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Do emotions have value—or are they just something you either suppress or wear on your sleeve?
How can you easily identify what you’re feeling, and further, process it—or should you?
Too many times, we have been taught by culture, family, patterns, or our own methods of processing that our emotions have no value and therefore should be shelved, shoved down, spent, smoked, drank, eaten, gambled, or shoved under the rug. (The list could get pretty long here.)
You can probably guess that none of these things are healthy ways of dealing with your emotions. If you’re out of touch with your emotions—and a lot of us are, especially men—you may not even know how you feel, much less how to deal with it.
Maybe you’re on the other end of the spectrum and you’re thinking, “How on earth could anyone not know how they feel?” Well, it happens…and it has to do with something called emotional intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence is a Thing.
Your brain has a rational side and an emotional side—and while an IQ test may measure rational intelligence, it doesn’t take emotional intelligence into account. This concept is mainly related to being mindful of your emotions, identifying them, and being able to manage them.
While the idea of an “emotional IQ” may sound daunting, it doesn’t need to be. No one’s going to be scoring your emotional intelligence to decide what college you’ll be accepted to or anything.
However, it is beneficial to be able to name and understand your emotions—not just for your own mental and emotional health, but for the sake of others. Since no man is an island, your emotional intelligence—or lack thereof—does affect those you have relationships with.
What’s Wrong with Ignoring our Emotions?
You may be wondering, “Why can’t I just ignore my emotions? What’s the benefit of being aware of them, anyway?”
Well, just like last month’s crumbs that you swept under the rug, they’re still there. Hiding them does not make them go away…and further, they’re probably growing moldy and stinky under there.
Here’s a short video on the subject of emotions:
The fact is, if you bottle up your feelings, they’re going to come out sometime. It may not be the same day or the same week, but they will resurface. And, usually, it’s not a pretty sight after they’ve been festering below the surface.
No matter how much you may deny it (or maybe you’re unaware of it), you’re born with emotions and feelings, which means they are a part of your biological makeup! Once you accept that, you can learn how to work on demolishing that wall you’ve built—big or small—and getting in touch with them. This is where it can benefit you as well as others in your life.
Express Yourself if you want Meaningful Connections.
When you reach a place where you’re able to say, “Hey, I feel ” and express that to another person, it paves the way for much deeper, more meaningful connections. It may be difficult to allow yourself that vulnerability, but ultimately, it will improve your life and your relationships.
That’s what breaking down those emotional walls is all about. Think about it: regardless of whether you feel happy, sad, excited, miserable…you name it, what do you want in that moment? You want someone to share that feeling with. If you try to share it and get nothing back from the other person, your emotion bounces off their wall and your connection is severed.
No one wants to have a relationship without connection—that typically ends up being a disappointing one-way street. In fact, it’s really not a relationship at all.
The best thing you can do for yourself and your relationships is to allow yourself to feel. Remember, your emotions are there for a reason—and they’re not going away! So work on cultivating that emotional intelligence through mindfulness and see how your connections improve.