If I had to pick just one relationship superpower for the top of my list…a heavy hitter that would get you the most bang for your buck in the arena of love and life, it would be this: Emotional Fluency (a.k.a Omnilingualism of the heart).
Now I know this is a mouthful, but hear me out. The research of pretty much everyone (John Gottman, Brene Brown, The Harvard Study of Adult Development, and you name it) clearly demonstrates that your ability to access, tolerate and act from a vast repertoire of emotions will more accurately predict your success in life than your IQ. Your ability to communicate your feelings with skill and nuance will afford you a more fruitful relationship, better health, healthier children, and longer life.
Omnilingualism of the heart–the power to learn, speak, and understand all emotional languages fluently is critical. The challenge is, most of us grow up mastering only a handful of emotions. We are fluent in anger or perhaps default habitually to fear. We rally for happiness and reluctantly indulge our sorrows, relegating sadness to funerals, and the occasional half-hearted therapy session. We become emotional one-trick ponies who are vulnerable to shutting down or aggressively dominating the tone of our interactions with others. Our family members walk on eggshells around us–or, we walk on eggshells around our family members. It’s not sustainable and toxic stuff.
The good news is becoming masterful in a range of emotions is doable. All it takes is a willingness to risk/show up/be seen even if you flounder (which you will from time-to-time). It’s a conscious choice to cultivate a practice. One that will benefit you, your children, and generations to come.