Which One Are You, The Puppet, or The Puppeteer?

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Image source: /madame.lefigaro.fr/sites/default

BY: SIMONE JENNIFER SMITH 

How are you enjoying your summer TORONTO!

What a summer it has been; I never realized how busy Toronto can get, and it is only half way through the summer. For those who have followed my writing over the past two to three years, I am sure that you have noticed a trend. My focus and aim is to help individuals in the community work through their personal issues in the hopes that they can start living meaningful lives. I have received mixed feedback on my articles, but for the most part, I believe that I am serving my purpose.

So, what am I going to speak of today? Hmmmmmm! There is something that I have noted in my own relationships and in other relationships; people’s inability to self-monitor. Self-monitoring includes being able to understand others emotions and regulating one’s emotions, and being able to modify self-presentation in response to the understanding of others feelings. The experts on this topic would also call this emotional intelligence, but for the purpose of this article, I am going to stick with the heading, self-monitoring.

What I have noticed in my past relationships is that I had the habit of only noticing the parts of the relationship that were uncomfortable; uncomfortable in the sense that it revolved around negative emotions, mostly mine. My emotions always took me to the place of being a victim, not realizing that this victimization was causing harm to not only me but to my relationships. Now, this happened not only with men but with women as well. It took a few broken relationships for me to start innerstanding that I was the common denominator. This is the one problem that many of us have; we are so used to projecting outwards, and we never take the time to realize that we just might be the main problem in our lives. It was only when I really began to do some self-work that I was able to move into more productive relationships. I still have my moments, but for the most part, I am better and dealing with my emotions. I had learned a key element that would take me to that next level; emotional intelligence.

Let us do a quick review of what emotional intelligence is; emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, understand, regulate and harness emotions adaptively in oneself and others. It is a skill that when mastered, gives you the power to navigate through life effectively, and with less heartache. It also gives you the power over self, and over others if used properly. So, let’s go with an example; you are sitting at work, minding your own business when you receive an email from your boss, who just happens to be in a bad mood that day. In the email, your boss is extremely disrespectful, condescending and plain rude. For those who are of Caribbean descent, your first thought is, “Who di ass is this gyal/bwoy talking to?” You want to cuss her or him and you go to write that reply email. What are you doing right now? Reacting, and this is where many of us get into trouble.

Emotional intelligence allows you to not only take in your emotions but the emotions of the other person. The first step is to check yours, and this is hard. You have to realize that the power is in your non-reaction. The moment you react, you are drawn into that persons foolishness, and now they have control. I always tell my students, no one can make you mad; if they do, you are the puppet, and they are the puppeteers. We all have a choice in the roles we want to play. This week, I want you to be aware of this and think before you react. Are you in control, or is someone in control of you?

Bye for now!

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