Emotional intelligence is not usually taught at school or at home so it’s important to know how to develop the skill. Amy Killingsworth dives into tracing our emotions to our roots and handling them. Emotional healing can change your life. Learn how to deal with your emotions so you have a better connection with yourself and your loved ones. It’s time to build trust and have great relationships so you could love your life and discover your purpose.
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Emotional Intelligence 101 Part 1: Unlocking A Life Of Purpose
This is Season Two, Episode Nineteen. In this episode, I’m super excited because we’re finally talking about emotions. From my perspective, I did all of that leading up to eighteen episodes so that we could get to the good stuff, which is emotions. It’s all good stuff, and it’s all necessary. Emotions and emotional healing are where we see our lives start to change. Why is that?
Emotions determine the quality of your life, so the quality of your emotions is the quality of your life. If you have a life that is less than something that you love, remember that this show exists so that you can understand and have a framework to experience the fact that God wants you healed, so you can wholeheartedly live your purpose and love your life.
If you don’t love your life, if you’re not having a great experience, it’s because of your emotions. You might be sitting here and saying, “Amy, that’s not true. I have this problem and I have that problem. This going on in the world, this and that and the other.” I understand all of that, but it’s not the things that are going on in your life. It’s not the trouble or challenges, it’s the way that you feel.
It’s the way that those things make you feel. Similarly, you might be thinking, “I can’t be happy and enjoy my life until I get married or until I get a better job, or until my neighbor’s dog stops barking, or my mother-in-law starts being nice to me,” or whatever it is that’s agitating your righteousness, peace and joy, but that’s not true either because the thing that you want, whether it’s marriage or a new job, you want that thing because of how you think it will make you feel.
It’s Your Decision
That’s where a lot of relationships go sideways. It’s because you get them, you get that person, you get the marriage and you’re like, “This doesn’t feel as good as I thought it would,” and then you start looking for something else to make you feel good. Feelings and emotions are important. The good news is you get to decide how you feel. No matter what’s going on around you, no matter what you do have or don’t have what you’re waiting for, you get to decide how you feel. When you decide how you feel, you get to determine the quality of your life, no matter what.
The quality of your life is the quality of your emotion. Most of us have emotional patterning that makes it hard for us to enjoy our lives and to be us. What I’m going to start with is emotional intelligence. I’m going to do an Emotional Intelligence 101 because EQ or emotional intelligence is the foundation for emotional health and emotional healing. Once we understand our emotions and how to embody them, then we can start working with them and healing them.
Before I do that, I know that some people jump in on this, and they don’t know all the backgrounds. What I want to do is quickly recap what this show is. It is a framework for life healing. Remember, God wants you healed so you can wholeheartedly live your purpose and love your life. It’s keys of wisdom applied to seven categories. Starting in Episode Two of Season Two, I went through all of the keys of wisdom, the principles, and now we’re onto the categories. The seven categories are the body, then the complex of the soul is the second category. Inside the soul are mind, will and emotions.
I covered the mind and will, now we’re getting into the emotions, which is the turning point. This is where the whole thing turns on this pivot. After the spirit, relationships, finances, character and the pinnacle of the whole thing is your calling. Once you address these separate areas, apply these seven principles onto the seven categories, that will not only reveal your calling, but also help you have the character to sustain it. Without further ado, let’s get into Emotional Intelligence 101.
First, we have to ask ourselves, what is an emotion? The definition of an emotion is a mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes. I like to explain emotion as E-motion or energy in motion. It’s important to understand that because we can’t see it, touch it or feel it, it seems not real, but emotions are very real. They can be measured with certain machines and they also have a chemical, a physiological component.
If you don’t believe me, think about the last time that you got nervous and you got butterflies in your stomach. Those are chemicals in your body that race through your bloodstream and create physical changes. Like when your palms get sweaty, you have a sympathetic nervous response to how you’re feeling. There’s a physical component and a chemical component to your emotions. They’re very real. There’s also a resonance to your emotions and this is the part that other people can feel.
The physiological piece is inside of you. You feel the butterflies in your stomach, the sweaty palms, or the excitement like the roller coaster feeling bubbling up, or all of the things that your body feels when you have an emotion, that’s for you, but the energetic resonance of an emotion is what can be felt in your sphere. Sometimes, it can be felt across further distances depending on certain types of spiritual connections. Your emotional atmosphere can be felt and experienced by other people.
