Dear Parent: Know Your Emotional Self


Michael Mendizza’s book, “Magical Parent-Magical Child,“ states:“There is a direct, unmediated neuro-connection, a direct pipeline, between the heart and the brain.  The brain informs the heart of its general emotional state and the heart encourages the brain to make an intelligent response.”

As adults, it is vital to explore and know our emotional self. Whether or not we are parents, we are none-the-less a product from parents.  Our awareness of our emotional inheritance (the heart to the brain) equally parallels the importance in all our relationships –family, work, social, and personal.

Awareness of our Emotional Inheritance + Emotional Intelligence = Emotional health

Without parents, there would be no kids. It matters little whether children are raised by biological, adoptive, foster or same-sex parents.  Unlike physical inheritances, emotional legacies are free floating. Emotion is Energy in Motion, and our kids mirror our emotional energy.

My mom’s broken English tenet – “Where you are I’ve been….where I’m at you’re coming” — was my introduction to emotional intelligence.(E.Q.)  

In every instance, parents/guardians are the first emotional carriers to our children.

  • We bring our emotional inheritances to our kids from our parents/guardians.
  • Teachers bring their emotional legacies to their students from their emotional carriers.
  • Counselors bring them to their clients.
  • Employers bring them to their employees.
  • Coaches bring them to their players.

Understanding and managing our emotional inheritance is the first step in bringing ‘social-emotional health’ to our relationships, especially those with our children. As parents, little of what we accomplish can measure up to the accomplishment of developing emotionally healthy children. Values and behaviors do not fit the equation since they are learned and not inherent. None-the-less, we must understand our values and behaviors before we can expect our kids to understand theirs.

Research continues to validate that emotional inheritance has a direct effect on our emotional intelligence and emotional success.

Three things to consider to get to know your emotional self:

  1. For Emotional Inheritance– Take an inventory of feelings you believe you have inherited. Write them all down – good, bad, boring, exciting, etc.  The more honest you are, the better you can answer the next step, which is writing down the feelings you want to leave as your emotional legacy.
  2. For Emotional Intelligence– Write down how you consciously or intrinsically manage your emotions. All feelings are permissible, but not all are beneficial. For starters – find the antonym and decide which side of the feeling you want to manage. Ex: happy vs. sad or sad vs. happy.
  3. For Emotional Health– Begin to notice the daily subliminal choices you make based on your feelings, emotions,  Give those feelings a name. (Ex: Random acts of kindness)  Make a list.  Are they beneficial to you and others? Are they manageable? Are they something you’d like to pass on to your kids and all your relationships? Are they feelings you want your children to pass on to others? Are they feelings you would like to oust?  Once done, you can evaluate your self-awareness and begin the process of paying them forward.

Follow your heart to encourage your brain to make a natural and intelligent response to your feelings.  It will take you to wherever you choose to go.

Aristotle wrote, “Educating the brain without educating the heart is no education at all.”



Becky ‘YiaYia’ Kapsalis

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