The Art of Allowing: The True Meaning of Emotional Intelligence
We are becoming conditioned as a society to believe that emotions are a disorder and that feeling anything that makes us even the slightest bit uncomfortable is wrong. We replace the raw emotions and feelings that ebb and flow within us with feelings of failure and shame, convincing ourselves that the more we allow ourselves to feel, the weaker we are.
I've lived there. I’ve basked in the overwhelming decay of self-deprecation, feeling shame for allowing and confronting my emotions.
It’s not a happy place. You see, the issue with this is that we are starving our mind, stunting our own personal growth and actually exchanging what is, more often than not, perfectly normal emotion, with the poison of self-doubt, fear and negativity. In this, we are no longer honoring ourselves; yet, somehow, we convince ourselves that we are. We poison our minds and we weaken our own intuition and inner voice because we are essentially denying its existence by attempting to bury the very things that are meant to help us grow and continue to evolve. While getting too deep into our feelings and letting them consume us can be toxic, by not allowing ourselves to be emotional or feel things when we need to feel them, we are being equally as toxic to ourselves and our lives. When we reject our feelings, we are rejecting ourselves.
One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is that we are mentally healthier by restricting the natural flow of emotions.
To feel is to allow yourself to make decisions based off of those feelings. To make decisions is to risk and by taking risks, we learn more about who we are. Not every risk we take is going to work out in the way we want it to. That’s the crazy beauty of life. We simply cannot avoid pain or heartbreak. But it is though the experience of pain and heartbreak that we change. We can change our habits, identify behaviors that are not serving our highest good and we can use these experiences as a means to evolve and grow. Reasoning our way out of any emotion we may feel out of fear that allowing it will make us step outside of our comfort zone (a.k.a. emotional prison) or that it will make us look weak is, quite hypocritically, a colossal weakness. By allowing yourself to feel and accept emotions, you are admitting you are human and that you value vulnerability and realness. I think most of us can say that we value the genuine, yet we refuse to be genuine with ourselves. It is here where it actually requires great strength and emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the key to personal growth and should be our main focus but it is too often misunderstood.
Emotional intelligence is not shutting ourselves off to the feelings that frighten us. Knowing how to embrace, manage and express your emotions in a way that is conducive to healthy communication with others and yourself is one of the greatest forms of self-empowerment there is. Managing our emotions was never meant to be defined as oppressive or restrictive. In actuality, managing our emotions means to fully accept them, allow them and use them to our advantage to create experiences for ourselves that push past the fear of fully letting go and accepting every possible outcome as a possibility, whether perceived as positive or negative.
Fear is a feeling that comes from our ego. Our ego serves a very real purpose to protect us from situations that could possibly hurt us, damage us or leave us emotionally bruised. While fear is natural, we must learn when fear is healthy and when fear is a liar. We must learn to accept that great strength lies in mastering the ability to know that it is the fear of feeling and the fear of what those feelings will manifest into our realities that we must overcome, not the actual raw emotions themselves. When we master that knowing, we are able to discern when our inner voice is truly warning us and when we are just using fear as the weapon to self-sabotage. One of my favorite quotes that I remind myself of daily is this: “Courage and strength doesn’t come from the absence of fear but rather from the ability to push past fear when it means that a brighter future is on the other side…”
The ability to feel is a beautiful gift that gives us the opportunity to experience life to its fullest - the good, the bad and the ugly.
Every heartbreak, every feeling of pain, regret, anger, sadness, elation - it all serves an extremely important purpose - to make us confront our own hidden wounds, to help us strengthen our mind, our lives and to continue to flourish into the best possible versions of ourselves. We sometimes can subconsciously interpret the negative experiences that have hurt us as meaning that something is wrong with us. We begin a cycle of suppressing our emotions and those suppressed emotions find their companions in self-blame and self-hatred. Self-hatred and denial then become a road block to actually being able to contact the feelings we suppress and we end up entrapping ourselves in our own self-created prison - all while we convince ourselves into believing we are doing ourselves some sort of favor by rejecting emotion. We are not doing ourselves any favors by denying our natural gift to feel. We create an energetic block within ourselves when we suppress emotions and use past hurts or negative experiences as a justification to do so. It is here when we end up being dominated by and living in the unresolved past, whether we are consciously aware of it or not.
We live in a world of beauty and crisis.
It is a dynamic that will never change. It is imperative to accept the natural flow of feelings and emotions that come with the gift of being human. We must accept our own nature and learn how to let the deep waters of emotions carry us to our best selves — NOT the self that denies our emotions. NOT the self that allows fear to consume us under the guise of logic and rationality. Often, there is no real danger involved, only perceived danger and false assumptions. The truth of it all is that we are going to feel things we may not like in our lifetime. We cannot control that and no matter how hard we may try to, it will only lead to us eventually feeling all of the emotions we feared on a much higher scale at some point in our lives - and having to face the reality that we missed out on what could have been otherwise beautiful experiences by shutting out anything that elicited emotion within us and the fear of the risk that came along with it. Allowing yourself to feel without judgment is where the most authentic version of you awaits. There is beauty and pain there but it’s in the ability to embrace ALL of it that we can shift, master our own authentic identity and fully understand what emotional intelligence really means.
© 2018 Christina Celeste