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Scar Tissue That I Wish You Saw

Scar Tissue That I Wish You Saw

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

All over the world, scars are perceived as a trauma, a wound, and something to be repaired—damaged goods. 

Scars have been a big part of my life. Born without an eyelid, I had multiple surgeries from birth to teenager to repair this eyelid. This was vital to keep my eye viable. A country first; Prof Billson, a pioneer Ophthalmologist, did an excellent job saving that eye. 

However, there was noticeable scarring along with a distinct lack of eyelashes. People would ask me ‘What did you do to your eye? How did you hurt your eye? The best one was; She is such a pretty kid, shame about the eye. The ugly duckling was another, one day; you will be all fixed.  

 

When I slept, I slept with one eye partially open. 

 

This became a hilarious joke to those around me if I fell asleep first. I often stayed awake all night at birthday parties to avoid such a thing if I could. 

 

One bus trip in primary school, a fellow male student, whipped out a camera and took a photo of my eye, much to the amusement of others. Not sure what he did with the developed shots. No social media back then, thank goodness. 

 

High school bought an array of trouble in this area. Makeup became my best disguise. But my identity formed around being scarred and ‘unpretty.’ I developed other parts of my person, like humour and silliness to detract and distract, to amplify and make up for the broken bits. We adjust our sails. 

 

Reading and writing became an escape too. So Much to Tell You, by John Marsden, changed my life. Teenagers can be very cruel. 

 

Enter brain surgery in 2012 and neurosurgery meant a saw and drills were used to open my skull up like a coconut. There’s no way around scars, lumps and bumps when these pieces of nifty equipment are involved. People told me to cover it up with my hair. Or, ooooh that’s nasty swelling; will that go away? 

 

An aid came to our home and asked who the pretty lady was on the wall, I said; it is me. She said; “OMG that doesn’t look anything like you!” No kidding. Or what about the postman who asked where Kirsten was; it’s me, I said. “What a shame, you were so pretty.” Ouch. 

 

Once again reinforcing and validating the belief that I was very lucky to have my life, I was so pleased I had a great sense of humour and am a nice person because I was not considered pretty. Who cares? Other people care. 

 

My self-confidence plummeted all over again. 

 

The good old ego-self was attaching to the perception of others about how a body should appear, or when it is ‘broken.’ My sense of identity was internally associated with this.

I love a challenge, and this epiphany presented a big one, releasing the perception of others from my being. 

There are many incredible options now for non-invasive procedures for the assistance of healing and scar reduction. I had a wonky cheekbone repaired and some foundation work to help stop my face from dropping after severe stretching in my skull tissue. As a kid, the scar tissue on the inside of my new lid rubbed on my eye, often causing infections. So that person is not just dealing with a world who thinks beauty is symmetry, but they are often dealing with physical discomfort. Scar thickness, nerve damage and infection are only some aspects. 

This was just an eyelid. There are much larger scars out there. Fact; scars can cause big physical issues; it ain’t all about the pretty. 

I would have jumped rainbows not to have those experiences as a child. 

Traumas have the potential to form us positively. But I would be telling you porky pies if I said the psychological impact was positive. 

I am not alone. Acne scarring, burns and growth of scar tissue can create an array of problems. The Australian Journal of General Practice reports that scarring can have a negative impact on adolescent wellbeing leading to social isolation, a decrease in self-esteem and an increase in anger, and are significantly correlated with suicidal ideation. 

For kids and teens to have options available now is so positive and essential. One very cool breakthrough in the last decade was by NASA. They developed LED technology to help improve healing in space and for long-term human spaceflight. 

LED therapy is a multi-use therapy and can help heal surgical wounds post-op. Scars can get infected, become itchy, cause extreme skin conditions and problems of all kinds. Massage therapy is another, along with the brilliant progression of burn healing medicine. 

Image for Ponderings Magazine

Identity of self is tricky business. 

