I kid you not, my journey of developing emotional intelligence began after I read a tweet that questioned, why am I the way I am? When I came across this tweet, I was deeply depressed and frustrated with not being able to understand where the waves of emotion were coming from. Although I had asked myself this same question many times, seeing someone else ask it made me approach it less judgmentally. Finally wanting more for myself, and keeping the tweet in mind, I began to seek answers to the simple questions, why can't I genuinely be happy for the people I call my friends? Why am I so threatened by competition? Why am I SO critical of others' flaws?
What pursued was a transformative experience.
In the past, I would have never thought that the source of my anger might be fundamental. As a way to avoid change, and to possibly keep my fears at bay, I had told myself I was faultless time after time. Yet, upon self introspection, I realized that I also played a role in situations that have brought me grief. Sure, I did not ASK to be mistreated by past friends, but did I go to a trusted adult for support? Practice self-care? Find better friends? Or did I wallow and let it affect me in all areas in my life. Of course, at the time I could not have known the optimal way to deal with my situation, and I cannot go back. BUT self introspection has helped me identify my harmful behaviors, so I can create positive ones the next time someone aims to bring me down.
If you want to escape your toxic habits too, ask yourself the same question that I initially asked, why am I the way I am? Think back to your childhood memories. What were some of the emotions you remember feeling back then? Sadness when your parents forgot your 9th birthday? Insecurity when you realized your skin was darker than that of all your peers? Unpack these genuine, raw emotions. They might sound trivial when you say them out loud; emotions tend to seem that way when put in the open. But get past the discomfort, because your inner child, the foundation of your personality, the part of you that longs to be nurtured, is waiting to be acknowledged. You might be shocked as you realize that the mechanisms you developed early on have followed you to adulthood. That is okay. The negative responses you developed were in reaction to situations you did not understand at the time. Try to understand them now though. Are the dots connecting? As you might be beginning to see, your emotions have always been real, whether or not you knew about them. After all, the same emotions you feel now are the same emotions you have always felt. Even though you might feel like they are too complicated or impossible to understand, remember that it is not your emotions that are impossible. You simply live in a world today that is more difficult to navigate than ever before, one that has successfully distracted you from facing your feelings.
How am I supposed to get myself together when I'm literally addicted to Snapchat??
Why do I even still USE Snapchat!??
Even though it is easy to get caught up with life-- the people, the drama, the responsibilities-- make time to ask yourself, what am I feeling right now? Am I acknowledging that my feelings are as valid as the next person's? If you can answer yes, you are respecting your inner child, and that is pretty amazing.