An example of this is how many times have you walked in a room where somebody had been fighting or having some kind of a dramatic incident and they weren’t fighting now, everything was quiet and calm, but like we say, you could cut the tension with a knife. That’s the emotional atmosphere that you can feel that extends outside of your experience to other people’s experiences. It’s a combination of body language or something else but there’s an actual resonance like a wavelength that can be measured with machines on feelings.
I’m going to get into that, not in this episode, but later. This episode is on emotional intelligence. We’re going to learn some things about emotions, and then we’re going to talk about how to interact with that knowledge that we learned. Emotional health is the ability to recognize emotions, to trace them to their roots and to interact with them in empowering and conscious ways.
Developing The Skill
That’s our goal when we talk about emotional healing. We want to develop the skill. This is something that’s so important to know, is that this is a learned skill, just like balancing your checkbook or driving a car, or cooking a meal, or changing a diaper, or doing a load of laundry, or being an engineer, or a brain surgeon. Emotional intelligence is a learned skill.Emotions are real and they determine the quality of your life. Click To Tweet
It’s not like something that you have or don’t have. It’s an actual skill that you learn. Unfortunately, it’s not taught in school and in our homes. I’m going to get to that about how we arrange an environment in our homes where children grow up to be emotionally unintelligent. We just perpetuate it generation after generation.
What I would like to do is to change that and to be able to teach this skill to younger generations, but also to our generation so that we can interact with our emotions in a healthy way and interact with other people’s emotions, especially children’s emotions in a healthy way. Emotional unhealth creates so much suffering. The inability to recognize emotions, trace them to their roots and interact with them in empowering and conscious ways causes so much suffering.
I was talking to a person and this person wanted to have a life partner. They wanted to have somebody in their life that they could share their life with, but anytime anybody got close, they did things that sabotaged that connection. The person is alone and lonely and not getting their objective because they’re afraid of their feelings, because they don’t know how to recognize their emotions, trace them to their roots and interact with them in empowering and conscious ways. We all do this to some extent. We sabotage things in our life and we run away from what we don’t understand or what we fear because we’ve never been taught to handle and interact this way.
We miss out on the good stuff in life because we don’t know how to feel. We don’t know how to interact with our emotions in a healthy way, so it’s important to your relationships, on your job, in your parenting, in every area of your life. Emotional health is important. We can’t talk about emotional health without talking about emotional numbing.
We spend enormous amounts of energy numbing and pushing down emotions we don’t want to experience. This is such an irony because it takes so much more energy to stuff an emotion than it does to just feel it and interact with it in an empowering and conscious way and process it through. That’s easy. We’re built for that. We are not built to stuff and numb. We are built to interact and feel our feelings and move through them, but because we don’t have that skill, it’s scary.
We stuff and numb but numbing and stuffing only creates more disconnection between our thoughts, feelings and our actions. It also creates incongruence in relationships. It breaks trust. Let’s say a husband and a wife are driving down the road and she’s quiet. He says, “Is everything okay? Are you okay?” She says, “I’m fine,” but she’s not fine.
Everybody knows she’s not fine, but she doesn’t have the emotional intelligence and the tools to work through that and have the conversation because she’s afraid of her feelings or doesn’t know how to interact with them in a healthy way, and he probably is perpetuating that because he doesn’t want to know the answer.
It’s like when you ask somebody, “How are you doing?” Do you want to know that their dog died and that they’re struggling and they’re depressed and have a hard time getting out of bed? We’re afraid of our own feelings, so when somebody else expresses emotion, it makes us extremely uncomfortable. This is why children get enculturated and brought into this emotional dysfunction because the parents are afraid of feeling their feelings, so they teach the children to stuff it down like, “You’re fine. Quit crying. Rub some dirt in it,” because it triggers our emotional upset and we don’t know how to deal with that.
You have two things going on there. When he says, “How are you doing? Are you okay?” He doesn’t want to know because he doesn’t want to deal with her emotions, and then she doesn’t know how to intelligently deal with her emotions, so she says fine. That creates a disconnect, a dis-resonance, and an incongruence in the relationship because it’s a lie, and lies break trust. In order for us to feel safe in our relationships, we have to be able to have the inside match the outside.
