God created us emotional beings after His own image; He experiences emotions and feelings. In Scripture, God is said to love, laugh, take delight, enjoy, and rejoice, be happy, as well as be any, and jealous. To be created in His image means to have and express emotions and feelings. Allowing ourselves to have and experience the broad range of God given emotions and feelings, gives us the experience of being fully human; being fully alive. Just as each of us has a level of intellectual capacity, which can be measured by our intelligence quotient or IQ, so each of us has an emotional intelligence or EQ.
God’s Design and Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the capability of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve one’s goals.  Many Psychologists today believe emotional intelligence is a stinger indicator of life’s satisfaction and success than intelligence quotient. Studies have shown that people with high EQ have greater mental health, job performance, and leadership skills. 
Emotions and feelings are neither right or wrong, they are not sinful in and of themselves, they just exist. The problem can arise when we start to judge ourselves or others for having feelings; everyone has the right to feel what they feel. Feelings are there for a reason; our feelings are important indicators that something is going on within us that needs to be addressed and not ignored. The problem arises when we choose to deal with our emotions in hurtful or sinful ways, toward ourselves or others. The other problem we get into is when we do not allow ourselves to fully experience our feelings or emotions, but instead engage in suppression. Suppression is when we stop ourselves from thinking about something or feeling something which causes emotional discomfort. We suppress our feelings by pushing them down or pushing them away from our conscious awareness as a means of self-protection. This can be due to several reasons: we are afraid of what will happen if we allow ourselves to feel emotional loss or pain; we see it as a sign of weakness; it could be the way we were raised not to express our feelings, so we learn to bottle them up; we feel a false sense of control; or we may believe no one cares about how we feel. Suppression may be a viable short-term solution to dealing with painful feelings; but with negative psychological and physiological effects. While we may not be consciously aware of the emotion we have suppressed, it is still affects both our behavior and our body. “What you resist, persists.” C. G. Jung. 
The following are some long-term negative effects of emotional suppression as a means of coping with unwanted painful emotions and feelings: mental exhaustion, poor sleeping patterns, memory problems, weight gain, high blood pressure, digestive problems, ulcers, anxiety, depression, interpersonal and relational difficulties and more….The other problem with suppressing our negative and painful emotions it that interferes with us experiencing positive emotions. When we suppress our emotions we may find ourselves saying the following: I feel numb, I don’t feel anything; everything is fine-nothing is wrong (denial); we avoid discussing the topic of our suppression; we avoid going places which reminds us of our painful feelings or we refuse to engage in those relationships again. 
Primary and Secondary Emotions
We have both primary and secondary emotions. Primary emotions are our initial, gut reaction to a situation. They can be adaptive or maladaptive. If we encounter a threatening situation, we feel fear; if we hear of the loss of a loved one, we feel sadness. Primary emotions are instinctual and occur without much thought. They are quick to arrive and quick to leave; as soon as the situation producing the emotion has disappeared, the primary emotion fades. Secondary emotions, on the other hand, are our reaction to our emotions. We have feelings about our feelings. We may feel afraid of our anger or ashamed of our fear. With secondary emotions, we are judging and/or trying to control our primary emotions. The problem when we judge our primary emotions is that it adds another layer to our suffering. 
Adaptive and Maladaptive Emotions
Emotions can be either adaptive, valuable to our survival and well-being or maladaptive and a source of difficulty. Adaptive primary emotions are those emotions which fit the current situation and prepare us for action in getting our needs met. The following are examples of adaptive primary emotions: sadness at loss that seeks out comfort; fear at threat, enabling us the action of seeking safety; anger at violation, causing us to set protective boundaries in the future; grief in reaction to loss, enabling us to grieve, let go and move on; and hopelessness over unmet needs, allowing us to move toward acceptance. On the other hand, maladaptive primary emotions are more of a reflection of unresolved emotional issues from the past, rather than a reaction to the present circumstances we encounter. They do not help us prepare for adaptive action nor getting our needs met in the present. They once served a function at adapting to aversive circumstances when we were a child, but today, no longer serve an adaptive function and actually interfere with us functioning in an adaptive manner. Often, these maladaptive feelings are our core woundedness, feelings that rise when we get triggered from similar situations we experienced as children. Some examples of maladaptive primary emotions are sadness over feeling abandoned an/or neglected; shame and humiliation; destructive anger and rage; unresolved grief over perceived loss and unmet needs; feeling unlovable and worthless. We can feel stuck and helpless in these emotions which cause us a lot of pain and emotional suffering. 
