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Emotional Enlightenment: Managing Feelings for Success Paperback – May 5, 2012
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About the Author
Jane Birdsell has been a Nursing Instructor, a Public Health Nurse, and a mother of two children. After her children started school, she obtained a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Calgary. For 25 years, she worked as a psychologist conducting her own private counselling practice and teaching Personal Development Seminars. At The University of Calgary, Division of Continuing Education, she taught a course for 18 years called Understanding Self-Esteem: A Discussion and Information Course for Women. She also taught Enhancing Personal and Professional Effectiveness (for men and women) for 14 years.
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Top Customer Reviews
My biggest issue with the book is that it focuses on emotions and not temperament. Chapter Two defines the Primary Emotions as Fear, Anger, Sadness and Happiness and then in Chapter Four Birdsell reverts to the six emotions of Darwin’s Biological Theory of Emotions: Fear, Surprise, Anger, Disgust, Sadness, and Happiness. The six emotions are particularly defined in terms of facial expressions.
I must confess I still have much difficulty with the Six Emotions/Facial Expressions model. I have done Paul Ekman’s course, failed miserably and this week during another Emotional Intelligence course that spent 90 minutes on facial expressions failed again. The only cheering news about this failure is the research from the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Glasgow, published in February 2014. The research asked the observers to characterize the faces based on those six basic emotions, and found that anger and disgust looked very similar to the observers in the early stages, as did fear and surprise. As the number of observations rose, people could eventually make the the distinction between the two, but when the emotion first hit, the face signals are very similar, suggesting, the researchers say, that the distinction between anger and disgust and between surprise and fear, is socially, not biologically based. This gives me some hope.
However the same situation can give rise to different emotions. Suppose you are driving on a winding road by the edge of a high cliff, you may be concerned about the danger of the road. Your passenger, on the other hand, perhaps thinks about the beauty of the view. You will probably feel frightened, while your passenger may feel joy. I would suggest that temperament is the cause of the difference. In the case of the driver, the Doublechecker component is more dominant, while in the case of the passenger it would be the Mover or Artist component.
On the other hand the final chapters of the book are some of the most useful I have read in the area of emotional intelligence as Birdsell channels Stephen Covey by focusing on empathic listening “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood”. When instead of responding to another person with advice and suggestions, Birsell says it is much better to say nothing and concentrate on walking in the other person’s shoes. She notes that the mere act of silence is often enough to lift the speaker out of his or her self-inflicted misery. Also instead of reacting with recommendations, it is much better ask “feeling” questions or make sympathetic statements such as that must have been overwhelming.
Another part of the book I really enjoyed were the cartoons at the beginning of each chapter. They are easily the best collection of Emotional Intelligence cartoons ever made. They were worth the price of the book alone.
The author suggests our minds are sophisticated in how we learn to repress our emotional reality, such that our cognitive coping strategies sometimes come at the expense of emotional process. The author emphasizes the importance of open-minded listening and self-acceptance in lieu of remediation and problem-solving. The examples provided make otherwise abstract concepts much more tangible. The end result is edifying, insightful, and very readable.
A great flight companion that offers a simple way to reconnect from a friendly, accessible voice. I might suggest an especially good resource if one is facing something emotionally precarious or unexpected (e.g. a difficult family encounter).
A copy of this book has become my favorite gift to give friends who have adult children with extended families, and they have all gone on to purchase one or more copies to improve their families' communication. When you read this book you will want everyone else to have read it too, so that you have a common set of skills that will allow greater understanding of each other.
The feedback I have received about the positive impact of this book has been incredible.
The author shares her insights and wisdom in an accessible and direct manner while leaving the reader feeling empowered. What more could one ask?
I think a good companion to this book is Super Brain by Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi
Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being