I came across an article “Wisdom of the Heart, the Face and Facets of EQ” by Deena Kara Schaffer in Alive, Canada’s Natural Health and Wellness Magazine, that reminded me once again of the challenge to become more emotionally aware, so “we can know ourselves better and have more meaningful relationships. Our emotional intelligence speaks to our ability to utilize our emotions in a positive and constructive way, both in relationship to ourselves and to others.”
The challenge for all of us is to “undo how settler colonialism, whiteness, and patriarchy continue to dominate what emotional intelligence means. Our society’s systems and institutions often praise and promote those who exploit, objectify, impose and harm – the same system that touts self-awareness, self-regulation and empathy.”
From my experience, how emotions show up, are expressed and what they might mean in an intimate partnership, can be quite different depending on what each partner experienced as a child and what it meant to be a boy or girl in that family, society, community or religion. When those differences remain unconscious they can be a source of conflict.
As one couple put it, we sail along pretty well and then out of the blue, the wheels fall off. It is precisely at those times, I tell them, when it is important to go back and explore what happened, using the Imago dialogue which ensures safety. In the Imago system, a cardinal rule is: “Anything negative by appointment only.” Make the appointment go back and make the unconscious, conscious so you don’t repeat the pattern.
Everyone has the capacity to be emotionally intelligent. And thankfully we are never too old to change our emotional ruts and patterns and there is a lot of research to support the fact that our emotional intelligence is integral to our health and in fact can help us live longer.