   In order to handle the emotional waters of romantic love and step onto the doorstep of happiness, we must make emotional intelligence our priority.

Grace Cirocco
179 King Street
St. Catharines, ON
L2R 3J5 Canada
Telephone: (905) 688-0868
Fax: (905) 688-2788