Emotional Intelligence Doesn’t Mean Never Having an Outburst
I decided not to call this “Go Ahead and Have that Emotional Outburst,” which was a more entertaining title, but doesn’t accurately describe what I want to write about. I am a highly sensitive, emotional person. I have outbursts more often than I like. As I continue to grow spiritually and emotionally, I am trying to learn to accept myself and improve myself all at the same time. Being emotionally intelligent doesn’t mean you will never have an outburst, it means you will be accountable for how you express your emotions and learn from it.
Emotions are part of how we learn
I have spent half my life trying to figure out how to regulate my emotions. I have finally come to terms with the fact that I cry a lot, that I feel my feelings intensely, that I am extremely sensitive, and that I sometimes overreact. However, in spite of my delicate emotions, emotional intelligence is something I strive for. Emotional intelligence means being self-aware, being able to take criticism, having empathy, and being able to manage your emotions appropriately. Emotional intelligence is important for being successful and having healthy relationships. I am trying to find the balance of accepting that I am beautifully flawed, but also changing what I am capable of changing.
We are not robots. We are emotional beings. Have you ever tried to give a friend emotional advice only to be frustrated that they are unable to take it? I can give amazing advice to someone else because I am not feeling the emotions involved. When it comes to making my own decisions it’s tougher. This is because our emotions are part of how we make decisions. They are part of our own instinctual survival skills. Emotions help us remember things and help us learn. Do you have a song that brings back a memory? That’s because our emotions are involved in the process of creating memories. Think about what you remember and what you don’t. The process of feeling an emotion makes something significant in your brain.
What happens when you hold back?
People try to hold back their emotions for various reasons. Some people do it to avoid confrontation and others do it because showing emotions makes them feel weak. Releasing your emotions though is actually healthier than supressing them. Our emotions help soothe us. Crying, for example, has physical and emotional benefits. Crying releases oxytocin and endorphins that make you feel better. So, it makes sense that when you release emotions you feel better. But, what happens when you hold everything in? Stress! Stress is the generic term for feeling overwhelmed. Feeling stressed can cause physical and emotional symptoms. Stress is a catch-all term, but what it really is, is all of our unidentified feelings. We just call it stress.
Managing your emotions so they don’t turn into an outburst
Sometimes an outburst just happens. Emotions build up and eventually pent up feelings come out. Emotional outbursts can bring about a necessary change. Having an outburst, while not ideal, may be the trigger needed for you to change a situation. Sometimes the act of losing control, in itself, is the catalyst you need to change the situation that triggered it.
Expressing emotions when done correctly makes you feel better. An outburst, however, makes you feel out of control. You may say the things you need to say, but not necessarily the way you wanted to say them. So how do you avoid an outburst and express your emotions so they don’t come out the wrong way?
Here is how I manage my emotions
- I try to practice mindfulness. I identify my own feelings as I feel them and accept them. Identifying your feelings helps you manage them. Because I am an empath, I also have to recognize when the feelings I am feeling are really someone else’s.
- I write. Journaling is my number one outlet for my emotions.
- I meditate regularly. Meditation helps me to calm my brain, self-soothe, and solve my own problems.
- Drive, cry, or scream. Sometimes I get in the car and just scream or put my head under water in the bathtub and scream. Screaming, like crying, releases endorphins and can make you feel better.
- Listen to music. Music can change your mood and your feelings. When I am emotional, I play upbeat music and it helps.
- Exercise. I like to call it sweat therapy. I have been known to cry after a good workout. Exercise releases endorphins and is a healthy way to get things out.
- Talk to someone. Talking isn’t for everyone, but a good friend or a therapist can help you to talk through your emotions.
If you do have an emotional outburst. That’s okay. It is not the end of the world.
In the past, I would isolate myself in order to avoid situations that would trigger panic attacks, emotional outbursts, or people noticing my bipolar personality. I didn’t like the embarrassment of people seeing me lose control. I only wanted them to know the surface me. What I have learned from showing my emotions is that people understand better than you think they will. If you are open and honest, people will love you in spite of your flaws. Most people don’t expect perfection and may actually relate with you better if they see your flaws. So if you have a bad day, don’t sweat it. Don’t let anything keep you from growing. We are all human and emotions are part of being human. Apologize when necessary, forgive yourself, and move forward.