Our Emotional Intelligence: purpose and tasks of emotions

Carlos Durana Ph.D., M.Ac. offers counseling and therapy in Reston, Virginia and Bethesda, Maryland.

Our emotional life is the foundation of our interpersonal intelligence, our capacity to relate to others in creative and fulfilling ways. As a form of intuitive knowledge, our emotions play a vital role in communication, fulfillment of needs, intimacy and reasoning. They are a part of our sense of identity and coping strategies which are essential for our adaptation to life. Emotions carry energy and information with the power to heal and protect us.

Learning the role our emotions play in our health, our growth and the healing of unresolved emotional events, enhances our ability to protect ourselves in healthy ways, to be open and confident.

We often view emotions in terms of good and bad emotions: joy and forgiveness are good, fear or anger is not, etc. Yet all our emotions contain information, each with its own character, energy and purpose. Emotions can be seen as energies that protect and strengthen our body. If we honor our emotions, we can use them as an avenue to our growth. Each one of our emotions can be seen as embodying a purpose and fulfilling a task. Problem arise from “clinging” to our emotions, from lacking natural adaptive emotional movement, and from projecting the source of our emotions onto others, for example, not acknowledging our anger and projecting it onto others, or seeing the source of joy and love as existing in others rather than in ourselves; all of these patterns cause problems which bring people into counseling or couples counseling.

Let’s look at a few key emotions. Healthy anger or assentation promotes action in being ourselves and discernment; it removes obstacles to growth and protects us by alerting us to violations of our boundaries. Anger helps restore our boundaries once a violation has occurred and affirms our needs and views. Derivatives of anger such as jealousy, disgust, fury, rage and hatred emanate from the lack of healthy (non-clinging) movement of the natural energy carried by anger/assertion.

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