The other day, my son began to cry over his low scores in English. He cried and rolled on the floor and wailed over how pathetic he had become until my husband marched into the scene and very sharply told him to cut out the drama.
And that was what it was. A drama. When we act out our emotions, we begin to dramatize our feelings. Everything from laughing to crying to smiling to shivering in fear, is an enactment of our feelings. When this enactment goes overboard, our display of emotions becomes a drama. Which makes us prone to emotional behavior.
Now why do we do that?
It is not as much as it is why, as it is how do we do the drama. We tend to play out scenes inside our head, and the more we play out the scene inside, the more dramatic the display becomes. In other words, my son was probably rehearsing his show in his mind all the while he was sitting in his school bus heading towards home.
Ridiculous! Why would he do something like that?
My son would have been playing out various reactions to his low scores. And when I reacted in one of the ways that he had imagined I would, he automatically began to play out his own counter reaction to my reaction. What he did not account for, however, was my husband’s sudden appearance on the scene.
And how would I know all this?
Sometimes, I wish I were a mind reader. But I also know that the worst place to be in would be someone else’s mind, even if that someone else happens to be my own son. I can identify my son’s ability to dramatize because of my own tendency to inch towards drama, which has earned me the label of being a “drama queen.” As like my niece who takes after her own mother’s dramatics. Looks like the children are only performing some amazing cosplay.
And all of this is obviously not good
Definitely not! The greater the drama, the more we run away with our emotions, and the less we move towards making decisions…of any kind. At the same time, as stated in the previous post, the more we run away from our emotions, the lesser our ability to read the signs, and the more we move towards risky behavior.
Which brings us to the part…
…where we try to figure out how to practice becoming emotionally intelligent
The first obvious step is to become aware of ourselves – why we are doing what we are doing, why we are thinking what we are thinking and why we are feeling what we are feeling.
When I began to wander into self-introspection, wondering why I was always so emotionally high – dramatizing events and situations, my journey led me to a lot of places that marched me through my obsessive thirst for stories, a wild imagination at play, a lonely childhood, and parents who too, were prone to a higher dose of emotions. All through my childhood, I been subconsciously coding my brain to move towards drama. That sounds a bit pathetic, does it not?
However, at the end of this self-introspection, I also realized that while I had a thing for drama, I also had a thing for words. And my need for exhibiting my drama would be better channelized through my words. The result, three books out and more in the pipeline!
Although late in adulthood, I figured out that my emotions were always taking me towards figuring out who I was and what I wanted to be. Only, I did not read my emotions right.
Well, that is how good, self-introspection is!
That said, my mother once warned me that it is not good to become very aware.
Now, why would she say something like that?
Self-introspection is like peeling an onion. The more we peel, the more we cry. This is because introspection opens our Pandora’s box. So that is why a lot of people shy away from serious self-introspection. Because there are a lot of emotions spinning around, deep within the cobwebs of our memories. And a lot people do not want to feel the hurt and pain – hence the tendency to run away from the emotions of the past.
How do we get in and out of this whirlpool?
When we get into the self-introspection mode, we begin to go into our memories. And memories are things that lie in the past. And the past, on account of lying in the past, is not under our control anymore. And anything and everything that is not under our control, we should let it bloody go!
But it is so difficult to let go…
Look at it this way – we cannot hold onto our breath permanently. We just have to let it go!
All the emotions of the past are teaching us something – to not repeat mistakes, to look at life in its real shade, for the grey that it is. That everything from happiness to sadness to life and death are but two sides of the same coin. But more than anything, our emotions teach us not to wallow in our thoughts.
You might disagree here. But if you think about it, you will realize that our sad feelings dissipate the more we begin to change our thought patterns. It is not our sadness that feeds our thoughts, rather, it is our thoughts that feed our sadness.
All right, now that it is done, what else is there to do?
Once we get into the self-introspection mode, and separate our feelings from our thoughts, we will be able to figure out where our thoughts are leading us – towards regression or progression. In other words, we develop the ability to figure out the consequences of our thought patterns.
And the minute we reach this zone, we also develop the ability to make the right decisions. Which is where we wanted to be in the first place.
That said, it helps to accept the fact that our judgments may not always be the best ones. So, while we do the best we can, we also need to understand that what is not under our control, we just let it go!
Emotions are the Real You!
Our thoughts are based on what we experience. And since experiences come from our external environment, we can safely state that we are not our thoughts. Our feelings, on the other hand, always arise from within us. That means, we are what we feel.
That is how important Emotional Intelligence is – to feel, and to read our feelings right!
How to begin self-introspection
Feel, and ask yourself –
- Why am I feeling this way?
- What am I doing, or not doing that is making me feel this way?
Next, think about your thoughts –
- Where are my thoughts leading me – towards a solution or towards a problem?
- How can I direct my thoughts towards progress?
- What are all the things that I can do to change my current situation?
As you make an action plan based on your self-introspection, and begin executing it, you also begin a journey with yourself for a guide; and the self is always the best guide anyone could ask for.
Good luck in developing your Emotional Intelligence!