 

We must do all we can to foster a sense of acceptance for children, and at the same time continue to develop technology and help make it accessible to everyone to help scar reduction for ease of pain and suffering. 

 

I no longer allow the identity association of others to rule me; enjoying “inside me” to shine brightly; as unencumbered as possible. 

 

With each grey hair, I have discovered I am not my body, not my face, not my eyelid, not my scars, not my lumps and bumps, not my even my humour or ability to moonwalk. (I can) This vehicle is the wonderful shell in which I reside, and it works for me. There’s a whole lot more going on behind that driver’s seat. 

 

I enjoy getting dressed up (maybe too much? lol), like makeup and love feeling good, but this comes from a place of fun and impermanence. They no longer stem from a “self” belief based on fear or worry. Do you know how much joy can come through without the worry of appearance?

 

Some boundaries remain; photos continue to bring me extreme discomfort; I only take them for my family and the odd one or two for Ponderings when I have to. Selfies are occasional; with sunglasses on, and I don’t look at them again. I am a work in progress. 

 

To this day if I don’t wear makeup, I always get comments from new people or strangers. 

 

A fascinating insight into human behaviour is the response to appearances. Those not fixated on finding faults in others never notice, and those who have known me a long time don’t see it either. But there is a shift; I don’t get embarrassed or ashamed, and I don’t feel less than. 

 

While you can “own your scars”, until we live in an emotionally intelligent Utopia, scars can and do profoundly impact the psyche of a growing child. 

 

My scars are the footprints of my experiences here. They adorn my body with a story of restoration and survival. But I do look forward to living in a place where the world reflects this belief to the child. 

 

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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Ten Insights Into The Narcissist

Ten Insights Into The Narcissist

We hear the word Narcissism in reference to traits of self-interest and vanity in a world of social media. 

 

However, Narcissism or Narcissistic Personality Disorder PD is a mental condition. A well-balanced perspective is needed along with some tips for those on the other end of Narcissistic behaviour. 

 

The excessive need for admiration, disregard for others’ feelings, the inability to handle any criticism and a sense of entitlement along with criticism and manipulation, grandstanding (the list goes on) are all facets of Narcissism. Researchers have reported associations between NPD and high rates of substance abuse, mood, and anxiety disorders. For more symptoms see the bottom of this article, we have some excellent references. 

 

“Narcissus, the Laconian, was a young hunter who loved everything beautiful.

Once, during the summer, he got thirsty after hunting.

He leaned upon the water and saw himself in the bloom of youth.

He fell in love with his own shadow, as if it were somebody else.”

 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

Being in a relationship or friendship with a true Narcissist can find you drawing in toxic sludge. 

Many an injured heart, broken life and mental anguish can be the product of such behaviour. So what can be done? 

1) Never admit vulnerability to a Narcissist. 

It can and will get used against you in a typical 123 Gaslighting maneuver. Do not appear fragile to a Narcissist, you are a duck on a lake, graceful, your legs might be going nuts underneath, but all anyone can see is serenity. Vulnerability is important with the right person. A Narcissist is not that person. 

2) Understand Gaslighting behaviour. 

A type of psychological manipulation whereby a person covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their memory, perception, or judgment, often evoking in them cognitive dissonance and other changes including low self-esteem. 

3) While many people tell you a Narcissistic person is self-centred, mean and arrogant, it is MUCH more complex.

Manifesting in many ways, including an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration, grandiose behaviours, sensitivity to criticism, the list goes on. The point here is- the condition is layered and varied, so unless you are a trained psychologist or therapist; seek professional assistance if you believe you are on the receiving end. It is very dangerous for your mental health and not always obvious. Gaslighting, in particular, can be very insidious. 

4) Understanding that while the condition remains somewhat of a mystery to psychology experts; behavioural disorders are often deeply rooted. 

