There is mental intelligence, the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills, and there is emotional intelligence. Emotional Intelligence, as a psychological theory, was developed by Peter Salovey and John Mayer.
“Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.” – Mayer & Salovey, 1997
Love is a Favorite – but Transient – Emotion
One of our favorite emotions to access and generate is love. Unconditional love can bring us a sense of fulfillment, meaning, and purpose like no other emotion.
Love is such a transient emotion and seemingly hard to measure. However, your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can give you insight as to the quality of love you are experiencing at any given time. This may seem a little analytical, but it is a worthy experiment to push the needle a little higher in your “love tank”. By doing so, you will begin to experience a deeper level and higher quality of love that brings you a greater sense of wholeness. A type of love that is not dependent on something or someone else. This level of love is based solely on yourself, which cannot be taken away from you. Imagine feeling a level of love that is self-generated and cannot be stolen away from you by other people or external events!
Take a look at the chart below and see if your emotional tank is closer to running on empty than it is to full.
I’m Running on Empty
My Tank Is Full
My heart is closed off to almost everyone I know, with very few exceptions.
My heart is open wide to the whole world and every creation in it.
I’m scared that those whom I love the most will abandon me.
I don’t even consider the thought of people leaving me. Why would someone do that? If they did, I have a deep trust that it is best for me, even if I don’t understand it.
If someone hurts me emotionally, they did something wrong and they need to apologize to me.
No one can MAKE me feel anything I don’t choose to allow. If this occurs, I know that I need a deeper level of healing myself.
I don’t share who I am or what I say to most everyone.
I am fully self-actualized and genuinely express myself with those in my life.
I hold on to old hurt feelings caused by my family, co-workers, and friends.
My relationships are sustained with a sense of newness and freshness regardless of how long we’ve known each other.
I feel reserved and withdrawn around almost everybody I meet.
I am kind and open towards all those I meet.
I ask myself why would anybody love me and wonder what their real motive is.
I experience love because I am love.
If someone doesn’t meet my emotional needs, I shut down and close myself off to them.
I believe I am responsible for my own emotional needs and understand that I ultimately choose how I feel.
When I give to other people I care about, I always keep track to make sure they give back to me. I am an emotional score-keeper.
I understand that unconditional love doesn’t keep score. I love and give to others because that is who I am. I give not to get, but give because that’s my nature to do so.
Emotional Strengths and Weaknesses
Each of us has different strengths and areas that we need to strengthen. For example, as a child I was taught that love wasn’t something that was given to me unconditionally; it had to be earned by my performance. I had to behave like a “good girl” to be loved. This included getting good grades, doing what I was told to do, and not “talking back” or having my own feelings, thoughts, or opinions. So, it became hard for me to meet new people and become open and vulnerable, because I would be taking a chance of being rejected. I would mistakenly equate my performance with my innate worth as a person.
Please comment on what areas of love you feel abundant in, and how you developed that level of love, for those of us that need a little help in that area.
Also, share with us what areas you feel slightly depleted in and some possible strategies on how you think would help you be fuller to encourage those of us that feel a little depleted in that area as well.
Shan White, a certified life coach, specializes in working with women in preventing or recovering from the heartache of divorce.