Are you one of the many who are obsessed with their physical appearance?

If your answer is yes, you are not alone. A lot of people are very much concerned about their outward appearance, sparing no effort and devoting time, talent and treasure to ensure that they look good. There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself, being healthy and physically fit. However, how many of us pay close attention to our emotional fitness? Are you in touch and in control of your emotions? Have you taken the time to hone your emotional fitness? Do you have emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. As children our parents were hands on – helping and guiding us to develop physical strength and agility by giving us the freedom to explore our surroundings. However, most of us were not given the freedom to exercise our emotional muscles: to explore and express a full range of feelings and emotions. Many of us have been brought up to keep our feelings and emotions in check and not let them loose. Being outspoken, showing anger, or laughing out loud, among other emotions, was not considered proper behaviour.

Many individuals who grew up in environments where they were not encouraged to express their feelings and emotions are often unable to freely express them in adulthood, with this upbringing conditioning them to bury their feelings. This sort of upbringing has the debilitating effect of making it hard to build and maintain relationships, which usually require emotional openness, honesty and vulnerability. Those who were raised to flex their emotional muscles and be in touch with their feelings often have the ability to express emotions freely, appropriately and without embarrassment. People who have this ability are considered to be emotionally intelligent. 

Just like our physical muscles, emotional muscles can either be underdeveloped or overdeveloped. These distortions or imbalances may cause physical and/or emotional fatigue, pain and inflexibility. It is possible that your “anger muscle” is overdeveloped, while your “happiness muscle” is underdeveloped. This means that you may easily get irritated or angry, and have difficulty expressing joy and happiness. To be emotionally fit, awareness of one’s feelings is very important, as well as finding healthy ways to express these feelings on a daily basis, or when the situation calls for it.

At the 2019 Pride Women Conference Mrs Chioma Okoye, a Certified Leadership Coach, will be speaking on emotional intelligence, providing tips and strategies to help build our emotional fitness and optimise our personal and professional lives.

Please visit www.prideconference.org to register for the 2019 Pride Women Conference taking place on Friday May 24, 2019 at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island Lagos.

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