You cannot talk a Narcissistic out of anything. Some studies suggest many Narcissists know precisely what they are doing, they believe they are on a higher pecking order than others, view themselves as more evolved, and they are never ‘wrong.” There is no reasoning here. Try and reason, and you will soon find yourself attacked verbally and wounded. 

 

5) If stuck in a verbal corner, try using non-critical words and don’t attack or question their motives. 

There is no win here. Use phrases with sincerity. Phrases such as “I’m trying to understand what you are saying, leave it with me and I’ll come back to you on that one” can help disentangle. You have the option to smile sweetly and say “Well, I’ll take that into consideration. I am sorry you feel that way.” Make your polite exit. Walk away and keep the tone light. 

6) You can have objective empathy, so you can spend less time with the person and try to remember it’s okay to do this. 

Just because you live near a poisoned lake, doesn’t mean you have to drink from it every day and it can still have lovely elements on sunrise. Focus on the positive, but remember it’s okay to say no. 

7) Do not believe the love bombing. 

The Narcissist enjoys making you feel loved up and joyful; this may come in the form of gifts or favours. This makes you fodder; it makes you open up and become vulnerable for an unfortunate future personal attack. Be pleasant, but don’t soak it up or take it as gospel. Be objective and don’t get attached to incoming feels. They become weapons later. 

8) Do not encourage codependency. 

Be warned! You need you. Be self-sufficient and do not rely on the person. Relying on people who care about you for support sometimes is okay, this is the essence of community, looking out for each other. But do NOT do this with a Narcissist. This will foster a sense of dependency, so when you do wake up and realise what is happening, you will have emotions, not unlike an addiction. 

9) Pay attention! 

 

Long term exposure to Narcissism can make you immune to the behaviour. Keep a note of when you feel awful or manipulated and when you don’t. Are you okay at work and with other relationships? Do you have strong bonds with others and feel good? If you only feel poorly around one person, this is a sign of a deeper issue. Ongoing mental manipulation is damaging and will have consequences.  

 

10) Get educated. 

 

You have power in your life to make choices, so make them! Reclaim your personal power and find out more about these aspects showing up in your life. Why are you making room for them? Do you have to? What will happen if you don’t make any changes with this relationship or within yourself concerning this person? What might happen if you do? Seek help professionally and use the situation to learn about the events in your life. 

According to Erika Carlson and co in extensive research; the Narcissist is often fully aware of their reputation and simply do not care. 

 

They believe they are genuinely the right one, the most important. Consider for a moment that narcissistic people do not really lack empathy, but instead, their vulnerability and need for self-protection limits their freedom to express it.

Exploiting and bullying others while being the best on show is a standout feature of NPD, and some very strong tricks are used to keep everyone playing out the illusion. So the warning here is if you listen for long enough, even the strongest of minds can and do break under pressure.

Calling a person with NPD out can inflame the situation making life much harder for you. Stay calm, collected and reduce your exposure. 

**Always seek medical assistance and professional psychological help. Helping yourself is the first step to a positive life.

Journals and websites for further reading: 

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition

Kacel, E. L., Ennis, N., & Pereira, D. B. (2017). Narcissistic Personality Disorder 

Clinical Health Psychology Practice: Case Studies of Comorbid Psychological Distress and Life-Limiting Illness. Behavioural Medicine, 43(3), 156-164

Carlson, E. N., Wright, A. & Iman, H. (2017). Blissfully blind or painfully aware? Exploring the beliefs people with interpersonal problems have about their reputation. Journal of Personality, 85, 757-768. 10.1111/jopy.12284 

Getting to Know a Narcissist Inside and Out

Erika N. Carlson  Laura P. Naumann  Simine Vazire

Book Editor(s): W. Keith Campbell  Joshua D. Miller

First published: 20 July 2011

https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118093108.ch25

Citations: 6

https://www.skiplab.org/erika

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorders/narcissistic-personality-disorder.htm

 

https://psychcentral.com/disorders/narcissistic-personality-disorder/

https://pro.psychcentral.com/freud-and-the-nature-of-narcissism/

https://blogs.uoregon.edu/autismhistoryproject/archive/sigmund-freud-on-narcissism-1914/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/202004/so-youre-stuck-home-your-narcissist-parent

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0146167215581712 

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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Thou Dost Protest Too Little

Thou Dost Protest Too Little

Democracy is a beautiful instrument; however, it can be plucked in ways producing music not kind to our ears, or a little bent. 

