It can be argued that human behavior is largely determined by the effect of emotion on thinking; in fact this question has been debated by philosophers for centuries and by psychologists for many decades. Of course we would like to believe that we behave reasonably, based on mature thinking; but not so fast. Ask yourself whether that is always true for you. If you’re honest, you’ll recognize that your habits, actions and choices are often directed by emotion. This is probably true for all people, at least a good deal of the time. Thus, it will be wise for anyone who wishes to succeed in any sphere of living – at home, at work and in other social settings – to develop this thing that we call emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence – also known as emotional quotient, or EQ – is the capacity to sense what you are feeling, to put those feelings into words, and to sense and to verbalize the feelings of others. It also includes the knowledge and skill to regulate your emotions if they might negatively affect you or others. In general emotional intelligence is the ability to put your ego to bed, so that you can be sensitive to others, and to tune in to what you are actually feeling – not what you think you ‘should’ or ‘should not’ feel.
Anyone who wants good personal relationships should care about this. The reason is that, in personal relationships, more than in any other aspect of our lives, emotion is the leading energy. This can be a good thing, and it can also create problems. Cultivating emotional intelligence can help us navigate and resolve those problems.
So, how does emotional intelligence work? What’s it all about? For one thing, emotional intelligence, if you don’t possess it naturally, is a skill that can be learned. Let’s look at a few of the skills associated with it:
Self-awareness – the ability to spot and name your emotions
To expand on the principle of self-awareness, the emotionally intelligent person has at her disposal an emotional vocabulary which empowers her to accurately express the emotion she is experiencing. For example, when a person or situation has bothered her, rather than saying something general, such as, ‘I’m mad’, she will name the emotion specifically. If she’s not very angry, she might say she is irritated, annoyed or just upset. If she is quite angry, she might say she is enraged or furious. As you build your emotional vocabulary, you will be able to tell what you’re feeling, to express yourself to others, and to accept respectfully the feelings of others. As a result, you will have confidence in your perceptions and your judgments. You will feel the great relief of being honest about what you are actually feeling and having the courage to express it freely.
The sensitivity to know when an emotion is taking charge of your thinking, prompting you to make poor decisions
Knowing how to use your emotions to motivate you toward virtuous and productive actions
Understanding the connection – the mind-body connection – between your emotions and the other parts of your consciousness: your five senses – your thinking and beliefs – your behaviors, habits and choices
The ability to use the mind-body connection in order to regulate emotions
Understanding and being empathic to the emotions of others. This includes the capacity to observe their non-verbal behavior and to respond to it appropriately, rather than jumping to conclusions or assuming.
If you want the people you love to feel close to you … if you want to motivate an employee to do his best … if you want to be a support to people in need … if you have difficulty expressing yourself, resulting in frustration, sadness or anxiety … it will be wise to cultivate emotional intelligence.
So, here’s the key question. Can a person learn emotional intelligence? The answer is yes. It involves changing some life-long habits of behavior and thinking, and so you may need a little coaching to help you get started. If you’d like to do so, please feel free to call (219) 309-3928. It would be an honor to be of service.
For some additional thoughts click The Mother of Emotions
Thanks for reading!