From an early age we are taught that emotions are inappropriate, embarrassing, something to be hidden.
“Boys don’t cry.”
“Anger isn’t ladylike.”
“Don’t be sad.”
To show great emotion is a kind of failure—a character flaw, even, as if your big emotions somehow make you not as strong as you should be. To be called “emotional” is an insult.
On the other hand, to be called “an intellectual” is a compliment. We are taught that intellect is king—that a human’s greatest asset is his or her ability to think rationally and logically. We are told that there is nothing more important than doing well in school, and so, we grind away at homework—acquiring knowledge, learning how to think, and trying to improve our intellectual ability.
We are told that our emotions will prevent us from thinking clearly—that they should not be allowed to distract us from the task at hand. And so, we learn to ignore them, stuff them, and pretend not to notice them.
We feel ashamed, then, when they catch us off guard.
If emotions are our enemies, and intellect is are our greatest asset, why can we find so many smart people—even geniuses—who are suffering, who have mastered great intellectual challenges, but who nonetheless cannot find happiness?
Here is the truth
Traditional intelligence (IQ) without emotional intelligence (EQ) is a recipe for unhappiness. In fact, if happiness is what you’re seeking, EQ is more important than IQ.
You cannot reach your full human potential if you do not become fluent in the language of your emotions. Your emotions have important messages for you. When you learn to decipher those messages and understand the interplay between your emotions, your thoughts, and your behavior, you will have the kind of intelligence that will unlock your true potential.
That is why I am writing this blog—because there are skills anyone can learn to build emotional intelligence and resilience. Most people don’t even know these skills exist, nor do they realize how much these skills can help them not only overcome obstacles but also thrive in everyday life.
I have spent the last 15 years researching and teaching these skills, and I have seen how they transform people’s lives. It’s time for these skills to be part of mainstream consciousness: Self-awareness and self-confidence should not be reserved for a certain few. Everyone deserves the tools to be the best version of themselves every day of their lives.
I believe that happiness should be one of the rewards of education. I believe we are doing our children a disservice when we glorify intellect and denigrate emotions.
Keep following this blog if you want to learn how to listen to what your emotions have to tell you. Tomorrow’s post will cover something I call “the tyranny of positive thinking.”
Thank you for following me. My goal is to close the gap between what you learned in school, and what you should have learned in school: Emotional intelligence, resilience, self-awareness, and how to be happy.
And if there’s something you would like me to address in a future post, leave a comment and let me know.