Generally Speaking

Emotional Intelligence

The last couple of days have been a very interesting opportunity for some serious reflection on how I deal internally with stress and criticism. I won’t go into huge detail as to why – suffice to say that my cage has been rattled quite unexpectedly and violently so, and I’m still trying to steady myself.

But at this point, after hearing a lot of things I never imagined were true and dealing with some folks who really, REALLY got under my skin – unintentionally, but nevertheless they did – and just dealing with a whole lot of generalized crap, I’ve been able to pause and suck in a few huge breaths, and think more clearly.

Dictionary.com describes emotional intelligence as “skill in perceiving, understanding, and managing emotions and feelings.” I don’t like the word “intelligence” in this context, because at first blush, the very phrase itself suggests that a low emotional intelligence level is something akin to being stupid, and I’m pretty sure that’s not true in most cases. And in my case, I see myself as someone who can perceive and understand the emotions of others very well, but oftentimes I don’t do so well in managing my own, and I definitely don’t think that makes me stupid. Not sure what it does make me, but unintelligent isn’t it!

Out of curiosity, I took one of those “About.com” quizzes I found in the Googledom to test my own “EI” score. Here are my results:

“Your results indicate an above average score on emotional intelligence.

People with a better than average score on emotional intelligence tend to be good at interpreting, understanding, and acting upon emotions. They are usually quite good at dealing with social or emotional conflicts, expressing their feelings, and dealing with emotional situations.

It’s important to remember that no matter how good your score is, there is always room to improve your emotional intelligence. Consider areas where you are not as strong and think of ways that you can learn and grow. Take stock of your strong points and find ways to continue to develop and apply these skills.”

Hmmm. Interesting, because given my somewhat visceral reaction to comments made about me and other people’s behavior, I would score myself somewhere in the vicinity of the toilet bowl.

Obviously, these sorts of Internet exercises must be taken with a grain of salt (or two). Filling out a 3-minute pop quiz on the web and interpreting the results as anything other than superficial is kind of like giving your very last dime to buy sand in the Sahara Desert. And unfortunately, that doesn’t bode too well for the reality of my score. But at least in this case, the quiz master’s follow-up advice seems pretty sound:

Consider areas where you are not as strong and think of ways that you can learn and grow.

This is where the pausing and the breathing comes in real handy. And the reflection.

So, ok – a few people said some things that really surprised and angered you, but didn’t necessarily attack you personally, so there’s really no reason to get on that boat. And then, someone irritated the crap out of  you and displayed rude behavior, but that’s not really your problem and it’s way over and done with now, so why are you insisting on replaying that tape over and over in your head? And oh – just because you made a mistake here doesn’t mean you will never get there.

And so on.

One of the benefits of getting older is that it becomes easier to see the value in stopping (or at least slowing) the out-of-control freight train that emotions can often emulate by forcing one’s thinking into an objective, outside-of-oneself framework. It’s sure as hell not easy, and I don’t have as good a grasp of that skill as I’d like, but I’ve had lots of scenarios lately just begging to use the practice. All the more emotional intelligence for me, right?

I’m thinking that, barring a tragic natural disaster or some other nuclear meltdown in my personal life, tomorrow will be a better day.

 

(And just in case you’re interested, you can take that quiz here.)

Monday Morning Gratitude

Here I am on the cusp of another week.

Caffeine has been duly consumed, the office is now occupied, at least until I have to take my youngest to a doctor’s appointment this afternoon.

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The Big Blue Cast is coming off today. We might have to get another Big Blue Cast put back on, but hopefully not.

As an added bonus, it’s Nick’s 12th birthday today. So getting this cast off would be a really nice present. Happy Birthday to the coolest, most awesome 12-year-old on the entire planet. But hey, I’m a little biased.

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Birthday shenanigans from earlier in the month, before he had to get the Big Blue Cast. Oh, my melting heart. ❤

It’s not pouring down crazy rain. Score!  (For at least the next few moments, right?  This is Oregon, after all.)

Put some oil in the car this morning – my little Mitsu is about to roll into 210,000 miles and is still chugging along like she’ll run forever, and I am grateful. Maybe she will run forever, as long as I keep feeding her oil and talking kindly to her.

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Here she is, Miss Mitsu. The working conditions can be a bit nutty, but she keeps on going. (And no, she doesn’t look like this right now. It IS spring, after all. Did I mention it’s not raining, though…???)

The lower back is grumpy, but I am being very nice to it. My standing workstation is making it  so much happier – but my feet are, as a result of all this standing around, a tad annoyed. So it goes. I probably need to look into getting a sturdy and supportive pair of shoes for them. No matter; I am very thankful I was able to get this amazing little toy installed on my desk as quickly as I did. Thank you, George Fox Human Resources!

