Emotional intelligence and emotional literacy
These people know both their virtues and shortcomings very well, they are a great judge of character, they are capable of saying “no”, empathetic, versatile, they can describe their emotions, they understand them and don’t suppress them. These people are referred to as emotionally literate people, people who know who and what affects them in a positive or a negative way, people who are capable of managing their abilities well and preventing their shortcomings from impeding achievement of their goals, people who can relate to others and their needs…
-Emotional intelligence is the ability to follow both our own and other people’s emotions – psychiatrist and psychotherapist Anđelka Kolarević explains. – A lot of people can’t identify their emotions, nor can they soothe them, so they suppress, displace or deny them in order not to experience them. This is most commonly done by psychosomatics, but by other people as well. No person is unemotional, though someone might have made the decision not to experience emotions, prohibited himself from experiencing emotions. There is a misconception that schizophrenics have a lack of emotions towards themselves or others. They have only placed their emotions somewhere deep inside them, hid them and covered them with their minds. Emotional intelligence is the ability to control the mind and reason. It is the only way of controlling ourselves.
-Everyone is emotionally intelligent, but not everyone is emotionally literate”, Anđelka Kolarević explains and says that there are people who never learn how to identify emotions and acknowledge their importance (often not knowing that this skill can be developed), so they stay emotionally illiterate throughout their whole lives.
-The problem is that sometimes people are not certain about their feelings, their emotions get mixed up, so they go back to those they were taught to since childhood, those they were allowed to show as children or those that would get them something; whether that be sadness, guilt, anger… Those emotions are not authentic. An emotionally literate person knows which ones are his authentic emotions, they feel and evaluate them well.
We sometimes say for some people that they are emotionally reserved and simply – that’s how they are. Why do they hide their emotions and are they actually “cold-hearted” – our interviewee explains.
-They put up “a prohibition against feelings” and go through life by appearing strong, as if they had a guide who is constantly telling them that they have to be strong. Those kind of people seem reasonable, cool, stable and strong, but actually they are vulnerable and sensitive, just like everyone else. Being their partner is difficult because it is necessary to open them up constantly, like cans.
Emotionally literate people are empathetic and sensitive to others, they understand how others feel in different situations. This is sort of a connection between the mind and emotions and when it comes to emotional intelligence emotion is subservient to the mind.
-We are responsible for the way in which we manifest our emotions. We need to be in touch with them, not get scared by sorrow or anger… Emotions are corporeal and this is important to know. Body acts differently when it is happy, scared and when we are in love…
In order to contemplate and reexamine themselves, people usually need to confront some serious issues, such as not having solid partnerships, friendly relations or business communication over a longer period of time.
-Prohibition against feelings is a message sent by parents to their children, starting from the earliest age, by saying: “don’t cry”, “behave”, “don’t move”, and these are used for restraining a child’s emotions. From this, the child draws the conclusion that, when it behaves in a way that disturbs its parents, it doesn’t exist, and needs to stay cool and quiet. However, parents keep forgetting one highly important fact – a child can do without anything except for parental love. Such child decides and draws the conclusion that it will be loved only if it restrains from displaying its emotions. Its inner child is conflicted and believes that it will be discarded if it displays emotions, which is nonsense, but this belief is intense. This type of person becomes upset when showing emotions, then they drown the unease whose origin they do not understand, in sports activities, alcohol… It all depends on the personality.
Anđelka Kolarević says that a person can do a lot when it comes to emotional literacy by reading certain literature, and one of the books that she recommends is: ”Educating the heart”, in which emotional intelligence is explained well and where numerous examples and exercises are given.
Intuition is the emotion that we acquire as a result of a thought process. Many people are afraid of their intuition, and Anđelka Kolarević explains that this is due to not being clear on how this feeling comes to be, and the fact that many perceive it as magic or some supernatural force.
-Transactional analysis has explained the origin of emotions, saying that the most intense part of us lies in the free child inside of us, which we suppress with various beliefs and prohibitions throughout life. There are no over-emotional or overly reserved people. We ourselves are responsible for the way in which we manifest emotions. Everything too excessive is wrong, so those who display their emotions in a theatrical way have a problem with impulsiveness and that is a part of their character, but it might even be a part of some psychopathology.
Everything that is overemphasized is, in a way, suspicious as well. People who are more reserved possess a character that is built by defending and adapting. They feel better when they are reserved. They mostly lead meager lives, but they will never be anxious. Those who talk more than they show are usually obsessive people.
An emotionally literate and intelligent person is empathetic, views the world in a more optimistic way and tolerates stress by having the ability to foresee their own emotions related to different events. They are less sensitive, analyze problems using logic and are capable of accepting responsibility, as well as realizing and forgetting their own and other people’s mistakes and moving forward, emotionally independent of others.
Modern age man is increasingly antisocial and distant from people who are the closest to him. Anđelka Kolarević says that, as a psychiatrist, she is concerned about all that is happening.
-A man has three types of needs they need to satisfy: existential, being connected to others and having constant growth and development. I am afraid that existential needs are constantly present. We always come back to them, trying to settle down and acquire a house over and over again, especially here in the Balkans. People forgot how to laugh, they connect with others only a little, as well as with themselves and their loved ones. We have given up reciprocity, exchange, understanding, we do not possess the solidarity we once did, when neighbors would exchange cakes and children would have lunch at the next door neighbor’s. A person continues to grow even after those needs are satisfied. Much needed energy is misspent in this fight for existence. Good news is that those existential needs are not infinite.
Photo: Milan Medić