The One Thing That Increased My Emotional Intelligence Immediately
And increased my overall awareness
Emotions are a beautiful thing. As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), I am no stranger to the beauty and terror of emotions. The feelings of elation and joy that permeates my cells when I am happy spending time with loved ones. The constriction that occurs throughout my body when I experience anxiety when I am rejected for a date.
All of it is quiet amazing.
Over the years I have been practicing different techniques to help manage and understand my emotions better. Re-framing my perceptions and relationships around emotions.
I adopted a Stoic Philosophy towards approaching life. This had me practicing things like:
- meditating on my own mortality — memento mori
- meditating on all the things that could or be taken away from me — premeditatio malorum
- loving what happens to me — amor fati
- focusing on what I can control
I also studied a lot of neuroscience. Looking into the fields of epigenetics and neuroplasticity. I didn’t just want to understand the metaphysical aspect of the emotion, but the chemical structure as well.
These were both great endeavors, but my biggest epiphany came from a moment of clarity when I experienced my separation as the awareness of my thoughts, and not the thoughts themselves.
Emotions are Real
It is easy to say since I am separate from the thought, I am also separate from the emotion. This is true, but it is important to remember
we are not heartless robots (yet) we are humans with emotion
You reading this right now are a human being (unless you are an alien, in the case welcome! Big fan, where you been this whole time?!) with a spectrum of emotions.
Some of us experience emotions more intensely than others, and some of us can communicate and recognize them more than others. Regardless though, we all have them.
With or without a facial expression, with or without a label. Emotions are real.
However, I’ve come to realize
the emotion is real, but the story that created it might not be
The Stories Might Not Be
We have all experienced some heavy emotions in our lives. I recently was rejected from what can only be described as my dream job. I felt completely gutted. My mind initially created stories.
“I’m not qualified enough.”
“They didn’t like me.”
“My beard is too big, and I look unprofessional.”
“I’ll never find something like this again.”
Each of these stories fueling more of an emotional response within. I took a deep breath, and said the statement from above out loud.
“This emotion of hurt is real, but the story might not be.”
To help experience this more deeply. I ask that you humor me with your participation in the following.
Imagine that you just got a phone call from a loved one. They told you how much you mean to them. That you are an amazing individual and your mere existence makes this world a better place.
Imagine that a loved one just got in a horrible accident. They are rushed to the hospital, but they pass with you by their side en-route.
(STOP, BREATH, TUNE-IN)
Neither of these stories are real. You may have felt the joys or sorrows of what just occurred, but it wasn’t real.
The mind is powerful.
Emotions are messengers. They are an expression of how we feel and what we are experiencing. The more uncomfortable ones are telling us that there is something we need to look at.
Emotions point to what beliefs we hold on to, and whether or not we still need to hold onto them. They might point to a wound, a trauma, that can be worked on. When an emotion arises, be curious. Ask
- What is this about?
- What belief is this threatening?
- Do I REALLY believe this?
By asking these questions, AND still feeling the emotion, we honor it. We can move into a space of awareness and say, “what I am feeling is real, but what is the story behind what I am feeling?”
Seeing Things as They Are
This one little technique allows us to move beyond the story, while not repressing the reality of the emotion playing out in the body and mind.
It is opening us up to the awareness to see the world as it is in this moment. If I walk over to your house and give you a kiss on the face a lot of stories will arise.
“He likes me.”
“He is weird.”
“He is trying to prove a point.”
The reality is, I walked over and kissed you.
The stories and everything else that can cause a cascade of emotional and mental stimulation comes from PERCEPTION.
Ask, “where is my awareness at in this moment?”
This one technique of questioning the story, while still honoring the emotion is a gateway into where our awareness is focused.
Awareness allows us to see the relationships we have made with certain beliefs. It gives is the CHOICE to decide if we want to continue the relationship.
I could have attached myself to any of the stories about why I didn’t get the job. Instead, I asked myself the question, and decided to see things as they were and no more.
I didn’t get the job, I am feeling hurt (ALLOWS SELF TO FEEL THE PAIN).
Then I move forward.
No need to create additional stories, and make unnecessary relationships with beliefs that have no basis in reality.
Don’t repress your emotions, but be careful not to create imaginary stories that add to the fire.
the emotion is real, but the story behind it might not be