Wisdom comes in many forms, but EMOTIONAL WISDOM™ is perhaps the most important when it comes to your family, friends and even yourself.
EMOTIONAL WISDOM™ is about seeing that we are all alike on the inside. On the outside, we look different, act different; have different cultural habits, ethnicity, different color hair, eyes, and skin. But on the inside, we all have the capacity to feel loved, wanted and belong. We also all have the capacity to feel lonely, unwanted and alone.
We become emotionally wise when we realize that we can either help ourselves and others feel like they belong and are valued or make ourselves and others feel like losers, unwanted and alone.
Our emotions affect all of our decisions. When we feel unloved and alone, it can be extremely painful. Feeling like we don’t fit in can also fell like we are worthless, not good enough to be liked or loved. These feelings drive many teens, as well as adults, to want to escape the pain. Teens and adults often turn to alcohol, drugs (prescription and/or illegal), self-harm, bullying of others, overeating, and irresponsible sex to escape lonely and other uncomfortable feelings. Humans need love to thrive; no one copes well when they feel unlovable.
Understanding and developing EMOTIONAL WISDOM™ is very helpful. By 7th and 8th grade, teens experience gossip in abundance! When others gossip about us, we no longer feel loved or like we fit in. We no longer feel safe opening up honestly with others. Soon, we may find ourselves gossiping about others as well because when we feel unwanted, unlovable or alone, gossiping takes the attention off of our own feelings for awhile. We may feel better at first when we put others down, but it actually can add more uncomfortable feelings like shame, embarrassment, bitterness, resentment and more.
Here is a simple way to develop the EMOTIONAL WISDOM™ that helps to deal with uncomfortable feelings:
1. Notice when you first feel uncomfortable feelings.
When you start to feel unloved, unwanted, and alone, or that you don’t fit in or aren’t good enough – HALT!
Take the time to ask yourself: What happened that brought on these feelings? Did a parent criticize me before leaving the house? Did someone ignore or snub me when I got to school? Did a teacher scold or give me a nasty look?
2. Rethink the situation and do three things:
A. Think to yourself:
Just because someone criticizes me, doesn’t make it true nor make me a loser.
B. Ask Yourself::
Were they having a bad day? Do they feel lousy about themselves?
Is it REALLY about me or more about them?
C. Be honest with yourself:
Is there some truth to what they said? Was I cold or rude or thoughtless? Do I owe an apology? How can I do better next time?
3. Talk it out with a trustworthy adult.
Find an adult who has EMOTIONAL WISDOM™, someone who understands feelings and doesn’t make fun of others. Ask them to be your “Encourager” – the person you can easily talk to about situations when you are having uncomfortable feelings.
How do you know if they have EMOTIONAL WISDOM™? Emotionally-wise adults are patient; they don’t criticize or scold; they don’t put you down for how you feel or think; they encourage your dreams and goals; and they listen when you talk about feelings including when you feel down, depressed, rejected, hurt, etc. They don’t make you feel “wrong” for being YOU.
Remember: You are not bad no matter what you feel. It is what you do with your feelings that matters.
4. Set a Personal Policy – Resist gossiping about others
Unless it is GOOD GOSSIP where you have something positive to say about
another person, resist saying the negative.
When we talk over feelings with a trustworthy adult, the urge to gossip about
others diminishes. We develop empathy – the ability to understand that other
people, adults as well as teens, can be motivated to gossip because they don’t feel
good about themselves; they may be feeling lonely, unlovable and alone. They
may be full of anger because of rejection. That doesn’t make it right to gossip or
be mean to others, but it can help us not take their words or actions personally or
be so hurt by them.
We can see that taking our uncomfortable and angry feelings out on others, by
gossiping, criticizing, or snubbing others, doesn’t fix the feelings. It only hurts
them and leaves us with more low self-esteem.
Set a personal policy:
I will deal with uncomfortable feelings in a healthy way. I will not gossip.
I will talk about my feelings with a trustworthy adult.
In this way, you will develop EMOTIONAL WISDOM™.
You will help yourself feel more comfortable with yourself and others.
You can be Proud of Yourself!
BIO ON SUSIE VANDERLIP
Dancer, actor, speaker and author, Susie is an internationally-renown theatrical speaker and expert on teens, families, stress management, and prevention of underage drinking, drug use, teen pregnancy, gangs, bullying, and more. She has toured her one-woman show LEGACY OF HOPE® to over one million youth and adults worldwide at schools, communities, churches and conferences. Check her out at www.legacyofhope.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter!
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