What is emotional wisdom and how does it affect StrongBlackWomen?
Emotional wisdom describes the collective knowledge and experience that we gain from having lived an emotionally diverse life. You gain emotional wisdom by learning from your past mistakes and taking what you’ve learned into the future with you.
Some experts believe that women often behave in self-sacrificial ways because they believe they are less important, less valuable, and less essential than men. Multiply that by the tendency for the StrongBlackWoman to suffer without complaint and neglect their personal needs (physical, emotional and psychological) to take care of others, and you end up with a lack of emotional wisdom.
Gaining emotional wisdom requires give-and-take – you receive the experiences and decide what serves you the best to remember and use in the future, then discard the rest.
Our emotions are continually giving us information about what feels good and what doesn’t, what feels right and what feels wrong, what is acceptable and what isn’t, and it results in showing us the ultimate direction we should be going. Our emotions tell us when things are great, or when they need to be improved.
Once you recognize that your emotions are giving you information, you must consciously train yourself to PAY ATTENTION to those emotions. If your habit is to ignore, push down or push aside your emotions, you are lacking in emotional wisdom.
Lets examine four steps to help you achieve greater emotional wisdom:
1. Listen – A big part of developing emotional wisdom is in learning how to listen to and interpret the experiences we have. By becoming aware of and listening to your emotions, you can gain a wider understanding of what’s going on inside you. What’s going on inside you will affect your physical health and mental well-being, so it pays to listen carefully. Some of the negative consequences of being a StrongBlackWoman show up as stress-related health behaviors like emotional and binge eating. Developing a wider understanding will help you manage stress, which means you can also better manage the negative emotions.
2. 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, right? We are much more capable than we 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 what you’re feeling. Whatever it is you are feeling is valid and worthy.
3. Reflect – Your ability to look at and analyze your emotions realistically is important in developing your emotional wisdom. Notice we said analyze – not react. As you are listening to your emotions, logically examine whether the emotion you’re feeling matches the situation that it came from. Often, we tell ourselves stories about our emotions that simply aren’t true – they are just habits. Honest reflection is a truly valuable skill to possess.
4. Adjust – The ability to adjust your emotions to correspond 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.