Upholding democracy means tuning and care. In the theatre of life; if the play isn’t going the way we like it, we have ways we can express this, and it isn’t about throwing rotten tomatoes. 

Enter the protestor! 

Many associate protestors with “lefties” or a mob mentality. 

Okay so maybe you’re not a fan of crowds. I get it. I’ve got personal space issues at the best of times and a compromised immune system. So during a pandemic, the health experts aren’t the only ones concerned. Aside from the current virus outbreak; large groups aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if we examine the importance of protest closely, we may just reclaim the joy and freedom of positive impact. 

Who could blame us in this big fast progressing world for being overwhelmed? 

The actors are getting cunning; the characters are intense and layered. It could be said people have grown disenfranchised; they no longer feel in control of the world around them, the bigger picture is out of their hands, and they have as much impact as a water bottle in a blizzard. Men in suits in closeted rooms might be doing deals; we can’t change anything. Or can we? 

Peaceful protest is a way of demonstrating your concerns and a larger cry for change; a Please and Thankyou or Come On We Have Had Enough. Some may even say it is a means of civil duty. 

Mahatma Gandhi took a walk one day; it lasted another 22 with a 240-mile stroll to the coast of India to collect salt, which was illegal under crown laws. He collected tens of thousands of people along the way. His quest for satyagraha (asserting for truth) and ahimsa (non-violence) was indeed compelling.

The governing body was forced to admit Gandhi into a legislative council, he was recognised as a force to be reckoned with, and India eventually gained her independence. Even though the protest was peaceful, many died, and Gandhi himself was jailed and ultimately assassinated. 

Needless to say, his legacy lives on, and the non-violent peacekeeper anchored in our human history. 

Martin Luther’s demand in the 1500s for the everyday person to have access to the Bible, limiting the financial indulgences of the catholic church and announcing salvation could be achieved through faith alone was the beginning of the Protestant movement.

Martin sought to place the Bible into the hands of ordinary Christians. He translated it from the language of scholars and clergy; Latin-into the vernacular. This lead to the reformation. To protest. Again, the world altered monumentally. 

Do you object? That’s okay; it is your democratic right. 

You can object and argue all day long, about anything you like. I am not trying to get into a religious debate, but rather I am using this to illustrate times in history where protesting changed something. Good one Captain Obvious, but there will be those who comment without understanding the intent. 

Debating might not win you friends or help you influence people, but hey, everyone has an opinion. Shall we ponder some more? 

Many protests have turned to horror. 

 

Anarchy, chaos, looting, murder, rape and complete mayhem can ensue when passive resistance turns to aggressive agitation—Dante’s inferno springs to mind. 

 

We can adhere to principles, or we risk protests becoming the vehicle for suppressed rage. When people get intensely passionate, physicality is never far away. A power battle ensues and people can get very hurt. This highly charged atmosphere can turn us against each other and make enemies of those on either side of the barricade. 

 

In Australia we have a template, a best practice medium if you like for protest, you can access it here. We are very capable of growing our choices like seeds that turn into a beautiful new species of trees, ones that have been calling us for so very long. Evolving can be a choice. 

 

The set of principles as set out by the Human Rights Law Centre are a brilliant resource for knowing and understanding your rights as a citizen to demonstrate your expression. 

“These principles are rooted in Australia’s Constitution, international law, common law, and general democratic principles. They also draw on international and domestic best practice. They provide a blueprint for a democracy in which the freedoms of expression and assembly are respected and protected.”

