This article introduces the topic and curriculum. The study guide recommends a path through the curriculum.
Emotions are colorful, dramatic, fascinating, and essential dimensions of every person’s experience. These primitive mechanisms send a constant stream of powerful signals that can guide us along the difficult path of survival, or quickly send us off on destructive and painful tangents. How well do you understand these essential and universal signals? Many believe that living life to its fullest requires experiencing and enjoying the full range of human emotions. Yet so many of us are uncomfortable with emotions; we don’t recognize what they are, what they are telling us, how they can be helpful, or the choices we have in how to respond to them. Many of us were taught to ignore, suppress, diminish, or deny our own subtle feelings and vivid passions. Do you know how you feel? What emotions can you recognize and describe? We may have mistakenly learned to overreact to various negative emotions while suppressing positive ones. Unfortunately some of us are prisoners of anger, hate, guilt, sadness, fear, anxiety, shame, humiliation, envy, pain, and violence without understanding what has consumed so much of our lives. Others endure a lonely and sterile existence without experiencing genuine feelings or passionate emotions.
But passion has logic. Emotions obey their own peculiar rules that we can study, understand, listen to, learn from, master, and even enjoy. How well can you interpret what your emotions are telling you? The purpose of these web pages is to help you recognize, interpret, learn from, and make constructive decisions based on the information emotions provide. Constructive and authentic human interactions become possible. Listen carefully to what your emotions are telling you. Don’t ignore them, deny them, or try to drown them out. Sharing these web pages with the difficult people in your life can increase your common understanding and improve your relationships; perhaps even with your nemesis.
How successfully do you respond to emotions in yourself and others? Improving your emotional competency can provide important benefits throughout many aspects of your life. It can increase the satisfaction you have with relationships while it increases your gratification and contentment with the many simple events in your life. It can give you greater insight and help you better understand the motives and actions of yourself and others. You can free yourself from anger, hate, resentment, vengeance, and other destructive emotions that cause hurt and pain. This will reduce much of the stress in your life. You can feel relief and enjoy greater peace-of-mind, autonomy, intimacy, dignity, passion, and wisdom as you engage more deeply with others. Increasing your tolerance and compassion can lead to an authentic optimism and a well-founded confidence, based on your better understanding and interpretation of what-is.
Passion + Reason = Constructive Action. This is the essence of emotional competency.
As your emotional competency increases, you may experience a variety of positive transformations in your life. Destructive behavior patterns of the past may transform into more constructive behavior as you begin to solve the mysterious puzzle of human interactions and gain a quiet and confident understanding of them. Anxiety may yield to more peaceful, tranquil, and contented feelings as your understanding increases. You may become less isolated as you learn candor and become more engaged with others you now enjoy relating to. You may feel more confident and powerful, and less confused, frustrated, and powerless. Overall you can transform from confused to confident; from clueless to comprehending and enlightened, from fragmented to coherent, from shallow to deep, from cold to passionate, and from oppressed to liberated as you become your authentic self.
A study guide provides a guided tour through the elements of this curriculum.
We hope this information helps increase your emotional competency, enhances your life experience, and contributes to your humanity
Students interested in learning more about emotional competency may be interested in the following materials:
- Lazarus, Richard S.; Lazarus, Bernice N. Passion and Reason: Making Sense of Our Emotions. Oxford University Press. p. 336. ISBN 978-0195104615.
- Goleman, Daniel (September 27, 2005). Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Bantam Books. p. 384. ISBN 978-0553383713.
- Ekman, Paul (March 20, 2007). Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life. Holt Paperbacks. p. 320. ISBN 978-0805083392.
- Dalai Lama; Ekman, Paul (March 31, 2009). Emotional Awareness: Overcoming the Obstacles to Psychological Balance and Compassion. Holt Paperbacks. p. 288. ISBN 978-0805090215.
- Ortony, Andrew; Clore, Gerald L.; Collins, Allan (May 25, 1990). The Cognitive Structure of Emotions. Cambridge University Press. p. 226. ISBN 978-0521386647.
- Ledoux, Joseph E. (March 27, 1998). The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life. Simon & Schuster. p. 384. ISBN 978-0684836591.
- Goleman, Daniel (March 30, 2004). Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama. p. 448. ISBN 978-0553381054.
- Robinson, Michael D.; Watkins, Edward R.; Harmon-Jones, Eddie (March 29, 2013). Handbook of Cognition and Emotion. The Guilford Press. p. 594. ISBN 978-1462509997.
- This material is adapted from the EmotionalCompetency.com website with permission from the author.