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This week, while Alison Whitmire takes a week off from her blog, we welcome a guest blogger: our own Corrie Weikle*, Learning in Action’s Director of Training.
There were five minutes left on the clock. My ice hockey team was down 2-1 to move on to the national championship. It was the classic “Not enough time left, and my team is down by one point to get to the big game” story. You’ve heard it before.
The bench where my team sat was a depressing place to be.
Having little emotional literacy at that point in my life, I’d say we were a bunch of doubt-filled, negative Nancy, glass half-empty miserable people. The stakes were high, stress was soaring, and we were consumed by our own risk-driven internal experiences.
If you’ve happened to take the EQ Profile and you recall the dimensions, you’d say my teammates and I were primarily negatively-oriented, and likely over-accessing many of our distressing feelings.
I didn’t see myself as angry early in my career … and I was.
I accessed higher than ideal levels of anger, but didn’t recognize that within myself. Looking back, I can now understand both why I didn’t see the anger within me, and how my unrecognized anger hurt my working relationships.
This blog post is written with the hopes of opening the eyes of others who have high access to anger, but can’t see it.
In my early working life, I was acting out a pattern of behavior that had been modeled in my home throughout my childhood. To be clear, I, and only I, am responsible for my behavior. Now and then. And what is true is that I was shaped by my earliest relationships. And anger played a role in the shaping.
I didn’t see my anger because it was my default experience. It’s what was modeled for me and how I was wired to conduct day to day interactions. I didn’t experience myself as angry or not angry. I just was.
We are all shaped by our primary relationships. And not simply metaphorically, but also, neurobiologically. Meaning, the neural wiring of our brains, our mental models, our implicit understanding of what is is and isn’t acceptable are all shaped by our earliest relationships. And it can blind us to certain aspects of ourselves. (more…)