A protest is often the way our politicians can gauge the temperature of the community. 

If there is enough uproar, enough disheartened “loudness” it can get hot in the kitchen. Sometimes the soft leaders will call for expensive referendums or voting booths to make sure they are being forced into the act, then when it swings the other way they can’t do much; because the “people have spoken.”

As frustrating as this stance can be, we are reminded they too are vehicles for democracy to journey on.

So perhaps a big enough peaceful assembly signals to our leaders their people want the opportunity to make a different choice or to change something. 

We cannot forget the success 116 years ago by the Suffragettes. In 1918, the efforts of the women’s suffrage movement resulted in a Bill being passed through Parliament granting women the right to vote. They had to be over the age of 30 and own property, or be married to someone who owned property. Despite the restrictions, it was still a big victory, giving 8.4 million women the vote!

 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

We are seeing more and more laws getting passed like notes in class, seeking to turn a peaceful protest into civil disobedience and chargeable offences. 

What drives this? There will be plenty of guesses, often the bell of truth tolls when money is afoot; commercial interests tend to yank the rope. Caution is needed here, and we must pay attention.

Our civil liberties and the right to protest are precious and necessary. It is our means of expression and upholding democracy. Lawmakers and governments should take positive steps to promote freedoms of expression and assembly. Let’s not allow the lawmakers to bend the rules and clip our wings. Freedom is a bird who must never have her wings clipped, even if she is told the removal of feathers will keep her safe. 

Am I an idealist? Absolutely. Always. 

Some great articles to read: 

 

The Principles of Protest in Australia by the Human Rights Law Centre

Martin Luther

Gandhi – The Website 

Suffragettes Movement 

 

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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Pooh Bear Pandemic Survival Guide

Pooh Bear Pandemic Survival Guide

A little  bit of Pooh Bear goes a very long way, we hope this makes you smile a little x

1) You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. 

 

Don’t get overwhelmed with the news, and it can create mega anxiety. Be informed, be aware but not alarmed. A positive mindset is always better for your health than a negative one, ask Eeyore. Pooh Bear isn’t the only one; increasing evidence suggests that positive affect may be especially beneficial for people in the midst of severe stress.  

 

EH Shepard Pooh Bear Ponderings Magazine
EH Shepard Pooh Bear Ponderings Magazine

2. Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart. 

Isolation has taught us so much; particularly in the western world. What we value, what we miss and what we need and don’t need is just a start. Our children are small, but their futures are big! 

3. I wasn’t going to eat it; I was just going to taste it. 

Nothing else needed here. Just pause and reflect. (too soon?) 

4) A hug is always the right size.

Hugs, how important is human touch and contact? Never underestimate a hug until you can’t give one. Then never underestimate the ability it can have to turn from a gesture of love to a vehicle for a virus. Hang onto those hugs people, then when you can hug the stuffing out of people. 

5) If you live to be a hundred, I hope I live to be a hundred minus one day, so that I never have to live a day without you.

Don’t spare a minute, if you are sorry; say sorry. If you miss someone; tell them. If you care, say it. If you think someone is wonderful; tell them. People are unique, every single one of them. Regrets are like honey pots you left on an ant nest. 

 

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like, ‘What about lunch?’

6) Governments, spokespeople- please keep it simple. Please don’t confuse us. KISS method works well always. Keeping it Simple is Sophisticated.  

7) You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes. 

Think outside the square and think for yourself, help a neighbour, a relative or someone you don’t even know. The most wonderful things can happen when you look outside your corner.

EH Shepard Pooh Bear Ponderings Magazine
EH Shepard Pooh Bear Ponderings Magazine

8) Always watch where you are going. Otherwise, you may step on a piece of the Forest that was left out by mistake.  

Think for yourself, friend, and be discerning. For you may journey into the territory of someone you are not supposed to, use your words carefully, for they are steps that may stumble onto another person’s heart. In times of global stress, our words in person and online can become breadcrumbs baked from the loaf of fear and frustration. 