Identifying Emotions and Feelings
Sometimes, we can have the best of intentions, wanting to acknowledge and face our painful emotions but all we are aware of is feeling upset; we do not know exactly what we are feeling, nor are we able to label our feeling we are experiencing. One reason we have difficulty identifying what we are feeling is if we grew up in an emotionally invalidating environment. This is where the expression of our internal emotional world was met with disapproval; dismissing our experience. Our painful emotions were disregarded as being trivial and not met with validation for what we were feeling. The problem of living in an emotionally invalidating environment is that it teaches us that we are wrong for having our feelings and causes us not to be able to recognize what is causing our emotions. We were told that what we were feeling was due to something being wrong with us; we were either over emotional, over reacting, had a distorted view of a situation or failed at adopting a positive attitude. As a result, our private experiences and emotional expressions were not viewed as acceptable responses to events we encountered. We learned early on, not to show any display of negative emotion in public, the problem is, because we learned to shut our feelings down and not be in touch with what we were feeling, the positive displays of emotion was also shut down. We learned to numb and suppress what we were feeling, quickly leading us to no longer be in touch with what we were feeling. While we still felt emotion, we were no longer able to identify what we were experiencing. We learned not to trust the interpretation of our experience in the world and private internal emotional responses. By doing so, we invalidated our own internal emotional experiences and instead, looked outside of ourselves to the others in our environment, for how we should think, feel and behave.  Internalizing our feelings as being invalid, we do not share with others our internal world of feelings for fear inconveniencing others. The problem arises when our belief system prevents us from communicating our wants and desires. We are left not standing up for ourselves nor getting our needs met. An imbalance occurs where we become a social chameleon, just trying to blend into the social background, so as not to stand out; as if there were something wrong with us for having needs, wants or feelings.
The solution to our internalization of emotional invalidation is to first become aware of our invalidating belief system. Once we are aware, then we can learn how to live an emotionally validating lifestyle; increasing our emotional intelligence. Living in an emotionally validating lifestyle begins with learning how to recognize what we are feeling. We want to increase our awareness of our primary emotions and reduce our secondary emotions. Remember, our secondary emotions are often our judgements about our primary emotions. Learning to have an acceptance attitude toward our primary emotions, allowing them to be, is the beginning of this process. How do we begin to recognize our primary emotions when we have lived a life time of suppressing and invalidating our emotions? One of the ways we can do this is to pay attention to what is happening in our bodies.
Emotions and Physiological Responses
Research has shown a link between our emotions and our physiological responses. The limbic system is the part of the brain responsible for basic emotional processes and governs many physiological processes; affecting physical health, immune system and body organs.  Each primary emotion creates body sensations. Anger creates tension in the jaw, face, neck, shoulder, back, arms and legs. Fear creates increased heart rate and rapid breathing. We may experience butterflies in our stomach and/or increased tension in our chest and shoulders. We may experience dry mouth. Sadness creates a pressure, lump or heavy, achy feeling in our stomach, chest, or throat. We may experience pressure or tension in our face. Joy creates a bubbling up experience of energy in our abdomen; a spaciousness in our chest and shoulders; a lightness in our face. We experience our feelings in our body; turning into the physical sensations in our body can help us identify what we may be feeling. We often experience more than one feeling at a time which can get complicated. But if we begin with identifying our primary emotions and go from there, we will be in a good position to be able to identify our primary emotions in the future. 
Since we hold our feelings in different body parts, it can be helpful for us, when we are having difficulty identifying what we are feeling, to quiet our body down for a few moments. As we do this, we can ask ourselves; What am I experiencing in my body right now? Then ask ourselves; What am I feeling emotionally right now? As we begin to become aware of what we are feeling, it is important that we do not attach any judgements to what we are feeling, but allow them just to be as they are in the moment. As we get a general sense of what we are feeling, next ask ourselves the following questions: Where in my body do I feel this emotion? What shape and color would I give it? What image or word picture captures my feeling right now? As we give concrete descriptions to our emotions and feelings, this helps us to identify and name them.  As we do so, we learn to become in touch with what we are feeling in any one moment. The more we practice this exercise, the more comfortable we will become in identifying our feelings. As we learn to identify our emotions and feelings, it will be important for us not to fall into our default mode of invalidating our experience, but instead, for us to hold an open stance of acceptance toward all of our internal experiences.
Below is a wheel chart with primary emotions, branching out to other feelings associated with our primary emotions. Emotion and feeling charts can help us identify and put words to what we are experiencing. The Feelings Wheel, developed by Dr. Gloria Wilcox, is a helpful resource to help us identify our emotions and feelings. In the center of the Circle the main feelings are identified as being: Sad, Mad, Scared, Joyful, Powerful and Peaceful. This can help us identify the root of our feelings. From these we can branch out into more specific feelings. We can either work from the inner circle outwards or from the outer circle towards the center.