This layer is really about being aware of our emotions and what our emotions are trying to tell us. Think of emotions as the unconscious part of you (or your child) that holds memory, tries to keep you safe, thinks outside of the box, and can foresee challenges that may not be obvious.

Being aware of our emotions and then understanding what they are trying to tell us is the key to developing good relationships with our children. Remember when they told us EQ was more important than IQ in the 1990s? Keep in mind that it will be hard for our children to be any good at EQ if we aren’t modeling good EQ for them to experience and emulate!

From Overwhelmed to Surviving, from Surviving to Thriving

If you easily get triggered (are overreacting to things), you may want to check if you are suffering from CEN (Childhood Emotional Neglect) or CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Any culture that is traditional hierarchical or have strict social expectations will have impact on how people judge themselves and others. If you find everything highly stimulating and you often feel overwhelmed, you may be an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). Consider using a therapist to work through some of those issues, so that you won’t be passing on intergenerational trauma. After working through unconscious or past traumas to heal, it can be helpful to learn more about the science behind happiness: Positive Intelligence, Learning to Forgive, and Positive Psychology.

For many of us working parents, we are dealing with high levels of stress at work and then returning home to our second full-time job of parenting our kids. The stress from one side of our lives may wreak havoc on the other side and vice versa. Unconscious triggers developed from our coping mechanisms in dealing with our childhood are no longer useful when dealing with stresses coming at us from all directions as adults.

This layer is all about being mindful of our emotions and what those emotions are trying to tell us. EQ does not mean always being positive. To set a goal of always having positive emotions is not healthy and may lead to repression of emotions. We all know that repression only leads to eruptions in the future.

A few things that no one really tells you… 1) marriage is hard, 2) being a parent is ridiculously difficult and it’s hard to get enough sleep for years, 3) kids never really behave – unsure why we even have expectations that they will, 4) there is a U-shaped chart where our most unhappy years hit us in our late 40s, 5) perimenopause takes a long time and causes all sorts of health problems both physical and mental, and 6) life never, ever, ever turns out the way you plan it. So thriving doesn’t mean that we are happy all the time or that we achieve every goal we articulate, but rather, we accept what we cannot control and control the controllable.

Thriving means we try not to add a layer of extra suffering on top of normal life challenges. Instead, we focus our attention on what we can learn, develop, and change.

EMOTIONSBe Mindful of EmotionsLearn from Our Emotions
OverwhelmedBe aware of emotions without judgmentRest and reset after emotional outbursts
SurvivingAssess gap between reality and expectationsInterpret emotions as symptoms
ThrivingAccept what cannot be controlledControl the controllable