People who are emotionally intelligent are seriously sexy. Fluency with one’s emotional life defines our ability to master most other life experiences. Being constantly caught between fight or flight is not flattering, and sadly our sex appeal bears its weight. Although many of us are not well trained in emotional cognition, our own or someone else’s, there are two basic skill sets that are both easily accessible and developmental, which means you can get better at them. The first skill is developing the capacity and the curiosity to feel a wide range of emotions, the second is increasing our emotional language to identify and express what we feel.
It is not surprising that so many of us sacrifice our sexiness to the unwieldy and unpredictable waves of our emotional life. One of the defining characteristics of childhood is the propensity to be easily overcome by our feelings. Arguably it is the immensity of our capacity to feel that generates the storehouse of our memories of those early years. And as frightening as typical tantrums are for adults to witness, it is nothing more than emotions flooding the banks of our capacity to hold our feelings. Children who are schooled early in opening up to feelings and finding names to express them reflect meaningful differences in maturity between kids.
The longer we go without developing these skills, the more that the feeling experience gets locked into us as a fight or flight response. There is no real avoidance of the emotional life. Ironically, the more we can just attend to it, listen to the messages it is conveying, the quicker the experience moves through us. Emotional repression is a literal cage because we are forced to embody everything we refuse. Trying to relate to people who are carrying caged emotions is very tricky. Invisible triggers abound when we are burdened by our historic emotional life. It is hard to discern who we are in the moment and intimate connections are easily muddled without this freedom of presence.
For many people, anger is the most accessible cloak for our complex emotional life, which weighs us down when it is not felt and expressed. It is not a stretch to witness our cultural acceptance of violence as the trap door through which we shove the wide range of grief, fear, anxiety and sadness that life exacts. It is hard to feel truly sexy under the burden of anger because our sexuality triggers many of our most primal responses. When we are afraid to feel anything but anger, we might be able to mount a passionate beginning to intimacy but are probably not able to see it through to the healing love we crave.
The sexiest quality in the world resonates from the self assurance that comes through emotional self mastery. This kind of confidence comes when we lean towards our emotional life as a window into our most grounded wisdom. Our emotions deserve more of our attention not only because they are the most legitimate messengers of our experience, but because learning their language makes you able to be fully present at the moments you most want to be close. Deep lasting sexiness is able to hold a vast container of emotions without running away or rejection. You don’t have to be good at it, you just have to want to know it. Just the simple recognition of how something feels and giving it a name is where to start. Not only will your sexiness factor jump to new levels, but your newfound capacity for emotional cognition will make you a life worth feeling.