Being emotionally intelligent (EQ) is of a great advantage in communication with, and understanding, other human Beings. It is an irreplaceble tool in developing deep and meaningful connections with others, and ourselves.
When we are able to understand others on an emotional level, when we can imagine ourselves in their 'EMOTIONAL SHOES', we are being empathic. The more we are open to feeling what others feel, the ‘closer' we can get to and understand them.
Empaths are extremely open to feeling what others feel. It is a great tool and a gift, but in an unawakened empath, an empath who isn’t aware of his/her ability, this can be a double edged sword. Meaning they are sharing other people’s emotional space without even realising it, not knowing WHY they feel the way they do. Feeling other's emotions, mixed with their own, can lead to extreme mood swings, confusion, depression, and anxieties. Unhealed empaths, those who carry emotional wounds not knowing how to deal with them, will eventually withdraw and retreat into forced isolation, feeling overwhelmed, hurt, misunderstood and lonely.
Being empathic means we are being brave enough to step into another's emotional space, and share their feelings with them.
We allow ourselves to enter this space with a selfless intention: to get closer, to gain understanding of their inner world. And often, we do not have to say much. Right the opposite. Simply quiet presence, attentive listening, and reassurance that we do get how they feel, makes others feel at ease. Almost like by sharing some of their emotions we have taken their emotional load off them.
Other's feedback to us being empathic is always positive because by ‘getting' precisely how they feel, we know exactly what to say and how to be with them.
Isn’t it great to have a friend who gets us? Who feels how we feel without the need for extensive explanation?
Such connection is deep, truthful and healing. It far exceeds any other form of communication, like verbal communication and connecting on the level of the mind.
But we will find it very hard to truly empathically engage the emotional space of another if we don’t practice this with OURSELVES. Learn about impathy here.
Emotionally disconnected people like narcissist or sociopaths, aren’t capable of empathy. In fact anyone who is SELFISH EMOTIONALLY with others, is also selfish with oneself. Sadly these people are so out of touch with who they are that they have to act and wear a social mask to feel accepted.
They are highly manipulative on their quest for power, falsely assuming that being in touch with their emotions will make them weak. These people are in fact very scared of feelings, ACTING their way through situations, mimicking real emotions (a phenomenon called mirroring). In reality they find it hard to have a genuine cry.
So how do we steer clear of becoming emotionless manikins?
Two things: courage and honesty. Courage to feel our own emotions honestly, and courage to express how we truly feel.
Firstly, it is about acknowledging our emotions, about admitting what we feel. Learning more about the function each emotion of our emotional repertoire has. About letting them surface without needing to cast our opinion like ‘Is it right to feel this way?’, or ‘shouldn't I be feeling something else?’
ZERO JUDGEMENT, and simple observation. Observation of our emotions and its energy will ensure its healing course, which will allow them to eventually fade.
Nothing lasts forever. And feelings are quite short lived IF left to flow unhindered. They come, do their business, and they fade away. If however, we engage our MIND too early trying to work out ‘WHY?' we feel this way, we prevent their healing currents as they will get stuck. We either engage our minds in THINKING (blaming ourselves or others), which takes us reliably away from feeling. Thinking is a natural course AFTER an emotional wave is gone. Because then we have plenty of space to analyse and work out our thoughts behind our them.
Important to remember is to ride the wave of our emotions till it decides to leave us.
If we let our mind to butt in, we start an endless cycle of a 'thought - emotion chain', which makes our emotions stuck and left to linger. Often making these more unpleasant as our frustration and anxiety with them not leaving us sets in. This is what we are all scared of - the painful lingering of unpleasant emotions which often times leaves us powerless. This being the main reason why many of us live in an emotional denial. As children we did not understand many things we know now, and at the time we felt pretty emotionally overwhelmed and powerless. So we either decided that emotions are a 'NO-NO', or we learned to manage them in unhealthy ways.
The biggest ILLUSION is that repressing our emotions, or expressing them destructively by screaming at others, will make our pain go away. Also that by NOT allowing ourselves to feel them we will somehow avoid getting hurt...
The truth is that INCORRECT dealing with our unpleasant emotions cannot make the pain disappear. We actually remain emotionally wounded for longer, only temporarily manage to distract ourselves.
