ByCindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C.

The Emotional Intelligence of Sorrow

emotional intelligence sorrow leadership development

The feeling of Sorrow is designed to help you grieve your losses. When you don’t give yourself permission to grieve, you’ll turn into an emotionally hardened person and become indifferent to those around you. Sorrow differs from sadness. Sadness arises when you have to face an ending. Sorrow arises when you have a loss in your life… a loss that you can’t get back, ever. If you’ve lost someone important in your life, you know the feeling of sorrow.

I’ve experienced sorrow a couple of times, and those were definitely the most painful experiences in my life. One of those deeply painful times was when my dog passed. He was my companion for 12 years. I have emotion arising as I write this even though he passed over five years ago. (That’s when you know it’s sorrow!) He was with me through so many events in my life… completing graduate school, getting divorced, getting married again, and going through another divorce. In addition to being my quasi-therapist, he was also my travel buddy. He and I traveled in my Ford Explorer from Wisconsin to the East coast to explore a possible move to North Carolina in my late 20’s. After realizing how d?#@ hot and humid it was there, I decided to move to the West coast instead. I packed up the U-Haul, hitched it to the back of my Explorer, and we headed to Portland, OR. In a year’s time, my dog had traveled 3000 miles with me and swam in two different oceans. Years later, he was there to welcome my one and only child home. They soon became best buds.

In addition to being with me during so many important moments in my life, I was also there for him. He was a German Shepherd… enough said. He got in so much trouble, giving me the first of my gray hairs. I was his protector as much as he was mine. He loved to chase anything that ran and would catch it, if possible. I had to apologize to several cat-owners as they came out of their houses to find their cat up a tree and my Shepherd with his teeth bared at the bottom. One time, he ran into a neighbor’s house as she stood in the doorway on the phone. Unfortunately, she must have let her parakeet out of the cage for the afternoon because a few moments later, out came the bird into the wild blue sky with my dog right behind. I don’t think the neighbor noticed because she was still on the phone, so I high-tailed it into my house with my dog and didn’t come back out for a long time.

When it came time to say goodbye to my dear pet, I decided that I wanted him privately cremated. My gracious sister coordinated all of the details with my vet. I kept his ashes in the paw-print container on a bookshelf in my bedroom for a year and a half before I was ready to spread his ashes and say goodbye forever. Grieving can take years because the loss is so great in one’s life… and that’s okay. After five years, it gets better. Alternatively, if I would have just said, “Well, he’s gone. Dogs don’t live as long as humans. It’s just the way it is” and didn’t recognize or appreciate the meaningful connection we had, I would have buried my grief. And, I’m sure that a part of me would have become closed off as a result. That is the purpose of Sorrow… to truly grieve our losses and process the deep emotional pain associated with the loss.

In our rat race society today, I don’t think we give ourselves the time to feel our feelings and fully process the events in our lives. Everyone is so quick to move on because we can’t afford to slow down or miss a beat. That is unfortunate. Some people (as well as pets) have significantly impacted our lives and when they are gone, it really hurts. There is no one or no thing that can replace the essence of that relationship and what they brought into our lives. It’s a loss that is honored by the level of grief it invokes.

Next week, we’ll explore what feeling scared means. It’s a normal, uncomfortable feeling that has something to tell you…

This blog post was provided by Cindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C. from Anakh Leadership Coaching LLC.  We specialize in developing business leaders and professionals by increasing their self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and overall effectiveness thereby increasing professional success and personal satisfaction in their lives.  For more information, please go to aleadershipcoach.com.

Connect on social media:

Facebook

LinkedIn

Twitter

ByCindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C.

The Emotional Intelligence of Feeling Sad

emotional intelligence sadness leadership development

The feeling of sadness helps you to create closure when something ends. If you block (deny, minimize or repress) your feelings of sadness, you can easily slip into a mild depression. Sadness is a normal, natural and necessary feeling that arises when something ends in your life. This could be a relationship, a job, a business, a hope, a dream or even an expectation that’s been left unfulfilled. The feeling of sadness helps the body deal with the endings in your life. It’s the way you process loss and prepare for what is next.

Processing your feelings can be compared to how your body processes food. When you eat, you put food into your mouth (ingest it). Then your body breaks down the food (digests it). Then your blood circulates your digested food to your cells (processes it). And, lastly, the food that can’t be used, is eliminated. You process feelings the same way. When something happens to you, such as the death of a loved one, you are forced to “ingest” feelings of sadness. Then you’ll “digest” the sadness by breaking it down to feel how your loss will affect you. Then you’ll spend a few months grieving your emotional loss by “processing” this change into your life. Lastly, when you are done grieving, you’ll eliminate the remaining sadness so that you can move forward with your life.

