Emotional Intelligence - We Want, Crave, Hurt, Love
We want, we crave, we hurt, and we love. Navigating the world around us without feelings is almost impossible. Navigating the world without acknowledging or controlling our temperament leads to problems. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is lovely and maybe painful for some. What we think of as intelligence does not necessarily equal emotional intelligence. A person can spend the time to earn multiple degrees, but if emotional intelligence is disregarded, it can set them back in many aspects of life. We all know fully “functional” adults that stir up issues and chaos for themselves everywhere they go because they are so overcome with feeling and disregard filters, can’t “read a room”, and release what I tend to label as an “emotional dump” all over the wrong people. I myself can admit doing some of these things on occasion when I was younger. Years of self-reflection and coming to terms with consequences of my vibrant emotional self has taught me more discretion and self awareness. In the workplace, this is essential to handle the waves of change and office politics.
Emotional intelligence is a term or concept popularized by researchers in the 1990s. This concept differs from general intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions. People who possess this trait also have the ability to understand and influence the emotions and behavior of others.
The first step to emotional intelligence is self-awareness.
I’m fascinated by self-awareness and the idea of manifesting grand ideas and personal development to create joy. So much can go astray when we don’t honor who we are fundamentally and when we don’t understand our wants and desires. We can choose the wrong partner, or go into debt with fancy degrees to have careers that aren’t aligned with who we are. Although our wants and desires may evolve over time, the key is to understand them and how they are connected to our current emotional state. Sensing feelings and then pausing to address them is an essential part of self-awareness. Some of us did not grow up in homes where it was acceptable to be emotional or we were neglected emotionally. These situations can cause emotional blockage, especially if there is no outlet for expression. Blocking feelings only acts as a temporary solution. These intense emotions may resurface in an unrelated situation and affect an unsuspecting victim. Reacting to the wrong person in the wrong place can continue an emotional rollercoaster.
The second step to emotional intelligence is self-management.
Self-management allows us to delay self-gratification. In a heightened emotional state, we want so badly to express ourselves in a way that is gratifying in the moment, but regretful later. Emotional intelligence is about owning and managing those raw feelings and carefully turning them into something beneficial. Take for example a time when you were angry. Recognize the energy of anger and transfer it into a powerful workout. Our interest in saying something vindictive or painful fades and we are back in our zone, managing ourselves appropriately.
When I was in my 20’s, I relied heavily on my friends, almost as if they were my therapist or counselor. I was often confused about certain situations because I didn’t have enough self-awareness and was very busy trying to please others. I would weigh down on them and decompress, venting about whatever I was going through. At the same time, I didn’t always honor them and show them how much I cared, which I did deeply. I was moving a mile a minute and my emotions were trying to keep up with whatever was going on. I was lacking in the emotional intelligence department, but was also smart and fairly accomplished at my age. I will confess that I may have pushed some people away because of my need to emotionally dump, but not give enough in return. Emotional intelligence would have taught me to read the room a little better and pick a better time and specific person or therapist to share with. These are the things we learn or the bridges we can burn if not careful.
Ways to succeed with emotional intelligence:
Have empathy - others will find you more attractive and be drawn to you if they know how greatly you care.
Speak person to person, listening carefully and thoughtfully.
Be able to label your feelings accurately in order to utilize the correct social skills.
Replace blame with a need to understand.
Give yourself grace - forgive yourself and do not be overly critical of your emotions. When you pause, reflect on them and where they derive from. Nurture them.
As we strive to live a full life, find a time and place for your feelings to thrive. Emotional Intelligence is alive and well if we take the time to master it. It allows us the ability to tackle stressful situations with ease and work with others in a way that inspires them. It is a wonderful way to lead and see the world.
I look forward to sharing the next two steps in Part 2.