Growth; an optional process.

A woman of extremes

“Change is inevitable, but growth is OPTIONAL because it is only achieved through personal decisions and actions”.

When I said “damn, I grew” on my birthday. I didn’t say that because I added a new year. It was because I had experienced some changes that caused a shift in my growth; emotionally. I thought I was growing but not until last year when I experienced some series of events, I realized my growth was stunted. Truly a lot can happen in a short period of time, and growth happened to me, which I’m grateful it did!

I used to lack emotional intelligence, majorly self-awareness and self-regulation; sometimes referred to as self-maintenance. I thought I was smart, but I soon realized I was emotionally stupid. I realized I had no control of my feelings although I knew how to express them. I couldn’t balance identifying, evaluating, controlling and expressing my emotions. Most of all, I couldn’t perceive and assess others’ emotions. I didn’t even know how to effectively facilitate my emotional reasoning let alone understand emotional interpretations.

How did I find out I was emotionally stupid? Sometimes last year, I told someone about an ordeal I was currently experiencing at that time. He said to me, “Tobi, I don’t mean to be rude, I know you are smart girl, but I think you aren’t emotionally bright”. My head was ringing at that statement. I was like, WHAT??? *in my Soulja boy’s voice* It felt like I was sitting on an electric chair because all I could feel was vibrations running through my entire body. I asked him to explain what he meant and when he did, I got really angry knowing fully well that was my reality. Once we parted, on my way home, I couldn’t stop replaying what my friend said to me, I cried on realizing how stupid I have been all this while.

At night, while I was thinking, I decided to do a little research on emotional intelligence. Even though I have heard the word before, I never knew it was a thing. I was well aware of IQ, intelligence quotient but ignorant about EQ, emotional intelligence. My research on it, brought me into light, helped me know my truth and set me free from my self-inflicted emotional bondage. As a matter of fact, I took an emotional intelligence test and my score was 46 (below average) using this website;

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/tests/personality/emotional-intelligence-test

And a score of 87 using this website;

https://www.arealme.com/eq/en/

Last night while drafting this piece, I took the tests to see how much I have improved, I got a score of 83 using the first link and a score of 130 using the second link. “Nice improvement”, I said. These scores are evidence that I indeed experienced a great shift in my emotional growth. Please, do bear in my mind that the test is not hundred percent accurate at measuring your emotional intelligence. It only gives an indication of your general emotional intelligence but does not measure the complexity of a person’s emotional sensitivity, thought process and understanding. However, it gave me some insights on how to work on myself. So, if you want to have a little knowledge about where your emotional intelligence level falls, then you can use any of the links to test yourself. (By the way, the first link takes about 45-50 mins to complete the test, provides summary evaluation and ways to improve but you would have to pay an optional fee of 10 USD)

I wanted to grow emotionally; to be a better person for myself, so I cut off the negative things and people I felt were affecting my growth. I made an intentional effort at controlling my emotions by knowing and accepting my weakness, without allowing them to hold me back. I learned to tell myself ‘no’ just as I tell others “no”. I’m a totally extreme person. There, I said it. “I do it with passion or not at all”. It’s either I love you or I don’t. I’m that girl that would rather get hurt than play by the rules. I’m either straight down the line, the practical high-flying pragmatic thinker that’s hell-bound on achievements and often loses her sense of humor. Or I’m the crazy, silly, fun, wildly carefree girl. I drive like a maniac trying to get to my destination just to avoid being late yet would not use my time wisely beforehand. Living in the extremes, I can tell myself, “I must follow my head, and not my heart.” Or “I must follow my heart and ignore my head.” It just always feels impossible to have a bit of both. Sighs!

However, I’m learning to find a balance and I can tell you for sure that it’s been hard but I’m working it. I’m learning to consciously listen and find an equilibrium between my internal masculine and feminine energies; my masculine energy once dominated my mindset causing me to be single-minded and stubborn. Now, I allow my feminine energy to take the forefront and be more guided by my instincts. With this awareness, I have learned the flip side of being an extreme; how ruthless and toxic this can be. I realized, I had taken myself and some people prisoners in my mind. And this has led to imbalanced extremes of emotions such as desperation, frustration, ongoing anxiety, fear, insecurity, which has caused some damages.

Now, I know it is just an outlook I learned and developed over the course of my life. So, I go easy on myself by learning to grow away from it, simply because I know it does not serve me the way it used to. Every day, I take a step back, embrace my feminine energy, while controlling my masculine energy, have a little laugh about it and with some patience, I’m slowly regaining myself into some balance.

I constantly remind myself that;

“Healthy things grow”

“Growing things change”

“Change challenges you”

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