Recently, as a mother I had to face a personal fork in the road that bore deep into my heart. As parents we wish only for the best for our children, and hope their choices in life will bring happiness and contentment to themselves and the rest of us as a family unit. As they grow into independent human beings, for most mums we wonder about our place in their future choices. This is especially true when you are extremely close to your children like I tend to be.
I went through an emotional avalanche as I felt my place as a mother slightly threatened, but thankfully during a quiet moment of reflection whilst witnessing the epitome of true devotion, I turned to my emotional wisdom to remove the unwarranted stories in my head that were clouding my better judgement.
The outcome through a readjustment of my thoughts and approach to the situation were more than favorable to say the least and have paved the way for a future I look forward to.
So…What is emotional wisdom?
Emotional wisdom is the collective knowledge and experience that result from having lived a life of emotional diversity. You obtain emotional wisdom by learning from past mistakes and taking that which you’ve learned into the future with you. It is give-and-take – you receive the experiences and decide what serves you the best to remember and use in the future.
Our emotions are continually giving us messages about what feels good and what doesn’t, what feels right and what feels wrong, what is acceptable and what isn’t, and the ultimate direction we should be going. Our emotions tell us when things are great, or when they need to be improved.
In this article, we’ll examine four steps to help you achieve greater emotional wisdom.
- Listen – A huge part of developing emotional wisdom is in learning how to listen to and interpret the experiences we have. By listening to your emotions, you can gain a wide understanding of what’s going on inside you. What’s going on inside you can affect your physical health and mental well-being, so it pays to listen carefully. Doing so will help you manage stress, which can manifest itself in many negative emotions.
- Trust – Trust in your ability to feel and be felt, and interpret your emotions accurately. Trust that you can handle whatever emotions come your way – after all, you’re still here, aren’t you? We are all much more capable than we tend to give ourselves credit for, so while you’re listening to your emotions, trust that what you’re hearing is the truth. Never second guess yourself when it comes to feeling. Whatever it is you are feeling is valid and worthy.
- Reflect – Your ability to look at your emotions realistically in relation to the situations with which they arise is important in developing your emotional wisdom. Notice we said reflect – not react. As you are listening to your emotions, logically examine whether your emotion matches the situation that it came from. Often, we are used to telling ourselves stories regarding our emotions that simply aren’t true – they are just habits. Therefore, honest reflection is a truly valuable skill to possess.
- Adjust – The ability to adjust your emotion to your present situation is a sign of true emotional wisdom. Like anything, this takes practice, but when you learn to properly interpret the messages your emotions send you, you can adjust as you feel necessary.
True emotional wisdom comes from looking within and listening carefully to what we feel to give us clues that help us live healthier, happier, more productive lives.