How Emotionally Intelligent Are You?


HSDcoverLast week Bud Harris, a Jungian analyst and author, posted a review of Healing the Sacred Divide on Amazon. In it he noted, “I have recommended this book to many people particularly for its sections on Emotional Integrity and Cultivating Emotional Intelligence.” Others have told me how much that part of the book means to them too, so I’d like to share a bit of it here.

Most of us believe we’re in touch with our emotions if we feel the basic ones like love, anger, fear, happiness, and sadness.  But it is possible to feel and recognize some emotions and not others. Moreover, knowing you’re feeling an emotion doesn’t necessarily translate into the ability to contain it or use it wisely.  Consider the following symptoms of emotional ignorance.  Which of these have you experienced?

25 Common Symptoms of Emotional Ignorance

1.  Feeling angry, happy, sad, anxious, afraid, guilty, ashamed, rebellious, hurt or sorry for yourself without knowing why or being able to control it.

2.  Acting scornful, superior, patronizing, fearful, seductive, resentful, manipulative, critical, etc., without realizing it.

3.  Not recognizing, understanding, or being able to admit to having a certain emotion, even when you experience it in a dream or someone points it out to you in waking life.

4.  Recognizing and responding from your anger while ignoring the hurt, sadness, fear, self-pity, self-doubt, guilt, or other less-obvious emotion that gave rise to it.

5.  Being swamped by a strong emotion–for example, grief, jealousy, fear, or anger–and allowing it to escalate to the point that it hurts you, another person, or a relationship.

6.  Becoming infatuated or falling in love with someone you barely know.

7.  Acting on your attraction to someone without being able to control yourself when it would be hurtful to you, him/her, or other innocent people.

8.  Having obsessive and/or intrusive fears, thoughts, anxieties, or worries you can’t control that are unrelated to chemical imbalances or mental illness.

9.  Trying to alleviate anxiety or other uncomfortable emotions with excessive use of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, or compulsive/addictive behaviors.

10. Feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, or drained of energy on a regular basis without knowing why (except for the last, which could, of course, have a physical cause).

11. Expecting others to make you happy and blaming them for your unhappiness instead of taking responsibility for (which requires admitting to) your own feelings and the unsatisfactory life situations that give rise to them.

12. Feeling guilty or critical of yourself for having certain normal human emotions such as anger, fear, or self-pity; or, at the opposite extreme, pleasure, happiness or joy.

13. Habitually expressing only the emotions you think you should express based on your family’s emotional personality.

14. Feeling justified or not caring when you do or say something that hurts someone else.

15. Feeling no compassion for people who are hurting.  This includes yourself.

16. Holding grudges without wanting or trying to resolve them.

17. Hating/despising others who are different from you; and/or hating/despising yourself for being different from others.

18. Being caught in a repetitive cycle of abuse, remorse, and over-compensation toward another person; or allowing another person to act that way toward you.

19. Expecting others to meet your emotional and/or physical needs without noticing or appreciating how they meet yours; or believing you have to meet another person’s emotional and/or physical needs whether or not they notice or appreciate your efforts.

20. Avoiding apologizing or talking with someone you have hurt because you don’t want to feel the guilt or admit to having said or done something hurtful.

21. Being unwilling or unable to cry or grieve over your pain or losses.

22. Being unable to enjoy your successes.

23. Feeling a strong internal pressure to habitually act cheerful and put on a happy face regardless of how you really feel.

24. Habitually withholding your true emotions from your partner, family, or friends.

25. Moodiness.

If you see any of these symptoms in yourself, welcome to the human race.  If you are ready to deal with them, welcome to the threshold of consciousness.

Image Credit:  Mandorla.  Cicero Greathouse.

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.

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0 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Curly Bookworm and commented:
    My emotional intelligence has been thriving, I just realized after I read this. HAHA! 🙂
    Thanks a lot for this. I find it helpful to evaluate my state of mind and emotions. I’m healthy still, but yeah, thriving! 🙂
    How about you?

  2. I love the way you related this to what it is not. We can all fool ourselves into thinking we are emotionally aware/intelligent. This list makes it very difficult to not see ways that is simply not true. Thank you for this…I’ll be sharing this with my clients as well as doing much reflection myself.

    1. Thank you, Linda. Yes, emotional ignorance is rampant! I have seen so much “fooling myself” about my own emotional life that I can’t help but see it in others. And we don’t have a clue. If you tell someone what you see, they deny it. As I used to. Most egos, especially wounded ones (and who isn’t wounded to some extent?) have very strong unconscious defense mechanisms in the form of stories they tell themselves that justify their attitudes, emotions and behaviors.
      As you know, it’s incredibly difficult for an ego to see itself objectively; so difficult, in fact, that it usually takes a painful crisis of some sort to “wake it up.” Knowing that experience is the best teacher, I realize that much of what I write about here “falls on deaf ears.” Yet, there is transforming magic in words when they fall like seeds on fertile soil…….

  3. Thank you Jeanie – my goodness, that encompasses just about everything that stands in the way of living a loving life. A direct reminder – bull’s eye reminder.

  4. My heart was beating fast as I read through the list, and then I got to the end and let out a big exhale. So much work it takes to wake up!!! Good list to go back to every now and again.

    1. I love the way you were listening to your body as you were reading the list. That in itself shows much mindfulness and awareness. Just as animals don’t lie, our animal bodies are incapable of lying…which is why lie detectors work. Listening to them is a huge component of waking up; one it took me an especially long time to learn. Blessings to you on your inner journey, and thank you for writing.

  5. Terrific list, Jean.. With 40+ years of working on my emotional intelligence, the project is still in progress. There was a huge shift during and after Vic’s death, but the Shadow never runs out of new tricks. I keep digging, because it’s what I do best.

    1. Me too. I doubt I’ll ever stop digging. In fact, I seem to be in the midst of another big dig at the moment. Perhaps I’ll write about it when it’s had time to settle in and reveal itself more clearly.

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