Aug 02

I learned something disappointing & it taught me to sit with my feelings.

Hey guys, Kimmy is back today sharing a post on emotional intelligence.  Enjoy!

I’m quite the nosy lil snoop, so before I get right down to it, here are some of my favorite moments of summer so far in case any of you guys find other people’s lives interesting :)

I took my sister on a mini trip to Palm Springs (in 120 degree heat, I’ll have you know) and we had the best.time.ever. I treated her to a super nice sushi restaurant the first night and OMGSH so incredible…not super filling, though–what’s with fancy restaurants and tiny portions?! So we ate some melty vending machine chocolate and cheese puffs while watching the Bachelorette in the room later hehe.

Seeing old friends again and making a new friend!!! (its a big deal in the world of an introvert) Can you guess what day this was? Hint: I usually am not a fan of wearing red, but I made an exception…

Midnight mango by the pool!!!

Can you be obsessed with a dressing room? Because I think I am.

That lil message is also my segway…because feeling alive has become my goal and it’s now the frequency I tune my internal compass to. 

I recently did some light reading on Psychology Today (y’know, just fluff pieces, no big deal, totally snoozefest…not lol) and I learned that I have pretty low emotional intelligence. Now, for someone who has always loved school and done well in it (hardcore loved, like, Mondays in elementary school were the bomb because there was no P.E. AND it was library and homework day), this tidbit of information came as a surprise and a disappointment. Coming from a history of a painful eating disorder as well as long unrecognized lifelong anxiety, it makes sense, though.

What was interesting, though, was that I had a misperception of emotional intelligence–having low emotional intelligence doesn’t mean that you don’t have adequate emotions, or are lacking in some way.

Turns out, this disappointing lesson was a blessing. Let me explain. I was in a serious slump the other day. Pause so I can set the scene: I’m preparing to move into my first apartment, heading into my first summer session’s finals week and working part time. During the moment in question I was on a separate continent from the rest of my vacationing family, I was breaking out, having a serious case of cramps, and battling a bad hair day. On top of my bleh moment, I realized a romantic situation was not going to turn out the way I wanted it to. I felt overwhelmed, crushed, vulnerable and silly and started spiraling into the tsunami of emotions and self doubt typical of an empath.

Right around this time, though, the tidbit I had read about emotional intelligence came to mind. At first, I found myself trying to push myself to feel positive. Then, I realized that even if you reframe a situation to see things differently, there still will be times when you feel something that seems negative and that’s inevitable. And while not every situation requires panic, sometimes our feelings are appropriate for the events going on in our lives just as they are. Having emotional intelligence in that moment meant creating space between myself and my feelings, allowing those feelings to exist, but not allowing them to kick me out of the driver’s seat.

I got through my classes and shift at work, I called a friend on my hour long commute–a whopping 13 mile schlepp through LA traffic–I cried, I ate some toffee popcorn, and I watched some Grey’s Anatomy. Slowly, the nasty feeling passed and other emotions became more present than the negative ones. 

On that day, I learned that pain can  be good. It’s human to hurt, and we need to let ourselves go through it. When we fight it, it pummels us like a rogue wave. When we don’t fight it, it passes right over us like a nice swell.

No feeling lasts forever, but the lessons we have the opportunity to learn while we’re experiencing those feelings very well may.

How would you rate your emotional intelligence? If you’re still developing it (like me ;)) what have you noticed coming up for you? Thoughts?

Also, would love to hear about some of your summer highlights so far??

16 comments on “I learned something disappointing & it taught me to sit with my feelings.”

  1. Thanks for sharing Kimmy! I would say mine is still developing because I get overwhelmed easily. I think what comes up for me is one worry/bad thought can spiral out of control and make me think irrationally.
    Summer highlights: a beach trip and all the fresh fruit!

    • 100%!! It’s easy to get swept up in anxiety hurricanes! Ahhh beach trips WITH fruit = pure bliss…

    • I found this post very helpful. I would say I’ve struggled with “low emotional intelligence” my whole life. I haven’t heard it explained this way. Julianne, the same thing happens to me where one thought can create a whole obsessive train of negativity, leaving me feeling anxious and depressed. I need to remind myself that those feelings don’t last forever and in most cases it’s not the reality of the situation. Thanks for sharing this post!

