Embracing Choice

My favorite word in the English language is ‘choice’.  We get to choose who we want to be every day. I am grateful to have a brain that has the capacity for growth and change.  Although I am grateful, I know I want more.

How do we go from who we are today to whom we really want to be? What obstacles have we placed in front of ourselves that prevent us from reaching our full potential?  Most often it comes from a four-letter word, fear.

Too often people are afraid to leave their comfort zone to try new things.  We are consumed with worry about what others think of us. I often tell my clients, please don’t look to the left of you or to the right of you but look inside of yourself.  What do YOU want?  Who do YOU want to be? There is no point trying to be someone else.  It’s impossible since you are you and they are they.

Emotional intelligence boils down to understanding your emotions and those of others.  Your ability to monitor your own emotions helps you to discriminate among them and use them to guide your thinking and your actions.

Those who possess higher emotional intelligence are known to have higher academic and occupational success.  You might be thinking, “you have to be born with emotional intelligence”, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Each of us have the capacity to gain emotional intelligence.  We do not die with the brain we are born with.  We have the capacity to let our brains grow.  It is a matter of learning how.  How do I become more emotionally intelligent?

One should start by identifying their negative emotions. Do you have anger, frustration, a sense of low self-esteem? We must dig a bit deeper to be honest with ourselves.  Don’t be afraid to admit this to yourself.  Honestly, most people experience some level of these emotions. The most important part of your growth is to evaluate what you are experiencing and replace it with an emotion that serves you better.

Our subconscious will react first to stimulation. The physiological experience is known as a bottoms-up experience. What I mean by this is that we ‘feel’ our emotion before we are even aware of it. If you were to close your eyes and stimulate anger, recognize where the anger displays itself in your body.  Do you feel it in your neck? Your stomach? Your shoulders?

Using reflective abstraction helps us identify how the emotion feels in our bodies.  Once we recognize this feeling, we can then ask ourselves, what is the cause of the feeling? What enhances or diminishes these feelings? In other words, once you are aware of your feeling, what can you actively do to control this feeling?

We know that if you don’t regulate these negative emotions, your unconscious responses will get the better of you and take over your conscious life. Negativity draws you into a narrowing downward spiral.  You can end up feeling scared when you can otherwise be brave.

To begin the process, you need to incorporate strategies to regulate your negative emotions.  By doing this you begin your journey into emotional intelligence.

The catch word today is mindfulness.  Although it feels like it is an overused word it is the key to one’s success to change.  Being mindful of your emotions leads you to reflective abstraction, which leads you to increased awareness of your inner self.  You can then take responsibility to change the consequences of your emotions.

Separating your emotions from who you are, as well as the situation, allows you to enhance the strength of your core beliefs and align them with your goals.  Keeping your emotions separate means that you won’t feel sensitivity when others might say something that challenges your values.  It takes effort for you to form your values.  The strength lies in you holding on to these values and not letting your emotions make you question them or your goals.

There are four steps one should use to embolden themselves.  The first step is modification of the situation.  You can tailor the situation to modify its emotional impact on you.  This requires a plan of action so that you are prepared in advance of a trigger that you know has resulted in you getting emotionally upset in the past.

Next you can use the method of deployment of attention. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, you should focus on your achievements.

Make a conscious decision to choose to change the cognition of the emotion.  Reframe the meaning that you have attached to whatever it is that bothers you.  It gives you ownership over the emotion and this gives you inner strength.

Lastly, you can modulate your response.  Rather than choose to suppress your emotion, face it straight on and deal with it.  Reappraise your emotion to your benefit and watch as your self-confidence increases with your mastery over your control of your emotions.

Debbie Ginsberg is the Founder of OrganizeU4Life.  She is a Professional Organizer and Neuro Change Practitioner and teaches people how to reach their full potential.  She can be reached at Info@OrganizeU4Life.com.  Her website is www.OrganizeU4Life.com.

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