Fear of emotions is fear of life. As quoted by David Hawkins, “Once we have mastery over our feelings, our fear of life diminishes.’ Emotional crises bring about inevitable pain and suffering, but they are also breeding grounds for wisdom, awareness and personal growth.
The importance of emotional intelligence has been undervalued in our society. The development of our intellectual and emotional empathy helps us get in touch with our deepest needs and fears, and also unlocks our potential for inner peace and contentment. Intellectual empathy is how we recognize and understand situations, and emotional empathy is how we respond and react to them.
Emotional intelligence can be inculcated in the following ways:
1. Emotionally intelligent people do not judge their emotions, and understand that it is part of being human. They do not correct or categorize them as good or bad. They accept and allow themselves to feel the full spectrum by understanding that their emotional experience is what makes them human.
2. They do not repress their feelings. Suppression of our emotions wastes energy needed to counter it. They conserve and protect their resources for meaningful pursuits rather than exhausting themselves by denying them or holding up masks. They place more emphasis on being real and authentic rather than perfect and happy.
3. They are in touch with their bodies. They honor the mind-body connection. Sensations in our body, the thoughts in our minds and our emotions are intrinsically linked to each other. Emotionally intelligent people retain their health and wellness through exercise, creative hobbies, meaningful relationships, mindfulness and spending time in nature.
4. They do not take abuse personally. They understand that often times a person’s bad behavior towards them reflects the person’s own inner problems. They remain calm and peaceful instead of reacting to abuse and perpetuating the vicious cycle.
5. They do not escape. Material pursuits for external validation, harmful intoxicants and stimulants, codependent relationships, and incessant meaningless activities distract people from their emotions. Most people try to run away from their feelings by engaging in self-destructive behaviors. Emotionally intelligent people give themselves time and do not fear loneliness.
6. They accept uncontrollable life circumstances. Emotionally intelligent people understand that they cannot always control other people or their external environment. However, they understand that they have the power to control their own reaction to it. Maturity is about sensitivity, grace under pressure and experiencing your emotions rather than acting on it.
7. They identify triggers. They recognize harmful patterns in their own behaviors, and take responsibility to rectify it. A reminder of a past experience makes a person act fearfully, angrily or negatively, even though the present scenario may be completely different and pose no actual threat. Emotionally intelligent people understand the subjectivity of human nature.
8. They live in the moment. They do not let past failures or losses define their future. They absorb lessons and work towards personal growth. They live in the present moment, and practice self-awareness as a constant habit.
9. They challenge themselves. Emotionally intelligent people understand that depth, maturity and integrity can only be developed by pushing their comfort zones, challenging themselves and stretching their boundaries to do things that are difficult, scary and uncomfortable.
10. They practice gratefulness. They understand the importance of empathy and kindness in conflict resolution. They count their blessings and stay positive. They inculcate self-esteem and self-respect. They realize that money, success and fame comes and goes, but their inner sense of self worth is the only constant in life.