Each strength in our temperament has emotions that drive it to fulfill its designed purpose — unless the emotion is contrary to the strength’s true purpose. (In that case, the result is a distorted and perverted strength). Any strength without an emotion to drive it is impotent and limp. Courage, caution, independence, and imagination (to choose one strength from each temperament) are simply words or names — not even preferences — without an emotion of some sort giving them energy. A preference only develops if we use a strength. And we can only use a strength when emotion drives it. Emotion is a force within our temperament. When we properly use the emotion from one of our temperament’s strengths, we employ a force within us that can help us achieve in extraordinary ways.
Emotion’s Power Is the Force Within You
Can you imagine courage without any emotional drive? I can’t. Courage is an image of teeth gritted, muscles tensed, and a will as hard as steel, advancing, without distraction, into the jaws of danger. Emotion pervades every sensory cell in the SP strength of courage. It should be so with every strength.
The power of emotion makes our strengths all the more potent. And the more emotion we inject into the use of our strengths, the more powerful they become.
Others May Misidentify the Force Within You
As a boy, Willy was passionate. He worried his parents, who thought they were seeing in their son a loss of control, when in fact, it was passion. They were witnessing the strength of an NF as it filled their son’s mind to a point that called into use every fiber of his being in order to maximize the passion. To Willy, it was a meaningful rush of adrenaline that transformed him. He felt real and alive and wanted to sense repeatedly the thrill of his powerful emotions. To his dad, however, he seemed to be trying to “burst his boiler,” as his dad recalled.
Children will often try to experience the ultimate limit of their emotions. Adults, on the other hand, avoid the upper limits of emotional expression, calling them dangerous. Adults have learned to calm their emotions in the interests of controlling them (a false concept). It’s dangerous to climb a tree if you don’t know how to hang on or you don’t know how to come down again. With the same sensation, adults often shy clear of emotional limits for a lack of confidently negotiating their emotion’s possibilities. Social pressures are not the least of these influences on adults.
BUT, Emotion IS the Force Within that We Must Master
The strengths of each of the temperaments are waiting for us to mobilize them and confidently steer them into their stratospheres. The emotional content in your strengths will determine their potency and lessen their potential unless we become masters of the art of being intelligently emotional.
All our strengths can be powered by helpful or unhelpful emotions to achieve any purpose. We stand at the controls with our hands on the wheel of choice, masters of whatever destiny we choose. The emotions we welcome will increase or limit our strengths. Weakening is a result of poor emotional management that we don’t think about. Choosing the right emotion is not easy. So we will discuss ways of making correct emotional choices in a later article.
Unhelpful Emotions Create a Negative Force Within
James dreaded his cautiousness (which as an SJ, was his strength). Time after time his hesitancy had lost him profitable opportunities in business. He felt he was a procrastinator because of it. He sensed that he was cursed by this strength. Not true! When the wrong emotion is steering the use of our strengths, we often jump to this kind of negative judgment. The emotions of fear and dread that followed every failure for James had weakened his belief in the beneficial use of his caution. It had done so to the point where it increased his timidity and lowered his self-confidence. Now he was avoiding its use.
The emotion of fear can dismantle any strength. “Let’s deal with the fear and the misunderstanding that is causing the misuse of your strength,” I suggested. And it worked. He became more confident and bold after a few prescribed exercises. Because he was an SJ, his boldness never matched the impulsive daring of the SP. However, he did not want to be daring — only courageous and patient enough to keep his belief in the value of being cautious. Yet at the same time, he wanted to be free to make sudden decisions when enough facts lined up and the risk factor was within his comfort level. A negative view (fear) of any of our strengths will hamper our success.
Awareness of Emotion Is the Key
When an emotion that drives our strengths causes us to either misuse or overuse it (both damaging), we must abandon it for a positive emotion. I find most people wake up to the fact that they have changed and hurt their image only after the fact, instead of being aware of their emotions when they begin their damaging work. The biggest initial problem in most of us is emotional awareness. No other inner force so successfully takes us by surprise and dominates us like our emotions do.
Success Comes from Using the Tools of Intelligent Emotions
With children in particular, teaching them to abandon a damaging feeling is a matter of teaching them how to use the tools of intelligent emotions. Emotional skills are best learned in the positive use of our strengths. When learned in those formative years, adulthood blossoms early with potential.
Anita’s temperament was SJ. She soon realized that her desire to please by being reliable and trustworthy was an excellent tool to manipulate her mom. She would offer to help and then demand a cookie or some other tasty treat. The emotion behind this behavior was, of course, the desire for personal satisfaction. The character she was building was not praiseworthy. And it would besiege her as an adult. A desire to help others must be built on the emotion to be of service. This is what she needed to learn. She could learn this by learning to leave the reward to others and by not demanding a reward.
Our Interests and Fascinations Come from the Emotional Drives of Temperament
Our interest or fascination with something comes from the emotional drives that form our temperament. Golf fascinated me for years. But now, the drive that it satisfied is satisfied in another way. It is the emotional drive in our temperament and its empowering desire that is the real motivating force, not the activity or interest.
The way to emotional intelligence is first by the pathway of self-understanding — understanding how we are designed to reach our potential via the right use of our emotions and discovering how we should use our strengths. Temperament is not some static quality that guides us. It is charged with emotions that either make it the most potent power for good or the worst destructive force for our personal demolition.
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.
Lean into the whole truth. Discover the truth of who YOU are — the “Real You” — and who your children truly are. Discover how to best engage your children in finding the whole truth. INNERKINETICS, Your Blueprint to Excellence and Happiness, is a great resource.
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