When a chapter in your life has come to an end, the feeling of sadness needs to be processed. You will “ingest” the temporary emotional pain and “digest” the reality of the situation. Once these two steps are done, your body will take care of the rest. You may not necessarily know what the next step in your life is going to be, and you probably don’t have everything figured out. However, if you don’t start by facing the reality that something has ended, you will stay stuck in a place of low energy and will have a difficult time moving forward. If you are feeling depressed, judgmental, confused or are blaming others, chances are you are not allowing yourself to feel the sadness around the reality that something has ended in your life. The solution is to give yourself permission to feel the sadness and let your body process it. Then you’ll be freed up to move on to explore the next chapter in your life.

Next week, we’ll look at the feeling of sorrow and how it differs from sadness. Sorrow is a deeper emotional pain than sadness which if you don’t allow yourself to process, can cause you to become emotionally hardened and indifferent to others.

This blog post was provided by Cindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C. from Anakh Leadership Coaching LLC.  We specialize in developing business leaders and professionals by increasing their self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and overall effectiveness thereby increasing professional success and personal satisfaction in their lives.  For more information, please go to aleadershipcoach.com.

Connect on social media:

Facebook

LinkedIn

Twitter

ByCindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C.

The Emotional Intelligence of Feeling Hurt

When you feel emotionally hurt, your intuitive self is trying to make you aware of the source of your pain, so that you can heal it. If you don’t investigate (a.k.a. dig deeper) into the source of the hurt, you will most likely slip into a cycle of self-pity and go around feeling sorry for yourself. Remember, feelings are guideposts. They contain intelligence. Something within you is trying to get your attention so that you can learn from the experience, grow, heal, and move on as a stronger, more self-mastered person. When you feel hurt, it’s an indication that something under the surface has been awakened (triggered) and needs your attention.

What happened to, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? Why do the words and actions of others “hurt” you? The quick answer is, you’ve probably been hurt in the past and didn’t deal with it (process it and heal from it). A lot of hurts happened when we were children and didn’t have the knowledge, power or environment to process incidents that truly hurt us. And, if those hurts weren’t processed and released, guess where they continue to reside… inside! As adults, when we are “wronged” by others, it hits on those old wounds and brings them right back to the surface. Or, at a minimum, the body throws off a smoke alarm and puts us in high alert. If we don’t take time to investigate why we have such strong hurt feelings as a result of the actions of someone else, the old wound will go back underground, and we’ll either repress the new hurt feelings (add them to the pile) or our ego will take over and give us a slew of reasons to feel sorry for ourselves. In any case, the original pain remains because we are still not dealing with it. Let’s look at an example…

I recently felt hurt when someone in my family told me that another family member was talking negatively about me. I felt hurt because I thought the family member that was talking about me had a better opinion of me. Have you heard the saying, “What other people think about me is none of my business?” Well, that’s true. But, I felt hurt nonetheless. After sitting with the hurt feelings for a bit, I realized that this feeling felt familiar. I remember feeling this same kind of feeling when I was growing up, a feeling like I wasn’t loved or appreciated. To add to it, there was also a feeling of abandonment, like someone I should be able to trust, just betrayed me. Let me just say here that if you are feeling betrayed, abandoned, powerless, helpless, inadequate, or unworthy, it’s a definitive sign that the feeling you are feeling today stems from something that happened to you in childhood. Really look at those feelings. They are not feelings that a confident, emotionally mature, psychologically balanced adult would have. Those are thoughts and feelings that a helpless child would have who’s having a tough time making sense of the crazy stuff that’s going on around him or her. Children always make things about them. It’s how they protect themselves. They are not going to question the actions of the adults around them. That’s just not safe to do.

In summary, if you are feeling hurt, some legitimate emotional wound from the past is most likely being triggered. Take some time to sit with the hurt and ask yourself, “What does this feeling remind me of?” It may be a painful investigation, but it’ll be in your best interest in the long-run. The hurt is inside regardless. Isn’t it time to bring it to light and release it?

Next week, we’ll look at the emotional intelligence of the feeling of Sadness.

This blog post was provided by Cindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C. from Anakh Leadership Coaching LLC.  We specialize in developing business leaders and professionals by increasing their self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and overall effectiveness thereby increasing professional success and personal satisfaction in their lives.  For more information, please go to aleadershipcoach.com.

Connect on social media:

Facebook

LinkedIn

Twitter

ByCindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C.

