Empathy; get in before its all gone.

"Emotional intelligence; the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically"

As defined by google dictionary

'Emotional intelligence; the ability to monitor one's own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.'

As defined by a psychologists, Peter Salovey and John Mayer.

Do you struggle with your emotions? Do you see something you disagree with and just HAVE TO do something about it? Does the idea of just sitting back and allowing an injustice to prevail, make you physically upset? Does your anger in the moment bleed into the next hour or entire day?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you could probably use some guidance in how to navigate your feelings, which is probably what brought you to this site and this blog.

Don't worry though! You are definitely not the only one; but you might be the only one in your family or social circle to be aware that there is something that just doesn't feel right about it and the only one searching the web for resources on what it is and how to address it. Trust me on this, there is nothing wrong with you.

There is absolutely something wrong with the place you spend a lot of your time though, and its the very thing you found this on; the internet. Actually its not just on the internet, you don't need internet to open a text message that makes you feel a certain way. Whats making it extremely hard for you to manage your emotional state, is sitting in your purse, your hand, your pocket, your bedside table, etc.

Your phone is intrusive, rude, demanding, has only job; to alert you to things. It alerts you all day, if you have notifications on, to phone calls, texts, emails, so and so commented on a facebook post, instagram photo, twitter update, etc. At all times we have this thing keeping us on alert.

Your body really only has one reason to be alert at all times like that; survival. And last time I got a text message alert, it surely was not notifying me of my certain death. It was just my husband saying , 'on my way home'. But my body reacted to an unexpected alert, so now my heart is racing, my mind is feeling a bit foggy, and I am suspended in this communication between the two. Sure, my mind will refocus my nervous system and calm it, reassuring that there is indeed no threat; however this takes awareness. This takes a moment to notice what is actually happening versus what was perceived happening.

The fight or flight mechanism built into our central nervous system is vital to our animals survival. We are animals, species; homo sapiens. What truly separates us from any other species is our minds. We have the ability to perceive, analyze, learn, remember, forget, unlearn, etc. as the true limits of the mind have yet to be encountered. We are quite incredible from just about any angle of any scientific field you may be looking in from. With the exception of some fierce animals like cheetahs and panthers, even our physical limits have yet to be truly reached. And just like cheetahs, panthers, bears, etc. we have threats in our environment which calls for the need for a system to alert us of such.

But in our current world, we have used that magnificent mind of ours exceptionally. We have learned to minimize the threats in our daily lives to nearly nil. We build houses to keep out animals and weather threats, we build walls and demolish land to separate the jungle from civilizations, we build aircraft and boats to travel the globe safely and worry free, etc. We have done pretty great for ourselves. But now it appears that primal fear comes up in new ways. Because we have built such a cushy existence into, the western world specifically, the fabric of who we are, we are completely out of practice with how to communicate with our fight or flight alert center.

So incredibly out of practice, that we didn't even realize we were aggravating it with every single text alert, or facebook notification.

We all spend time on facebook, checking up on family, seeing where your best friend went to lunch, what movie your brother saw last night with his new wife, etc. Then all of the sudden a news story crosses in front of your news feed. Or a satirical meme flashes by that happens to be very offensive to you or someone you love. Your fight or flight, just activated. Your heart starts racing, your hands might start shaking, you click on it and open the comment box and share your anger, or maybe you are so upset you share it to your friends and add your rant about how offended or upset you are. Now, you've taken your anger and frustration and shared it, with however many people can see your feed. Most likely there is someone else in your friends list, that shares your outrage over this particular news story or meme, and they just came across your post; and now they are in fight or flight, repeating the steps you did.

This cycle of be alarmed, react, be alarmed, react; is what is making the country appear to be divided.

I spend a lot of time talking to people face to face, and i've yet to ever recreate the hostility and name calling all of us encounter within 5 minutes of our facebook newsfeed. The lack of awareness in regard to this cycle is absolutely ruining any semblance of emotional intelligence or empathy as a culture, we have left.

I want to live in a world where people can be wrong, make mistakes, disagree, hold an unpopular decision, change their mind, and walk away from something they disagree with, again. According to facebook if we don't protest; we are racist, if we don't speak up; we condone, if we disagree; we are unfriended, If we share an unpopular decision; we are ostracized, etc.

And that is exactly what we are teaching our children. If we don't stop to ask ourselves 'why do I feel this way?' now, the reaction based living will continue to produce more disease, illness, and dissatisfaction in our lives. The cases of mental illness and suicide will continue to skyrocket.


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