Are Emotions Our Enemies?

From an early age we are taught that emotions are inappropriate, embarrassing, something to be hidden.

  • “Boys don’t cry.”
  • “Anger isn’t ladylike.”
  • “Don’t be sad.”

To show great emotion is a kind of failure—a character flaw, even, as if your big emotions somehow make you not as strong as you should be. To be called “emotional” is an insult.

On the other hand, to be called “an intellectual” is a compliment. We are taught that intellect is king—that a human’s greatest asset is his or her ability to think rationally and logically.

We are told that there is nothing more important than doing well in school, and so, we grind away at homework—acquiring knowledge, learning how to think, and trying to improve our intellectual ability.

We are told that our emotions will prevent us from thinking clearly—that they should not be allowed to distract us from the task at hand.

And so, we learn to ignore them, stuff them, and pretend not to notice them.

We feel ashamed, then, when they catch us off guard.

Why can we find so many who have mastered great intellectual challenges but nonetheless cannot find happiness?

Here is the truth...

Traditional intelligence (IQ) without emotional intelligence (EQ) is a recipe for unhappiness.

In fact, if happiness is what you’re seeking, EQ is more important than IQ.

Your children cannot reach their full human potential if they do not become fluent in the language of their emotions. Their emotions have important messages for them.

When they learn to decipher those messages and understand the interplay between their emotions, their thoughts, and their behavior, they will have the kind of intelligence that will unlock their true potential.

There are skills any child can learn to build emotional intelligence and resilience. Most kids don’t even know these skills exist, nor do they realize how much these skills can help them not only overcome obstacles but also thrive in everyday life.

It’s time for these skills to be part of mainstream consciousness: Self-awareness and self-confidence should not be reserved for a certain few. Every child deserves the tools to be the best version of themselves every day of their lives.  

We believe that happiness should be one of the rewards of education. We believe we are doing our children a disservice when we glorify intellect and denigrate emotions.

Our goal with Resilience for Classrooms is to close the gap between what children learn in school, and what they should learn in school: Emotional intelligence, resilience, self-awareness, and how to be happy.

Visit and learn more about our initiative to bring resilience skills into the classroom, and receive a free copy of Conversation Starters in the Classroom. 

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