When I was growing up, there wasn’t much schooling about feelings and emotions, but more on academics like reading, writing, and math, etc. Learning all the usual school subjects are necessary requirements and we’re also taught about the history, which shows us how far we’ve come. Things haven’t changed that much today, and there’s not as much schooling about how to handle feelings and emotions as we need to manage our lives and to succeed as people. After all, we’re all made up of thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
The older I get, and the more I learn about emotional intelligence, and the more I understand how important this subject is, I believe it should become part of school curriculum. How this required course should be presented to students would be best left in the hands of the experts, teachers who are trained to teach emotional intelligence just like the other subject-expert teachers of math, science or history.
Think about this: when our feelings are hurt, we naturally focus on that pain because we’re human. But the purpose of those hurt feelings is a reminder to be aware of those feelings in someone else, in another person. We must go through this hurt ourselves to help us learn to recognize them, to understand what those feelings are meant to do for us. If we don’t learn this, we end up trying to push those feelings down not to feel them. Sadly, this only hardens us more and keeps us fixated on the sorrow that is living deep within ourselves. This makes us close and harden our hearts even more by not allowing ourselves to feel our pain and hurts. When we stuff or ignore our hurt feelings, this is not being powerful or strong. We’re not helping anyone, especially not ourselves. Instead, we are silently suffering because we’ve not yet learned what to do with those hurt feelings because we haven’t been taught the valuable purpose they serve, or how to use them.
By contrast, it is empowering and strong not only to let ourselves feel hurt but also to be compassionate and to help others heal with words they’ll understand. This is where true healing power lies. When we are compassionate to others, our own sorrow will be diminished. Being powerful and strong isn’t meant to teach us not to feel. Not at all! Instead, there’s strength and power in becoming aware of our feelings and what to do with them. Without learning to do this, if we let our hearts become hardened, it leads to unhappiness and sorrow.
So let’s add classes in emotional intelligence to the school curriculum so the next generation will have the tools they need to create better lives for themselves and the whole planet.
About Catherine Nagle: Catherine grew up in Philadelphia with 16 brothers and sisters, reared by loving, old-school Italian parents. Catherine’s artist father’s works graced churches and public buildings; her mother was a full-time homemaker. A professional hairdresser, Catherine worked in various salons while studying the Bible and pursuing spiritual growth through courses, seminars, lectures, the works of Marianne Williamson, and through various conferences on spirituality.
She is an Ambassador of the Society of Emotional Intelligence and a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global. The mother of two children, and a grandmother, Catherine lives in Pennsylvania with her husband. She is the author of Imprinted Wisdom and Absence and Presence and Amelia and a contributor to Anne Born’s, These Winter Months.