Taking control of our emotional intelligence
If two men married each other's mothers, what's the relationship of their sons? I ask not just to stimulate your intelligence, but to illustrate that families can be really confusing. They become even more so when one considers the inner child and inner parent.
Of course, the inner parent is not real - at least, not in the way that a tuna fish sandwich can be real - but he/she does have a kind of reality. If you've ever had an imaginary spat with your inner mother to the point where you begin to experience real anger, you'll know what I mean.
This brings us to the popular concept of emotional intelligence, which is defined as the ability to recognise, express and control one's emotions on the inside so that you can do the same in your relationships on the outside. Although the self-help books on the subject don't say so, mindfulness is the best way to develop it.
I'll illustrate with an example. Yesterday, I was standing in a queue at a supermarket, waiting to be served by a cashier with whom I had squabbled in the recent past. As I waited and remembered our disagreement, I noticed I was feeling awkward.
I had to tell myself to stop and be mindful. What were the actual sensations that I was labelling 'awkwardness'? In my case, it was nothing more than a little tension in the stomach accompanied by shallow breathing. Once I realised this and allowed myself to freely experience those waves of tension, they became just another set of sensations - neither good nor bad - and I had an enjoyable exchange with the cashier.
Breaking your internal thoughts up into different 'parts' so that you can carry out arguments with yourself sounds like a crazy idea but it's something we do. In mindfulness we stop investing in the stories that we tell ourselves in order to focus on the wholeness of our ongoing experiences. It may not increase your IQ, but mindfulness will make you an Einstein of emotional intelligence. (PS: write to me if you figure out the relationship of those sons.)
- Joseph Pond is a clinical hypnotherapist, an acupuncturist, and a mindfulness instructor. He is co-founder of Hypnosis Explorers NI and conducts workshops in hypnosis with PowerTrance. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at https://www.facebook.com/Belfast Hypnosis/ ?ref=hl/?ref=hl