  2. So interesting! Thanks for sharing. I definitely have low emotional intelligence, I am hypersensitive to others around me and unfortunately take on people’s emotions which can be very draining! 

    Summer highlight though, I’m going back to school to be an RD, woot woot! 

    • I recently learned that “absorbing” other people’s emotions is called being an empath…I definitely identify with that, we feel the bad very deeply, but we also feel the good deeply! CONGRATS, you go girl, that’s AMAZING!! :)

  3. I would say I’m on the lower side of emotional intelligence ( I’m a Pisces, I’m super sensitive especially to others ) and therapy has played a huge role in improving my emotional intelligence!
    As an ambivert, part of developing my emotional intelligence is tuning into what I need – do I need a night out with friends to rejuvinize me, or do I need a night in to write and cry? This past weekend looked like a bit of both and it was SO healing.

    • YES I totally agree with that, sometimes a tool for feeling better in one instance isn’t going to be the same thing that makes us feel better in another instance!

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I am on the low end of emotional intelligence. Never in my life has this been more apparent that in the past few months since I got married in April and have been experiencing all kinds of crazy life changes. I think something that will help me develop is to remember it is ok to be uncomfortable and some things are out of my control. I know I tear myself apart and belittle myself as a coping mechanism to feeling uncomfortable because in my head, I think I should be able to solve everything (I don’t deal well with feeling as if things are unresolved). But knowing that I usually react like this is a really powerful tool. I think a little self compassion would do wonders for me when I feel uncomfortable. This was such a great topic and I really enjoyed reading this today!

    • Hi Molly!! First of all, congratulations on your marriage! And thank you, I’m so glad today’s post resonated with you :) I think that one of life’s main lessons is discovering where your raw spots are and learning how to take care of them…dealing with uncertainty and not reaching full closure is absolutely one of my raw spots as well!

  5. Great post! I would say I’m also on the lower side of emotional intelligence, but that I have definitely gotten better. I am starting to not freak out about situations right away before I know all the details (something I learned from my chill husband haha) but it’s definitely a work in progress! I love the idea of letting yourself feel emotions rather than fighting them.

    • I agree Sara. It’s small steps for me as well. I need to appreciate those moments where I am able to cope with a situation better than I would have in the past. It’s great advise to not fight the emotions and accept that’s how we feel at the moment.

  6. This is such a great post and great “food for thought!” I can become so easily impacted by others’ emotions and energy that it can either elevate me or really put me in a low emotional state. I also tend to be panicky at times, depending on my anxiety and honestly hormones. I love that you brought this concept to my attention. I look forward to working towards high emotional intelligence!

  7. This is really great! I am a professional counselor and work with clients all the time in trying to understand how they can cope with anxiety or difficult feelings while also letting themselves feel those things without them taking over or “kicking them out of the driver’s seat”. Well done!

  8. I too recently got a new apartment, am taking summer classes and have a part-time job. I have had a lot less free time to do “summery” things, which I’m sad about, but it has taught me to scale back on my commitments for the fall semester. At first, I would have said I have a good emotional intelligence level because I think I am good at identifying which emotion I’m experiencing, but I also worry and analyze more than is probably good for me. I always try to “figure things out” sooner than may be possible. Some things take time. 

    Thanks for sharing your insights!

  9. This is a super old post, but in case someone comes across it now like I just did, I want to add that I don’t agree with this definition of low emotional intelligence. I am a counseling and psychology grad student currently, and that is a very narrow definition of emotional functioning. While I appreciate the tone of this post (learning and growing is a healthy goal vs. needing to be already fully developed), I think this definition discounts the work involved in articulating your own feelings. I personally believe that emotional intelligence is trademarked by empathy and a high level of sensitivity, balanced with your own ability to set healthy boundaries, communicate the strong feelings you inhabit, and use the for productive relationship building. In essence, mental and emotional health/intelligence is best described as “productive”, not “chill”. 

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