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The Truth About Emotional Intelligence | Some Healing Required

From the archives January 21, 2005

There is so much emphasis on emotional intelligence these days that it appears that people are suppressing their emotions and problems in an effort to “fit in,” to keep their jobs, and using “positive self-talk” to muscle through the rough spots in their lives.

Recently, I had a friend over who has suffered enormous job stress during a time when his wife’s father was dying of cancer. Of course, quitting his job didn’t seem like an option during this difficult period, particularly since his wife returned to her parental home for many months to say good-bye to her dying father. That left him at home to take care of their children, pay the bills, and so on. Who can forge positively into a new job-search with all that going on?

After his father-in-law passed away his wife returned home and he lost his job – as did many of his colleagues – and his wife decided she no longer wanted to remain married. What else could go wrong? OH! Of course! His father could be diagnosed with cancer: He was.

Now he is living a complete hell, with all of this turmoil, and two sweet children looking to him for stability. Is it any wonder that people are cracking under the strain?

He is all alone and he tries to be “emotionally together” but that only causes more harm than good. We (society), in our need for order and stability, don’t want people with all these problems in our lives. We don’t want them working in our office. They’re broken!

Well, the truth is, our (society) expectations around emotional intelligence, and together, full-functioning adults, is what is breaking them.

I spent three hours with him the other night, acknowledging his horrific circumstances, his emotional turmoil, and gave him permission to embrace it all. He’s not broken, he’s experiencing emotional pain and it needs to be expressed, embraced, and worked through (processed.) It’s not enough that he embrace it either. Community is required to surround, love, heal, and regenerate.

So, when we see hurting people, don’t look at them as broken people who haven’t got their act together. Look at them as someone who needs a bit of kindness, generosity, and loving support. Watch the power those simple things can have in their life.

So, when we see hurting people, don’t look at them as broken people who haven’t got their act together. Look at them as someone who needs a bit of kindness, generosity, and loving support. Watch the power those simple things can have in their life.

Caveat: This does not condone people remaining disempowered victims for the rest of their lives. Our role is to embrace and still to empower, leaving the “wounded one” to take responsibility for their recovery. Embrace, love, and challenge!

Some time later, Spring 2006, I was working with an immigrant woman with a professional degree. Her life was not fulfilling on many levels, as the effects of transitioning to a new country and culture impacted the whole family and strained the relationships.

Have a read of the this exercise she did and our discovery:

As part of an exercise, she looked in the mirror and met the eyes of a long lost stranger. The eyes looking back surprised her as she met the sadness that lived deeply inside. She had betrayed herself and lost so much of her own self as she spent too many months, maybe years, trying to make her husband love her. Now, gazing deeply into that sadness, she realized how she had betrayed herself.

In a conversation with her friend, she heard a new perspective on the losses she has experienced and what she witnessed searching the despair in those eyes. The betrayal of self caused a painful discovery of how hard she had been on herself; judging and criticizing her weakness, her failures, and every other shoulder of responsibility that she could burden herself with. She had gone so far away from loving the woman she had once been. Reflecting back, her friend saw the sadness as she felt it too, and the sadness was love.

Looking deeply into those eyes, the sadness was not just the loss of what she once remembered of lost dreams no longer to be realized. The sadness was the sadness of the God within herself, her spirit, crying and aching for her to heal and remember who she was and that she was whole; that she was perfect and loved. The all-knowing God within knew her, her self-worth, and wished that she would come back to her Self, to her innocence, to her power. And she cried.

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