Learning sometime

This week I wrote the keys for the students to correct their classwork about teaching children emotional intelligence.  Unlike intellectual intelligence, the studies show that emotional intelligence is learned.  I have permission from the teacher to share links and other information about how to teach children how to recognize, name, and work with their emotions.  I will take those lessons and point out how adults can learn the same information.  I better understand that 3 year-olds knew more than I did about emotions.  I think this is why I enjoy being around small children.  If they are upset with the world everyone knows it. It is also why my counselor was challenged to try to teach me.  My trauma started at such a young age that I didn’t learn the basic principles about living with my emotions.  I also feel encouraged.  If PTSD is a learned behavior, then I can unlearn it and replace it with new ways of coping.  Emotions are felt but what I do with them is a learned behavior.  I learned to be afraid of my emotions.  I learned that emotions were bad or a way to manipulate people.  I learned that my emotions were unacceptable.  My counselor was amused by my complete absorption learning about each new emotion.  The first emotion that I felt integrated without dissociation was boredom.  In all my 50 years I never felt bored.  If feelings of boredom dared to enter my childish heart, I was informed that only stupid people were bored and given more work to do, usually something like cleaning the toilets.  Let me tell you, being faced with cleaning toilets I would make sure I never felt bored.  Now, I can feel bored.  I noticed that there is a difference from feeling bored and feeling peaceful.  Bored feelings come from my desire to be doing something I am interested in doing.  I can get bored easily.  However, now that I accept that I feel the emotion.  Recognize that I won’t be punished for being bored.  It doesn’t hold my interest for long.  Now when I feel bored, I recognize it as a signal that I need a change of activity.  Or I need to evaluate if what I am doing actually needs to be done.  When it comes to emotions, we all have to learn how to deal with them sometime.  Unfortunately, painful emotions are difficult to feel so various numbing agents are used everything from dissociation to addictions, entertainment to mindless solitaire games, anything to stop the painful feelings.  Denial of ‘if I don’t feel an emotion then it isn’t there.’  Denial work for a time but eventual emotions get your attention one way or another through being sick, emotional melt downs, or some other way.  Emotions want their day on the stage of life.  What I do with them, I can learn.

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