The Emotional Intelligence of Worry

emotional intelligence worry procrastination leadership development

Do you procrastinate?  Procrastination is a sign that you are feeling worried about something.  Worry is the uncomfortable feeling present when you need to take action on the project at hand.  If you don’t use the energy of Worry to motivate you to take action, you will procrastinate and not take the steps necessary for you to succeed.  Once you take the necessary actions and feel well prepared, the feeling of Worry will dissipate quickly.  If you find yourself procrastinating or feeling helpless in a situation, check in with yourself to see if there is some unfinished business that you need to take care of.  Let’s look at an example…

I was halfway through the M.B.A. program.  I was sitting at my desk in my home office.  I had a mid-term paper to write.  I was working full-time and going to school part-time in the evenings.  I had been doing this for two and a half years and had about two years left.  I had put off writing the paper and had only the weekend left to do it.  I was tired from working all week, and didn’t feel like writing this in-depth paper.  I really just wanted to relax and do nothing.  As I was sitting at my desk, I broke down and started crying.  I put my head in my hands and started thinking things like, “I can’t do this… I want to quit… this is too much… it’s too difficult… I can’t do this anymore”.  Not only was I procrastinating during this time, but I was letting myself go into a deep, dark emotional abyss of helplessness and self-pity (which is a good distraction and a good way to continue to procrastinate). I could have been using that time and energy to start writing my paper, so that I could enjoy at least part of the weekend.

It was quite the dramatic scene.  After my pity-party (and wasting an hour of time), I took a deep breath and conceded to write the paper and stay enrolled in the M.B.A. program.  I got the paper done and two years later, graduated with the degree.  Sometimes, you don’t feel like doing the task at hand.  That’s normal.  And, when the Worry feelings get strong (really uncomfortable), it’s just your body’s way of telling you that the deadline is approaching and you still have work to do.  Once you do the work and get prepared, the uncomfortable, worried feelings will go away.  They are there for a purpose… to help you succeed.

Next week, we will look at the feeling of Hurt and what intelligence it’s trying to communicate to us.

This blog post was provided by Cindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C. from Anakh Leadership Coaching LLC.  We specialize in developing business leaders and professionals by increasing their self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and overall effectiveness thereby increasing professional success and personal satisfaction in their lives.  For more information, please go to aleadershipcoach.com.

Connect on social media:

Facebook

LinkedIn

Twitter

ByCindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C.

The Emotional Intelligence of Shame

emotional intelligence feeling of shame leadership development coaching

The feeling of Shame is the emotion that you feel when you do something that doesn’t serve yourself or others well.  The purpose of the uncomfortable feeling of Shame is to help you to own what you did, so that you don’t do it again.  It’s your internal barometer, telling you something is out of whack with your integrity.  In its essence, Shame leads to remorse.  Remorse leads to you learning a lesson (i.e. growing/expanding and not repeating the same action in the future).  There is a difference between Shame and Guilt.  Guilt is self-judgement, otherwise known as “beating yourself up”.  Guilt solves nothing whereas Shame creates remorse which emotionally connects you to the effect that your actions had on yourself or others.  It’s a sense of connectedness with yourself and others at a loving/caring level where you feel empathy as opposed to telling yourself how horrible of a person you are.

It takes courage to feel the shame that arises when you act less than perfectly.  No one likes to feel badly inside.  Let’s look at the example I gave last week.  To recap, I made a totally insensitive comment to an individual.  I was working in a facility which provided assisted living for developmentally disabled individuals.  I had accidently broken something on a resident’s wheelchair. When he asked me why I did that, my 16-year old response was, “Because I am retarded”.  I explained last week that I felt really embarrassed as a result.  Well, the other emotion I felt was shame. 

Let’s look at the ways I could have processed what happened that day.  After I made the comment, I could have:  1) Ignored it and said “who cares”; no one else was in the room.  2) Rationalized it by thinking, “I’m just a teenager and that’s how we talk… big deal!”.  3) Minimized it by thinking, “He probably didn’t understand what I said anyway” or “Maybe he didn’t hear me”.  4) Beat myself up over it.  I could have gone home and called one of my girlfriends and told her what happened, telling her that I am such a horrible person, saying “I can’t go back there.  I’m obviously not cut out for this kind of work”.  5) Own what I did and apologize to the resident.

Which “solution” is best?  I chose to suck it up (a.k.a. actually feel the shame and remorse), admit I was wrong, and apologize.  I don’t know that at age 16 I consciously processed the remorse I felt inside, however, I did learn from the experience.  As you can imagine, from that day forward, I became extremely aware of the words I used when speaking to others.  Even to this day, I really pay attention when I speak about sensitive subjects or about groups of individuals who have a specific designation.  The benefit that resulted from the shame I felt that day was an increase in my social intelligence.

Note: Feelings arise in order to tell you that something is out of harmony.  In this case, the crappy feeling (shame) only lasted a few minutes until I apologized.  Then I felt better and was back in balance.  Emotions are supposed to blow in (think “in motion”) just long enough to guide you as to what action to take to get back in balance.  In this case, shame “blew in” for good reason.  And, it “blew out” as soon as I apologized.

Next week, we’ll take a look at the feeling of Worry and what its purpose is.

This blog post was provided by Cindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C. from Anakh Leadership Coaching LLC.  We specialize in developing business leaders and professionals by increasing their self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and overall effectiveness thereby increasing professional success and personal satisfaction in their lives.  For more information, please go to aleadershipcoach.com.

Connect on social media:

Facebook

LinkedIn

Twitter