I was tempted to, I need to admit! I mean I’ve been hearing about it from when I was working as an IT project manager, my last position before experiencing an existential crisis and deciding, not without completely freaking out to quit everything and start the biggest & most rewarding investment of my life: investing in myself, my growth after admitting, in a moment of truth, how much I was sucking!
I won’t lie to you guys! My primary goal from this self-development journey was extremely selfish: recovering from my Perfectionism Syndrome (which is a combination of a “pleaser and an “achiever” leaving the person with no psychological air). By the way, people with whom I’ve had the honor to discuss a bit my journey know how much I’m currently allergic to the word “perfect”!
It took me a while and progressively developing my critical thinking before I could be able to recognize the content which is truly helping me grow (not only numb the root causes of being stuck through self-compassion ‘exclusively’). What I mean here is that we could so easily get trapped into those motivational gurus tips or affirmations to develop a positive “attitude”? Yes, it could work for a while. It worked for me. I used to have post-its everywhere in my place. I was reading them on a daily basis and trying to trick my subconscious program. It worked so “perfectly” I became so relaxed, compassionate, generous, eloquent, loving, healthy — all that I could ever wish for myself to make it short — until an incident (or maybe 2 in parallel) happened and destroyed my fragile balance…
Luckily, my family was very supportive and respected without asking (since I wouldn’t have been able to provide any coherent answer to any question at that time) my decision to commit to the real journey of literally re-inventing myself!
I am so grateful to a friend of mine who recommended a life-changing book: The 7 Habits Of The Most Effective People by Dr. Stephen R.Covey. This was the beginning of understanding how much my lens of myself and the world was distorted, how much limiting beliefs I was carrying, how much hard work I had to do so that I could destroy my conditioning constructs. I figured out how much I was ego-driven, how much I had no clue about who I was, and most importantly that my perfectionism was nothing else but a shield against my profound shame of never feeling “enough”.
You might be tempted to ask “Why are we building shields or why are we feeling this shame at all?” Well, as their name is stating, shields are being built to protect us. From what? Our insecurities. There are multiple & numerous shields and we can develop and use a couple of them depending on the circumstances and/or people we are dealing with. We can distinguish two kinds of shields: those hurting us such as being a pleaser, an achiever, all types of addictions to things and to people; withdrawing, keeping secrets, hiding, etc; and those causing harm to others, that is aggressiveness, using power to intimidate others, free cruelty, narcissism, etc.
Now, the reason why we are feeling a profound shame is simply that we were all unconsciously raised not to fully love ourselves; we were criticized by everybody around us and mainly by our family at an early age instead of being elevated, we were asked to prove our worth on a daily basis.
Ironically, parents have been asking us to be polite and behave decently while all that they are doing at home is to mistreat and tease each other to tears, to be disrespectful to the level of calling each other horrible names. This could be extremely confusing for the kids.
The problem is that the parents are looking for behaviors, emotions, and thinking patterns that their children have never seen modeled.
~ Brené Brown
What is even more ironic is that those same parents are shocked when discovering their kids are bullies at school, and that they could even be the cause of another kid committing suicide.
School bullies are more likely to become cruel adults constantly putting others down and being really mean — even through toxic humor different kinds among which sarcasm is the most subtle one so that they could unconsciously feel better than the person or community being dispraised. Yes, our ego is so fan of giving us such an illusion…
You could here feel lost and ask yourself: “Where is this going Myriam? Don’t get me wrong, but I’m honestly not getting your point! How the hell is all of this relevant in relation to the Emotional Intelligence at all? This was the topic of your article, remember?”
I hear you guys; that’s absolutely legitimate! Here is the deal: It’s all about destroying those shame shields and reviewing our distorted lens, or shall we say the “social” lens; and here we will need to separate two things:
- Challenging the status quo and engaging in life by our rules. This, itself, is helping us develop our critical thinking and reach a ‘certain’ level of self-love and freedom. This implicitly means this kind of self-awareness is limited and will only deal with our intellectual, logical, verbal left part of our brain. We would still have distorted Center (s). A brief definition of a Center is:
The foundation of the 4 life-support factors: Security, Direction, Judgement, and Power.
- Diagnosing our patterns and limiting beliefs in relation to the “Universal Correct Principles”. What is such a process really doing? Providing us with access to our creative, emotional right brain in addition to the left one. A simple example of this could be analysing homophobia. If I am homophobic, am I violating any universal correct principle? The answer is “Yes”. I am violating human dignity. I am violating the free will — if we consider there is a choice at all (gay animals do exist). I am violating fairness (we all know gay people are being discriminated against across the globe). So, I am not only violating 1 or 2 but 3 big universal correct principles! What is such a diagnosis implying? Tapping into our emotional brain part and triggering conscious shame and compassion for the gay community. It is also giving birth to writing a new algorithm in our subconscious program replacing the old f*cked up one.
One of the very practical results of being principle-centered is that it makes us whole — truly integrared. People who are scripted deeply in logical, verbal, left-brain thinking will discover how totally inadequate that thinking is in solving problems which require a great deal of creativity. They become aware and begin to open up a script inside their right brain. It’s not that the right brain wasn’t there; it just lay dormant. The muscles have not been developed, or perhaps they had atrophied after early childhood because of the heavy left-brain emphasis of formal education or social scripting. When a person has access to both the intuitive, creative, and visual right brain, and the analytical, logical, verbal left brain, then the whole brain is working. In other words, there is psychic synergy taking place in our own head, and this tool is best suited to the reality of what life is, because life is not just logical — it is also emotional.
~ Dr. Stephen R. Covey
Yes, guys, I know! You’re getting impatient and are eagerly waiting for getting to the Emotional Intelligence part! You didn’t pay for that! Oh, hold on… you didn’t pay anything anyway! I guess I started imagining myself being on a TEDx stage!