Emotion Regulation 1.0: Wisdom


Let’s face it. You want to be more emotionally mature, so that you can contribute more positively to your family system, but those damn emotions can be so hard to get on top of sometimes. This next series will present practical ways that you can manage your emotions so that you can be more in control of your contributions in your relationships.

Becoming aware of our emotions is the first step to being in charge of them, so that’s where we’ll begin: awareness, consciousness. Much of what drives us is hidden beneath the surface in our unconscious world, and it takes intentional effort to see into the recesses of our own minds, the inner sanctum of our souls.

All of this effort is meant to increase our wisdom, to help us tap into resources that are there, waiting to be utilized, operationalized, if we only slow down and pay attention.

Two Guidance Systems

Human beings have two guidance systems–intellect or cognition, and emotion or feelings–that govern our behavior. Most of the time, our emotions are in charge and we don’t even realize it. Our emotions can even lead us to hide behind our intellect–a mental trick that is particularly difficult to sniff out. But sniff it out we will try to do, in the effort to become wise, not just (seemingly) rational.

All of the skills we’ll look at in this series are designed to support that marriage of intellect and emotion we call wisdom. To be wise requires that we allow these two guidance systems to work in tandem–sometimes listening more to our emotions, and sometimes more to our intellect. The trick is to be more fully aware of both so that we can make conscious choices about what percentage of each is best for any particular situation.

Love and Logic

For example, choosing a partner–a fitting puzzle piece–with whom I can share life–is one of the most important decisions I can make. It requires that I be mindful, thoughtful, consciously aware of who I am so that I can understand what kind of person would (or would not!) be a good fit with the puzzle piece that I am.

But the process of falling in love is hardly an intellectual one, and I want to be with someone who can sweep me off my feet, someone who can reach into my soul, not just into my mind, someone who can ignite my emotional world so powerfully that I can’t help but be overcome with reckless abandon.

Star Trek to the Rescue

Combining the two forces of intellect and emotion is Spock-esque. In order to make wise decisions, Mr. Spock seeks out both Dr. McCoy (heart/feelings) and Captain Kirk (head/rationality). Upon hearing both, Spock makes choices that honor their unique and critical contributions.

This approach requires us to slow down, and in our instant culture, pacing ourselves can seem unnatural and tedious. But if we can delay our gratification for a bit, the reward on the other side just might leave us dancing like no one’s watching.

Stay tuned….




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