Saturday, December 2, 2017

Teaching to be emotionally intelligent

There are so many times when we feel ourselves reeling from some sort of anger or depression. Be it a rude comment by a relative, lack of compassion by a loved one or losing a close one in a tragedy, all of these things though seems almost natural to happen in a lifetime, can sometimes drag us into depression. It’s that feeling in our gut that our whole world is crashing down on us.

 I often wondered if there was any graceful way to handle desperate situations. Something to which I can relate beyond technical terms and drugs on the various site and teach it to my kids if life very impersonally (and inevitable) gives them hard time. Being a mother who thinks worst out of a small sneeze, I was right concerned so. How I teach my kids to be better at something when I don’t it myself? A term called emotional intelligence caught my attention then. Something that no school or college teach us. Being emotionally intelligent means understanding what your emotions are about and how to handle them. The deeper I went into this, the more effective I found it to be. So whenever I was under the spell of a bad mood or my kid was in a bad phase, I would follow steps.
Validation of feelings.
First of all, accept that as a human you are designed to feel this way. Feelings are just messenger telling you that something went wrong in your life. So don’t kill the messenger by ignoring it or suppressing it. Tell yourself or your kids with strong conviction that yes, it’s natural for you to feel this way in the given situation. By accepting that it is normal to feel this way, you feel less lonely. Experiencing an emotion is not a sign of weakness, but merely a sign that you are after all a human.
Don’t try to logic right now or crowd your mind with “why” or “what now”. Right now, just accept that something bad has happened and as a human you are wired to feel this way.
Strong Patience.
I choose these words very carefully. Strong patience because it requires strength to wait and let yourself feel that hurt for a permissible time. I don’t mean to say that you indulge yourself in it mindlessly, but you cannot snap out of things just like that. Even a fever or a cold takes time to heal, and same goes with hurtful feelings. So don’t expect your young ones to jump on their toes the moment you say so. Give time for the wave of anxiety to recede. Try distraction with hobbies. Be patient with yourself.
This is the toughest thing to do, especially when the person that hurt you is not remorseful. Or the situation that you are in is unjustly against you. The idea behind forgiving is that you take a deep breath and say” it’s ok, it happens in life. I will let it go”. Now is the time where you can bring reasons of  “why” and “what next” questions that were hovering over you. Learn your lessons from these bad times and realize that you have taken whatever this situation can offer you and now it’s time to forgive and move on. It does not mean committing the same mistakes again. It means that you are now strong enough to rise above this situation. Accept that bad thing happened to you, as it so happens in life, and now it’s time to move on. There is certain kind of dignity that comes to you when you forgive, the power to know that you can heal.
Clam perseverance
 The next and ongoing phase of life is perseverance. Because sometime you would want to stomp your feet and would not want to forgive. That is ok as well. Every skill has its learning curve. So don’t be hard on yourself or your kids if they don’t get to jump right up the first time. Keep practicing and teaching calmly.
One of the most complex creations of God is emotions and yet no institute teaches us or our children anything about them. Living in a world where stress and pressure are widespread in small kids, shouldn’t the emotional intelligence be part of the curriculum? Why is there a shame attached to depression and emotional breakdown, when they are just as normal as any other disease?
As a society, I think it’s our responsibility to provide our next generation with tools to handle any difficult situation gracefully. There a beautiful quote that comes to my mind that I had read when I was having a tough time in life. It still applies so beautifully in current times.
May I have the serenity to accept things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Let’s hope to learn this in our lifetime and teach our kids through our actions.

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