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My lower back loves me now. For the most part. This is why.

So there’s all sorts of neat things about today, even the small stuff.

Practicing gratitude and focusing on the little things in your life that are good is a great habit to adopt.

An Introduction, and a Landing Spot

An explanation is in order here.

I am actually writing this in a retroactive spirit, as all of the previous posts on this blog are ones I wrote under the Blogger platform, under the same blog title.  After seeing one of my dearest friends recently engage the social media world with his first blog, I’ve decided to try getting my own act together, as my previous efforts have been sporadic and inconsistent – very much like my paper journals and writing life in general. It is what it is.

What I’ve discovered is that I like WordPress a lot more than Blogger, so I imported my two Blogger sites over here to WP, to join the one I already had started here last year.

So now I find myself with three streams of writing – three different blogs (but now all on the WordPress platform): one focused on my running life (which is currently dormant due to injuries), one focusing specifically on my writing life, and the other focused on thoughts, life events and ideas as I find myself at  a huge crossroads (middle age, being in the process of ending a nearly 26-year marriage, finally graduating from college, and any other number of myriad threads.) I don’t know if I will keep all three of these spots going indefinitely (especially since my running career is way up in the air at the moment) but I don’t feel like scrapping anything right now.

I have lots to say. Who knows who wants to read it, but that’s ok. I’m just going to be.

Sunday Evening Edition

Quite the lazy day around Casa del Verde.

Not that there was a lack of things to do, but the motivation meter was hovering near zero for the most part and it was what it was. This absence of inertia would surely earn me a sound scolding from my dad, who is pretty much the kind of person who needs to have some sort of activity scheduled – preferably ones that never involve sitting of any kind – for nearly every waking hour of the day. Every day. He’s like the Energizer Bunny, my pops. Which is likely why he’ll live to be about 150. Which is more than fine with me.

My pops. Looks pretty darned good for the Energizer Bunny, I think. Dad’s got smaller ears, though.

In other news, my little brother turned 40 today. Holeeeee……..wow. In remembering how kind and thoughtful he was to me when I turned 40, let’s just say I’ve been waiting a loooooooooooong time for this day. I wish I’d been there to express to him my most sincerest birthday wishes in person, but he’s three hours away. So I left him a nice message on his voice mail and on his FB wall. With just a little tiny bit of ribbing. Just a little.
The Energizer Bunny’s son (and my newly-minted “over the hill” sibling.) This picture is a few years old, but it captures him pretty well. Yeah, well at least I know where he gets his vim and vigor.

So, that’s about the size of it this everning. And oh – just so that ya’ll aren’t disappointed, here’s my weather report: it will still be in the 80’s (yuck) for the first few days of this coming week, and then hover in the high to mid-70’s for the next few days after that. An improvement, I suppose.

Meh.

 

Way Behind Wednesday…..

……because apparently I needed another catchy title based on the day of the week, combined with my pointed lack of discipline in maintaining an actual posting (writing) schedule.

Actually, there’s not a lot to catch up on simply because I don’t have a whole lot to say this afternoon. Or perhaps more accurately, I don’t have the energy or desire to write about any of the potential topics that are swirling around my brain.

Suffice to say, I’m in a bit of a weird space right now on a personal level and I could write about that, but I’m not going to, not right now. Not everything is up for public consumption, especially when it’s in a chaotic, raw state.

But I have been thinking a lot lately about feminism, “finding oneself”, Paleo diets and about how frustrating it is not being back into the running circuit yet due to my ongoing knee saga. Oh yeah, I suppose I’ve not mentioned the torn ACL in my right knee, but I’m pretty sure that the three or five very nice people who might or might not comprise my “readership” already knows about that. Not much to mention except that I still can’t completely lock the knee out  (hyperextend) and generally speaking, it feels like it’s encapsulated in cement most of the time.

Summer drags on and I really cannot wait until it starts falling back into the fifties (and lower!) temperature wise. I absolutely love cool, crisp air – especially when the leaves start drifting. Something about autumn triggers a lot of very good, warm memories and just a general sense of contentment for me. So, if you don’t mind, October, please do hurry up. And I truly do hope we have a nice snowy winter for once.

Meanwhile, I flit sweatily amidst the mid-80’s, and I am going to be quite annoyed if we end up having another obnoxious 90’s heat wave before we can resume the business of getting nice and cool (and damp.) It is Oregon, after all.

And……I’m looking forward to some awesome Duck football to start up again. Just sayin’.