9) How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?

 

Pain is sometimes the price we pay for love and freedom. Because the magical thing is; love and freedom never die, they change postcode, they morph, hide, turn into a new feeling. The level can change intensity, but they do not die. Value freedom and love always, for when they increase, we appreciate them more than before. States of mind build the foundations of the heart. 

10) With a little dash of Eyeore for good measure- They’re funny things accidents, you never have them until you have them. 

Be safe, go gentle, be kind and be patient. A person’s humanity is only tested in times of trial and tribulation. 

With thanks to the glorious works of A.A Milne and the illlustrations of E.H Shepard

 

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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Secret Messages – What You See Is Not What You Always Get

Secret Messages – What You See Is Not What You Always Get

Secret Messages – What You See Is Not What You Always Get

Image for Ponderings Magazine

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

June 2, 2020

Let me paint you a picture. Two people are in a combative stance. 

 

You are all at a BBQ (no more than 10 of course) and these two are clearly unhappy, but there is no yelling. You can see something is up. How so? It has to do with all of the information you may be getting about the scene. So what are you picking up on? Most likely, you are witnessing and making discerning decisions about their body language along with the tone they are using and any preconceived knowledge you have of them. 

Ponderings Magazine Image
Image for Ponderings Magazine

On closer inspection as you move closer to the chips and french onion dip you notice they are indeed having a bit of a verbal stoush. 

One person’s words you note are not overtly triggering or upsetting, but there is an undertone. So what is going on? The quirky morsel to observe is the circular tread of the conversation; they agree with each other to a degree. So why so tense?

 

Welcome to the Mehrabian rule! 

These perceptions are very intricate; there is evidence to suggest decision making is often a subconscious action.

Born in Iran in the brutal and tragic Armenian genocidal hangover of 1939, Professor Emeritus of Psychology Albert Mehrabian is somewhat revered for his 7-38-55 rule. Mehrabian’s groundbreaking research and publications were extensive; however, his work on verbal and non-verbal messages became the tightly held tools of negotiators, FBI agencies and more recently business coaches across the globe. 

 

 

Now living and teaching in California USA, the Prof’s rule gave some remarkably juicy insights into human behaviour. 

The rule states that 7 % meaning is communicated through spoken word, 38 % through the tone of voice, and 55 % via body language. 

Total Liking = 7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking. 

Mehrabian’s work was all about what he called the ‘silent messages’ – how people communicate their intent – what they really mean non-verbally. 

As Dr Nick Morman, says in Debunking The DebunkersWe get most of our clues of the emotional intent behind people’s words from non-verbal sources. And when the two conflict, we believe the non-verbal every time.” 

In other words, (pardon the pun) when I am speaking to someone and what they are saying is not matching the rest of their “output” I will rely on the non-verbal information more so.

 We never come to an interaction with another human without preconceived ideas. We are the result of our learning and experiences, the social cues we pick up and learn along the way are our complex resource for perceiving others, and plot twist: it is NOT always correct. 

These perceptions are very intricate; there is evidence to suggest decision making is often a subconscious action. 

We also have body language and tone quirks that will give away what we really think or believe more so than what we are saying. 

Remember the saying; the smile doesn’t match the eyes? Instant suspicion may be induced and a feeling of mistrust or weariness when we get this vibe from someone. The more discerning we become, the more powerful we are at reading these messages. 

Ponderings Magazine Image by analogicus from Pixabay

You may have read in my other articles I was blind for a time after brain surgery in 2012. 

Well, I can tell you this event removed 35 years of social cue learning of the non-verbal kind. Unable to observe gestures or facial expressions made it impossible to understand social nuances how I normally would. To begin with, it was frustrating; however, I soon gleaned the tone of voice of others in a life-changing way. 

