How can we think of emotions as irrational when all the meaning we have in life is a result of our emotions? As I will say repeatedly, emotions are facts. We must consider and take into account all facts whenever we interact with or engage our world. Any intelligent exercise that dismisses half of the facts is surely not intelligent. We cannot discount or deny emotion’s intelligence.
This Couple Needed Emotion’s Intelligence
Clyde was fed up with his wife’s emotional outbursts. And she was growing tired of him, too. He thought of her as immature and mentally inferior to him because, in his opinion, she couldn’t control her emotions. He was indeed intelligent, though not emotionally so, and would make a thoughtless (at best) remark directed at her. She would then go silent while anger and hurt exploded inside her. And then sometimes, she hurled the anger and hurt at him in a flood of angry words. But more often, it just bottled up somewhere inside her as a nagging ache. From her point of view, why couldn’t he control his tongue or at least be motivated by love rather than condemnation or thoughtlessness toward her. Didn’t she mean anything to him? He was unemotional and inconsiderate of her feelings, as she told her closest friends.
On the other hand, he felt she was oversensitive. And, yes, he was bearing a grudge for the way she seemed to blame him for things he felt were simply little inescapable errors that are natural to all humans. The relationship was poisoned by unintelligent emotions on both sides.
This couple needed to learn that:
- The unintelligent emotions both of them displayed were red flags seeking to call their attention to the damage that each was inflicting. Flagging us is an intelligent act on the part of our emotions.
- Replacing wrong emotions with intelligent emotions that build intimacy, trust, and love would create a motivation to heal the hurt. And it would make their dreams for a great relationship a real possibility.
- We need emotion to achieve any dream and, of course, much of it to succeed in our challenging trials.
- Emotions refuse to be responsible for our responses to them or decisions about them. They insist we are responsible for choosing and backing an emotion, even when we choose the wrong one.
- Emotions won’t make the right choice for us. Choice is the field in which our lives are played.
Emotions Are Smart, but…
Each needed to address his or her own emotions and think of what the logical results would be if the emotions were not changed. Emotions are smart enough to disclaim any responsibilities to change someone else’s emotions.
Each would have to recognize the need to get out of the business of trying to blame the other person. We need big shoulders to carry our own mistakes. Blame leads to grudges that we must also carry on those shoulders, making our load too heavy for happiness.
Emotion’s Intelligence Wants This
Emotional intelligence wants us to react to the other person in terms of his or her needs, not our own. The use of these intelligent emotions not only calms our mind, but positively affects the other person’s mind. When we choose an emotion that is considerate of who the other person is, it influences them to change their attitude towards us: “A soft answer turns away wrath.” We can change others. But an unintelligent emotion won’t do the trick.
The path to self-correction is never easy when it involves our emotions. And it usually needs help in understanding what to do and how to do it. Clyde and his wife got help and gained respect for each other as they sympathetically watched each other struggle with choosing intelligent feelings.
Debilitating Ignorance Is the Alternative to Emotion’s Intelligence
Emotion drives everything. The most fact-driven, calm, logical scientist or cold, aloof professor must acknowledge the presence of feelings, which drive their professional pride, marital relationships, and their convictions. Or they must settle for displaying a debilitating ignorance. In all these personal and professional experiences, emotion shows a penetrating, smart intelligence. And it offers both helpful and unhelpful feelings from which we make our personal and professional images.
First Impressions Require Emotion’s Intelligence
This intelligence is, in part, the wisdom of first impressions. With a speed we will examine later, our emotions see, sense, and react to their first readings of a circumstance for good reason. Our safety, respect for our values and preferences, and the protection of our beliefs drive our feelings into the role of protective agents. First impressions may not always be accurate. But neither are the calculated conclusions of logic. Thank God that first impressions can contain great wisdom. When faced with that proverbial tiger, we are grateful.
We Are Preeminently Emotional Beings
The self-understanding that we are preeminently emotional beings is another intelligent conclusion of our emotions. Awareness precedes decisions and life is all about making the right choices. Therefore, it follows that emotions play an intelligent role in preparing us for our choices. Perhaps it will help us to realize that the emotional facts of life are not half of life’s facts. No, they are the majority of what makes up our intelligent consciousness and our existential world.
All Decisions Are Infused with Our Emotions
Another example of emotion’s intelligence is the discernment that all of our decisions are somehow infused with the emotions of our personal history. We are who we have emotionally become and all our decisions reflect this. Unraveling our emotions from who we are would be impossible. And if it were possible, it would be destructive. We would become another individual and lose all of our “color.”
Motivation Relies on Emotion’s Intelligence
Every sports coach knows that motivation is the key to success. We achieve motivation best with the skillful use of emotions — emotions that operate with a positive purpose. Are we ever motivated in sports if we have no feelings? The pep talk before and during the game has claimed its rightful place as necessary, stirring the all-important emotions. When we are in love, don’t we reasonably attribute our motivation to our feelings? Desire itself is another form of intelligent emotional motivation. Feelings purposefully move us, indicating that they are intelligent.
“We Are a Bundle of Nerves” that Are in Emotional Response
Do you remember the saying “We are a bundle of nerves?” Our nerves relay messages from their terminals to the brain as they react to stimuli. As a result, they set off an emotional response. It is not a false understanding that when our emotions are on edge, we also say our nerves are on edge. The two are connected in the same way as the relationship between cause and effect. A “nervous breakdown” is an emotional experience. Nerves and emotions are acting in response to stresses. When we feel nervous, we set off emotions that judge the information the nerves are reading. In what seems like an automatic experience, intelligence is present. We are wired so that our emotions warn us of extremes and dangers, pleasures and possibilities (whether physical or nonphysical) — all with the help of an amazing communication system: our nervous system.
Social Intelligence Is Also Emotional Intelligence
Social intelligence is also emotional intelligence. All our observations of how emotion is part of the structure of personal relationships should convince us of this. Mr Spock (of Star Trek fame) finds relationships difficult, to say the least, precisely because he lacks an understanding of the importance of emotion. Pure logic governs him and misses the part emotion plays in every moment of our human existence.
Emotions Add Meaning to Life
Emotions add a richness or color to our thinking and imagination. This contribution adds meaning to life. We do not live our lives or process things mentally in colorless images. Emotion projects everything in rich color. Emotion also reads the temperature of our words and our thoughts, adding emotional elements to all our communications with ourselves and with others. Should we choose to ignore this emotional dimension and all it can tell us, we would become unintelligent. Hopefully, gone is the day of equating reason and logic with intelligence while equating emotion with unintelligence. Welcome the new day where reason and logic take their place as equals alongside of the brilliance of emotion’s intelligence.
Are you by now convinced that emotions are intelligent, not least because they help us know ourselves and become aware of the quality and shape of what we are doing and becoming?
My hope is that this book will lead you, as its content has led many others, to be intelligently emotional. If it helps you to develop the intelligent use of your emotions and a rewarding lifestyle, my labor will not have been in vain. You can access it HERE. If you are subscribed to our weekly updates, our next issue will provide a link to purchase it with a 15% discount and free shipping.
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