Because we have not used our feelings and their language to understand ourselves, we are unable to investigate our thoughts behind them once they have faded. Due to our inability to deal with the origins of our emotional states these same emotions come about again and again, until we deal with, and understand them. Long standing emotional issues/emotional wounds get only swept under the carpet of our consciousness, and into our SUBCONSCIOUS. From where we get ruled by them like puppets. These repressed emotions and their inappropriate expressions will make us who we are NOT, and who we don’t wish to be!
Do you find yourself snapping at others for no apparent reason?
Do you find yourself taking your foul mood out on your loved ones?
Yep, you are emotionally REPRESSING! You have ‘swallowed' some of your unpleasant emotions, feeling frustrated, because you learned that expressing your emotions is not safe. Perhaps as a child you have been told that you 'should not feel this way', or you have been told how 'you should feel' instead. You have been taught to distrust your own feelings by people who knew NOTHING about their own.... It literally eats you up, kills your vibe and the person you would normally be if you knew how to express yourself without worrying you will become unpopular. Paradoxically, you are unpopular because people have to walk on egg shells around you.
You are feeling frustrated, misunderstood, and it is the fastest way down the depression and anxiety slope.
Do you 'wake up' in a middle of a rage (or after it is over) thinking ‘Holy crap, I don’t even know how got here’? Feeling embarrassed and disappointed by the things you said, regretting the things you have done?
Yep, you are INAPPROPRIATELY EXPRESSING your emotions, destroying yourself together with your relationships. Perhaps your parents have shown you that this is how emotions are dealt with, modelling poor emotional regulation. Your rage doesn’t bring any solution to your problems. It drives people away, leaving you feeling resentful towards yourself, and others. Feeling misunderstood, you are further distancing yourself from the love, affection and understanding you are after; only reinforcing what you deep down believe about yourself - that you are not worthy their love.
At some point, something has to give. And believe me, you would do yourself a massive favour if it was your DENIAL AND FEAR OF YOUR OWN EMOTIONS. Because, really, your emotions are there to save you...
All emotions are good, useful. They all have a role to play in our bodies: to re-establish our energetic equilibrium.
The key thing, and the difference between people with low and high EQ is how they choose to express their emotions after they have acknowledged them.
My parents haven't taught me this. I had to search, read upon, and practice it daily. And it, still now, isn't a smooth ride but I am committed to this.
I am determined to change my reactions, my life and my relationship with myself, and others.
I didn’t feel happy inside with all the repressed emotions, having experienced depression and anxiety, not knowing how to FREE myself. At the same time, I felt embarrassed and disappointed in myself with how I drove people away. Most importantly, NONE of those two ways of how I used to manage my emotional states have brought me the results I wished for.
There were no agreements reached. Those who cared about me found it hard to relate to and talk to me, because drama was sure to prevail. I felt so frustrated with myself, my life. I felt lonely whilst having a busy social life, feeling like no one understands me….
But how could others understand me when I didn’t understand MYSELF!?
Because without acknowledging how I felt, without going through the notions of my own emotions, without investigating WHY I felt that way, without finding out my beliefs behind these feelings, I wouldn't have found out who I was! I would not have found out about my belief structure, and wouldn't identify which beliefs were FALSE. I would not have been able to see that who I thought I was, I actually wasn’t. That my unpleasant emotions were really a result of some unpleasant thoughts I held about myself, originating from my insecurities. That these beliefs, which triggered these unpleasant emotions, WEREN'T REAL.
I was able to put these unpleasant thoughts to bed, and with this process also my unpleasant feelings disappeared. In time and with practice, I realised how wonderfully rewarding my efforts were. I am still learning, but with every single changed reaction, with every day I am honest with myself about how I feel, life gets easier because Truth is cleansing. It literally flushes all the unpleasantness and irritability out of your system.
Lies and emotional denial are dangerous.
Lying to ourselves about how we feel effectively separates us from ourselves. It is like we cut our own Life-line by losing the opportunity to understand ourselves.
If we lose touch with who we truly are we lose touch with Life. We DIE metaphorically, and we can even die literally. Feelings and emotions alone never ever killed anyone, but the fear and lies about them have….
Thank you for reading. If my article contributed to understanding yourself, please be generous and share it with others.
Copyright © 2016 Michaela Patel
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