Our bodies are a work of engineering prowess. When blindness occurs often a substantial structural reorganization of the brain happens, wherein the parts of the brain typically specialized for vision are recruited for the processing of stimuli in other modalities. I know, right? 

Some studies suggest that blind persons may possess “supra-normal” nonvisual sensory capabilities, as a result of either perceptual learning (Gagnon, Ismaili, Ptito, & Kupers, 2015) or the reorganization of various brain areas. For the unlearned “supra-normal” means: transcending the normal: greater than expected or usual. 

I know, it is pretty awesome. What you see is NOT what you always get. 

References for further reading and resources used:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5486861/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5486861/#CR14
https://www.psych.ucla.edu/faculty/page/mehrab  

Supranormal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supranormal. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080414145705.htm

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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Are We Born With Emotional Intelligence?

Are We Born With Emotional Intelligence?

Are We Born With Emotional Intelligence?

Kristy Hunter For Ponderings Magazine

Written by Kristy Hunter - Guest Ponderer

June 1, 2020

What is Emotional intelligence? 

Understanding EQ (Emotional Quotient/Emotional Intelligence) is a concept that was initially made popular by psychologist Daniel Goleman. In his book written in the mid-’90s, Goleman identified 5 key pillars of EQ; 5 key characteristics of a person that determined their EQ.   

 

What are the 5 pillars of EQ? 

In short, they are Self Awareness, Self Regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social Skills.

 

Image for Ponderings
Image for Ponderings Magazine

Am I born with EQ, or can I develop the skills/characteristics? 

The answer is both. We are all born with different personalities and character traits. Some of us may possess the character traits of empathy and social skills as part of our natural person. These character traits are not black/white assets, rather sit on a spectrum of grey – like most things human! Some people will possess large amounts of empathy, others less.

Whether we are born with natural energy and motivation or not, we are born with a brain we can use to teach and train ourselves when we choose to set an intention.  

Why would I want to develop my Emotional Quotient? 

Since becoming popularised, much research has been conducted surrounding EQ. Having high EQ has been directly correlated with “success” in life, studies indicating that in some situations EQ can be much more important than IQ.

Defining success is difficult; however, I’m mainly referring to people who are happier, healthier and have functional relationships – these are the people who have a higher EQ than their unhappier counterparts. 

I also work with several organisations to help them recruit people based mainly on EQ because it is well recognised that people with high EQ make great teammates and leaders.

Being able to receive constructive feedback is a crucial skill of someone with EQ! 

 

How do I develop my EQ? 

By making a decision and setting an intention for yourself. Living intentionally is something I talk about A LOT (Just ask my students or clients – insert eye roll emoji here). If we don’t live intentionally, we can meander along a path that leads to who knows where? As humans, we can choose our behaviour, choose our attitude and choose our direction – why wouldn’t we decide to go in a positive direction for ourselves and those in relationship with us? 

If you want to develop your EQ, assess your character, attitude and behaviour in each of the 5 pillars – self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. 

If you want a truly objective assessment, ask your partner or closest friends/family for feedback! 

 

 

Once you have a realistic assessment, set some goals in each attitude and behaviour, of things you are going to choose to think and do. For example, to increase my empathy, I am going to choose to ask two work colleagues how they are, and genuinely listen and engage in their answer. 

Or to improve my social skills, I am going to choose to introduce myself, even though I don’t feel comfortable or natural doing that.

I could talk about this stuff for days! It is challenging to condense into a short article. If you would like to learn more about developing your EQ, head to my website where you can read/watch some more detailed blogs that will help you. Feel welcome to contact me if you would like me to come and speak at your next work or team event.  

 

 

Kristy Hunter For Ponderings Magazine

Written by Kristy Hunter -Guest Ponderer

Resolution Conflict Expert and Workplace Leadership Consultant

Kristy Hunter is the golden expert in conflict resolution and driver for emotional growth and wellbeing. A leadership mentor and workplace consultant, this is one no BS  authentic human and we welcome her to Ponderings.

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