“Emotional competence is defined as the ability to deal in a appropriate and satisfactory way with one’s own feelings and desires”
This means actually allowing us to see, feel and be with our feelings – and be comfortable with it.
All too often we are told to “not be so emotional” or “stop being so sensitive” as children, and even as adults, especially when when women hit perimenopause or their hormones are out of whack during their menstrual cycle.
We are taught to hide all traces of “too much emotion” and to keep it to a level acceptable to the people we are around, in order to not make them feel uncomfortable.
This is the opposite of emotional competence, this is the squashing of emotions and can greatly highten stress levels.
According to Gabor Mate M.D emotional competence requires “the ability to express our emotions effectively and thereby to assert our needs and to maintain the integrity of our emotional boundaries”
“Stress occurs in the absence of “this” criteria, and it leads to the disruption of homeostasis”
Our bodies strive for homeostasis – balance – and when we act in a way that throws that off our bodies will find other ways to find balance, pulling from other parts of our bodies to compensate for the imbalance.
We see this a lot in our practices as women come to see us with hormonal imbalances more often that not brought on by emotional stress they have been suppressing for a long period of time.
In my own journey I suffered from very heavy periods when I went back to school full time in 2015 whilst raising a family with young children and running my own business as well as being the primary cook and everything else in the family.
That was my tipping point, my massive chronic stress moment, although I didn’t know it at the time.
I kept “soldiering on” and doing what I did every day PLUS taking on a full school load with exams and tests on a weekly basis. Wanting to get great grades and prove that I was “worthy” I went above and beyond in school and didn’t once ask for help or realize I was breaking apart inside.
Whilst in school I found out I had a couple of smallish fibroids which were causing this “flooding” every month – they were inside the uterus which essentially meant that they just didn’t have on “off switch” every month and like a tap you have left on, just kept running constantly.
The uterus is a space of creativity, of growth and as I pushed my emotions down and down, so my fibroids grew and grew.
I learnt over time, and now use this knowledge in practice that we need to feel of the emotions, however painful it might be for us and for those around us – they need to come up and out – not be suppressed and forced down, therefore, creating dis-ease within the body.
Do you feel emotionally competent? Do you express your emotions in a healthy, un-judgemental way? Leave us a comment below, we would love to hear from you
Love Maggie & Sally
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Reference: When The Body Says No – Gabor Mate. M.D