If you say, “Are you okay? How are you doing?” I say, “Fine. I’m lying,” and then you don’t trust me. This all happens on a subconscious level, but it makes it where intimacy is impossible to achieve because we’re not showing up with what’s true and the inside isn’t matching the outside. That’s emotional health and emotional numbing, so what is then emotional intelligence?
In order to unpack the concept of emotional intelligence, we have to change our perspective and our paradigm. This is one of the things that I say that’s a cornerstone of emotional health and emotional intelligence is that human beings are not a problem to be solved. We are individuals meant to be experienced. When we interact with ourselves and with other people, we need to come from that paradigm that we’re not a problem to be solved.
When we do the smaller Rise to Reign retreats, we do women’s circles, and they’re amazing and impactful for emotional healing, but there’s one guideline for the container of a woman’s circle that is important. I’ll explain it to you so that you can get a picture of this. When women are sitting around in a circle and there’s a prompt, somebody has the opportunity to share. Usually, when they’re in this safe container, in this safe space, and they begin to share about a feeling or about a circumstance and then the feeling surrounding that circumstance, a lot of times, there’ll be an emotional expression. They break down and cry and they can even be sitting there racking, sobs.
What does every other woman in the circle want to do when they are crying? They want to rush over and they want to pat her, and they want to hug her and be like, “It’s okay. Don’t cry.” We want to comfort and that’s normal. That’s an empathetic, compassionate response, but really what we want to do is get them out of that emotional expression so that we can feel not so triggered by our emotional stuff that’s stuffed down. One of the guidelines is that when someone is expressing emotionally, we leave them completely alone.
My guideline is that you can hand her a Kleenex and that’s it. You can’t touch and talk to her, you leave her completely alone. That seems maybe mean, or insensitive, or uncompassionate but what it’s doing is holding a container for her to express all the way through that emotion and be compassionately witnessed, so the people in the circle hold presence with her. They don’t look away and they’re not on their phones. They’re holding presence with her, they have their focused attention on her, they’re witnessing the emotional event, and it will move through her.Most of us have emotional patterning that makes it hard for us to enjoy our lives and makes it hard for us to be us. Click To Tweet
It’ll come up like a storm and the storm will rage for a minute. We’ll move through her and then the seas are calm again. That is how we deal with an emotion. We let it come in, we feel it fully and we let it go out. With numbing, we feel it coming in and we’re like, “Stop,” social media, eat something, drink something, don’t want to feel that. Emotional intelligence is looking at human beings as individuals meant to be experienced. In the women’s circle, she has an experience. Instead of starting to solve that problem, we hold presence with her and we experience her while she experiences herself.
That’s how trauma is healed. Trauma is healed in the community and in relationships. If we can hold a presence and a container and a space open for somebody to feel and express their emotions, they can be a whole person and so can we. That is how trauma is healed in the community. In order to truly experience somebody else, we have to be able to identify and understand what is going on beneath the surface.
It starts with identifying and understanding what is going on beneath our surface. Emotional intelligence, with everything else, starts with the inside of you. The greatest work that you can do in the world is to work on you and to deal with the inside of you, and then, you can interact with other people’s emotions in a healthy way. An example of this is I used to get triggered and mad at my children when they wouldn’t listen to me. I know all the parents out there are like, “That irritates everybody,” but it really upset me.
I would feel rage bubbling up. Specifically, when I’d have to say something over and over again and they ignored me. It would feel like this desperate rage. There is a saying, “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical.” That is from Miles Adcox at the Onsite center. He’s amazing. If you are feeling something that is inconsistent or maybe it’s a little bit much for the stimuli, then you are going to want to look a little further to see what that is about.
What it ended up being, as I’ve done work around this issue, is I never had a voice as a child, and I was never listened to as a child. My dad would say, “Children are to be seen and not heard.” My experience wasn’t valued and it wasn’t encouraged, so I had that pent up trauma and hurt around not being heard. When my children wouldn’t hear me, it would trigger that old thing.
