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.

Who Are You?

 

You have a body. But you are not your body.

You have thoughts. But you are not your thoughts.

You have emotions. But you are not your emotions.

You have a family. But you are not your family.

You have friends. But you are not your friends.

You  have a job. But you are not your job.

You have a bank account. But you are not your bank account.

SO WHO IS THE AUTHENTIC YOU ?

For some of you, it will take years, maybe even a lifetime to unearth and discover the real you.   But don’t give up. This is your most ardent mission; your most sacred task.  Do not consult your external Self, your body, do not heed wisdom from your thoughts and beliefs, do not always trust your emotions for they can be in flux and in turmoil, do not look to your family or friends, do not judge your authentic Self by what you do, or how much money you make.  Your Authentic Self is not found in the stars or the deep sea.  It is found within–inside; that place that is only yours, that place called your SOUL.  What should we do once we find this place?

Love it. Accept it. Enmesh yourself in it’s glory. Celebrate it and let the JOY bubble to the surface and touch everyone around you.  Your SOUL is alive, on fire burning with possibility and potential.  It wants to play! It wants to learn! It wants to love! From the very beginning, it has always been about the journey, not the destination.  All experiences including the pain is worthwhile. It was all necessary—ingredients that made you YOU!  So wherever you are is fine.  Pick yourself up–and trust your inner guidance system. Go to your SOUL.

Two thousand years ago, Socrates declared to his students that the unexamined life is not worth living.  Plato brought Socratic wisdom to the world in his writings. What this old master was trying to teach his students is that if we don’t meet, know, and love our Authentic Self, our SOUL deteriorates. Life will have been a waste.  Another master, St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo from 396 to 430, one of the Latin Fathers of the Church and perhaps the most significant Christian thinker after St. Paul said it this way: “Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever; and take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow.” 

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