I am intrigued about the inner worlds of people- their emotions, thoughts, motivations. I am passionate about helping to grow inner resources that lead to resilience and a sustained sense of well-being.
That is why I love the work I do! I have been teaching emotional intelligence for 16 years, developing curriculum and facilitating workshops in China and Canada. Pretty early on, I started to believe that I was becoming supremely emotionally intelligent, on the basis of dispensing emotionally intelligent advice on a daily basis. The epitome of emotional intelligence embodied in human form, if you will.
Then I got pregnant. And congratulated my unborn child on winning the lottery of having a highly emotionally intelligent mother.
Then, the baby arrived. And my emotional intelligence departed. Like my other lovely things (party dresses! impractical shoes! white sweaters!), I couldn't seem to figure out how one might apply it to everyday parenting life. I got overwhelmed by stress, frustration and worries. I yelled. I snapped. I slammed doors.
From this (huge) little identity crisis I came to wonder about an emotional landscape that may be unique and specific to parenthood. That perhaps navigating emotional life as a parent required a different relationship with emotions... and different strategies and tools for emotional awareness and regulation. I also felt an urgency to help create a world where helping kids understand and cope with how they feel and value the feelings of others around them was as important and commonplace as teaching them math and literacy.
That's why I am researching self-conscious emotions in parenthood, at the University of British Columbia. I am interested in how shame and guilt may help or hinder the parent-child relationship, and a parent's capacity for learning and growth.
I fiercely believe in Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and mindfulness as keys towards successful and happy future generations, and a kinder world. We need to be explicit and intentional about helping children and their caregivers grow social and emotional skills at home and in the classroom. I work with family support groups, early childhood educators and school teachers, mobilizing the research on emotional intelligence and child development to help develop programs that promote emotional competence, resilience and well-being of adults and the children they care for.
I live in the beautiful city of Vancouver with my partner and 2 children, whom I love dearly and bring me lots of joy. But. Who also challenge my emotional intelligence Every. Single. Day.
A 7 minute presentation of my research, as part of the Public Scholars Initiative at the University of British Columbia.
An interview with me on the topic of Letting Go, in the personal development docuseries Mirror.