Understanding What’s Beneath
Emotional intelligence is being able to step out of the trigger and come conscious and present in the trigger and go, “What am I feeling right now? What is going on inside of me?” To interact with that intelligently, so we’re able to identify and understand what is going on beneath the surface, when you can do that for yourself, you can do that for someone else, like a child, a partner, a spouse or a coworker. Emotional intelligence begins with understanding and being able to identify what’s going on beneath the surface of you. You can also interact with other people in a more conscious way.
Something that I get told all the time in my real life and relationships is that I am very even. I don’t have highs and lows. I feel things deeply. I cry and I feel sad and I get mad. I have a rich emotional life, but I don’t go off. In my 20s and in my 30s, I was always going off and I would never know when it was coming. It would just explode all over.
It’s interesting for me when I hear people say that to me because I have done a lot of work around this to be able to understand and identify what’s going on in myself and be able to interact with those emotions in a healthy way, and then the way that other people experience me changes. By way of a definition, emotional intelligence is the skillful exploration, identification and management of emotions. If you’re reading this and you’re like, “I’m in trouble. This is not my reality. I’m not emotionally intelligent.” I want to encourage you that you already have what you need.
It’s important that you know that you’re not too messed up and too far gone. Those are lies. You already have what you need to be emotionally healthy and intelligence. Emotions are normal. They’re the human experience. You were born with the ability to be open, to be peaceful, joyful and present. Your birthright, your homeostasis and your factory setting is righteousness, which is the right relationships with God, yourself and others, a state of being and doing right, a state of alignment peace, which is the Hebrew concept of Shalom, which is human flourishing. Nothing missing, nothing broken. It’s a calm feeling, but it’s much richer and more robust in joy.
Righteousness, peace, and joy are all feelings. Those are broader concepts than just feelings, but at their core, when you say peace, you think of a peaceful feeling. If you say joy, you think about feeling joy. Emotions are the human experience and you were born with the ability to feel them, and you’re supposed to feel them.
When you feel a difficult emotion, that is your invitation to understand that something is wrong. When you feel anger, that is your understanding that your sense of justice has been violated. When you feel sad, that is your indication to know that something that shouldn’t be is. They’re important for diagnostics. There’s a disorder. I’m going to talk about physical pain and give the container for you to see how emotions work like this, too. Pain is a useful concept in our body. It helps us learn.
As humans, we have a drive to avoid pain and gain pleasure, but our drive to avoid pain is way stronger than our drive to achieve or gain pleasure. If you reach out and you touch a hot stove that burns you and you pull your hand back hopefully before you get a burn, or your hand burns off your wrist because you felt pain and then you learn, “It’s so hot. I don’t want to touch that.” That is how we learn. There’s a disorder where people can’t feel pain and they usually die because they can’t feel their pain.
They put themselves in situations where their body is unsafe and they usually don’t live very long, so it’s important to have pain so that you know when a boundary has been crossed or when something harmful is taking place. Emotions are the same exact way. It is such a gift to be able to feel pain because when you feel pain, you have an indication that something is wrong. You need to feel that feeling so that you can fully be committed and motivated to address what’s wrong.Emotions can be measured with certain materials, machines, and they also have a physiological component. Click To Tweet
I’ve told this story before, when I was coming to a real breaking point in my marriage, I knew that I had to stop drinking alcohol. I was using alcohol to numb the feeling of misery that was a natural response to what was going on in my marriage, so when I stopped drinking and I fully experienced that feeling, it motivated me to do something about it, which for years I hadn’t because I had been numbing that feeling away. I hope that makes sense.
It’s important that you feel your feelings and you know how to interact with them because they give you the information that you need to conduct your life. You already have what you need to be emotionally healthy and intelligent. Emotions are the human experience. You were born with the ability to be open, peaceful, joyful, and present. Unfortunately, we’ve all been conditioned to settle down, don’t cry, suck it up and get over it because usually of our parents and our caregivers’ inability to feel and express their emotions.
This comes from the fact that we’re emotionally repressed and when another emotes in front of us, it creates discomfort within ourselves. When our parents and our caregivers saw us emoting, it triggered their emotional repression, and they wanted us to settle down so that they can be okay. It’s a codependent response. There’s so much more to cover on this topic and I’m so excited to do it, but we are out of time with this. This is part one of Emotional Intelligence 101. Thank you so much for your time.
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