Emotional Intelligence & Releasing Our Inner Critic

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Emotional Intelligence & Releasing Our Inner Critic

Sometimes I get asked how I come up with my ideas for blogging. Truly, it is life and what is going on around me.

Blogging has been great for giving me eyes to look at life and try to see the lessons and analogies that could be helpful.

So, two things I’ve been focused on in the past few weeks have collided inside my brain and you, lucky readers, lol, get to hear about it.

Emotional intelligence is something you know I’m passionate about if you have been following my blog. Lately though it is taking more center stage. I delivered an introductory session to the International Coach Federation San Antonio chapter lately. This week I’ll be delivering training on being an emotionally effective leader. Next week I’ll be certifying a couple of other coach colleagues in using the EQ-i 2.0 tool. (For more information, click here: Emotional Intelligence Training)

Fierce Self-Compassion event at The Cedars Ranch - Photo by  Alyssa Duty

Meanwhile, in our personal lives we have been enjoying the company of an amazing young lab. Her name is Shine. She’s 3 and is trained as a diabetic service dog. We are the ones that have to get trained - she is already.

Learning to work well with Shine has highlighted a couple of emotional intelligence categories for me.

First. For her to take us seriously we need to be firm and assertive with her when giving a command. Not angry. Not mean. Just the kind of voice intonation that implies we expect her to do what we say.

Shine knows when we are not assertive enough. She can play us like any 3-year-old! Part of our training is not to just keep saying her name and the command when she doesn’t respond because then we are teaching her that we don’t need to be listened to obeyed right away.

She is a diabetic service dog. Not cool if we undo the importance of her immediate response by our lack of assertiveness.

Someday I will figure out how to combine assertiveness training with dog obedience school!

We do teach others how to treat us! Assertiveness is being able to clearly articulate what we want/feel/think with clarity (not minimizing ourself or harming others).

The second emotional intelligence sub-scale that Shine has highlighted for me is Self-Regard.

Let me back up here and bring Dr. Kristin Neff in to the story. We had the honor of having her speak at our opening wellness event in April at our Ranch (The Cedars Ranch, Wimberley, TX).

We were learning about our inner critic and self-compassion. Instead of just teaching us how to quiet our inner critic she shared something profound.

Fierce Self-Compassion event at The Cedars Ranch - Photo by  Alyssa Duty

Here is where our stories merge. When Shine has on her service dog cape she is “on duty”. It is a signal to her and to others that she is not just a carefree dog but is working.

Those of us that grew up with some family stresses learned patterns to keep us ‘safe’. I learned to be the ‘good girl’, to be sweet (I know, hard to believe, lol), invisible and not to ever be angry. My inner critic was given the job of keeping me safe and has been on duty for many years.

Dr. Neff suggested that those patterns that are now dysfunctional as adults were put there when we were younger as an attempt to support us. They can include pressure to suppress feelings, be less assertive and lower our self-regard. It is safer to take the blame than to confront an angry adult.

What if we thanked our inner critic for the service that he/she has offered and let him/her off duty?

In Shine language the cape would come off and the command would be “FREE”.

If your inner critic was put off-duty what would change for you?

What can your dog teach you about emotional intelligence?

Until next time


Marilyn Orr, CEC, PCC is an executive and leadership coach with Capacity Building Coaching, and training partner on EQ-i 2.0 with MHS. She is also co-owner of new Texas Hill Country eco event center and wellness retreat, The Cedars Ranch.

Marilyn provides professional coaching for executives and business leaders, mentor coaching for coaches, and leadership development support in the form of coaching skills training, soft-skills development, facilitation of key discussions and team coaching. Would you like to work with Marilyn? Reach Out to her today.

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