- Welcome My Lovely Friend
- What Is Emotional Intelligence?
- Emotional Intelligence Is Strongly Linked With Empathy
- Controlling Your Emotions
- The Importance Of Developing Emotional Intelligence
- Using Emotional Intelligence To Resolve Issues
- Is Being Emotionally Intelligent Innate?
- Companies Now Look For EQ In Job Applicants
- Empathy Is A Main Component Of Emotional Intelligence
- 7 Ways To Supercharge Your Emotional Intelligence
Welcome My Lovely Friend
Ever wondered why some people handle situations better than others? It’s because they are more in tune with their emotions. In this post I’ll share 7 Ways To Supercharge Your Emotional Intelligence, helping you be in touch with your emotions and have empathy for others.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Although it has been around for a while, mainly related to work environments, Emotional Intelligence, also referred to as EQ, is a phrase you may hear used more regularly in the future.
It’s a really interesting concept and one that is very beneficial for us all to learn, understand, and hopefully adopt. Many people, including you, may already have this ‘super power’ but didn’t know the name of it.
According to Dr’s Goleman and Boyatzis there are 4 categories of emotional intelligence: Self Awareness, Self Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management.
Being emotionally intelligent is not so much about being smart, which is what we would normally associate with intelligence.
Rather, someone who is emotionally intelligent is able to and not afraid of, expressing their emotions without resorting to ranting and raving.
They are in tune with their emotions and know how to handle them…but they also understand the importance of why they feel them.
Being emotionally strong allows you to deal easily with much of the crap that life throws at you. You still have strong feelings about things, but you don’t burst into tears every five minutes or become aggressive.
In other words, you are in control of your emotions, but not afraid to feel them.
Emotional Intelligence Is Strongly Linked With Empathy
What is empathy? Well, in simple terms it means being non-judgmental, seeing the other person’s perspective, being aware of the person’s emotion, and the ability to communicate your understanding of their emotion.
Technically there are 3 types of empathy:
Cognitive Empathy – the ability to understand the other person’s point of view by seeing their perspective.
Emotional Empathy – the ability to feel what another feels. This sensation can be overwhelming as it’s a strong emotion.
Empathic Concern – A deep ability to understand the person’s situation which moves us emotionally to help them.
While emotional and cognitive empathy are common, empathic (compassionate) empathy allows you to become involved with, but not lose yourself, in the other person’s situation, leading to effective understanding.
In general, when you have empathy you have all 3 of these rolled into 1. You don’t distinguish between them.
You can deeply ‘feel’ what people are going through. You are strong enough to understand and help where needed, and remain logical about the best ways to achieve that.
Controlling Your Emotions
I’m a highly sensitive introverted person (related post). I can get very upset over stories of war, oppression and the terrible hardships people around the world are experiencing. My empathy reaction is so strong that it actually hurts.
But other than discussing it logically with anyone who wants to hear, I don’t resort to tears, tantrums or rage.
Don’t get me wrong, I truly experience those emotions…who wouldn’t? But, thankfully for all those around me, I can deal with my reactions logically rather than start metaphorically tossing chairs!
It wasn’t always this way.
I remember a time when I was absolutely NOT in control of these emotions. Lashing out verbally (not literally) would have been my very unintelligent way to express myself.
The truth is that some human behavior is infuriating to me!
How we treat animals, the damage we knowingly do to the planet (our only planet) and the inexplicable cruelty some humans inflict on others of our species is mind-blowing and deserves everyone’s anger.
But, thankfully over the years I have come to realize that ‘tossing chairs’ or any other angry or aggressive behavior, not only doesn’t solve anything, it also doesn’t help my emotional state.
The Importance Of Developing Emotional Intelligence
The ability to understand and control your emotions is more important in life than you may realize.
It’s not just so you can benefit from being more emotionally stable. It also helps you understand how other people may be feeling and why.
We are all exposed to situations within our families, personal relationships with partners and friends that can be emotional and taxing.
I’m sure you have experienced people who are NOT being emotionally intelligent…including yourself at times.
Who hasn’t shouted a few choice words at the driver in front? He/she can’t hear you, but guess what, you’ve succeeded in upsetting yourself!
BTW, sad statistic…road rage contributes to a huge amount of violence world-wide, particularly in western countries.
Makes you think twice before losing your cool. It’s a very good reason to be emotionally intelligent.
What about yelling at your laptop and threatening to frisbee it out of the window.
Ok…I’ll give you that one. We all KNOW it sometimes deserves it!!
Or, how about these…
The thug in the local bar who’s abusive even when he’s not drunk.
The mother who screams swear words at her 3-year-old when it’s obvious that he’s too young to fully grasp what he’s done wrong.
Guess what life lesson he’s going to learn!
The shopper berating the assistant for not having a dress in her size…really! like it’s her fault.
Or a boss raging at an employee instead of speaking calmly and explaining what’s required with respect and dignity.
Yes, super cringeworthy.
All these are examples of not handing emotions in an intelligent way, and very unpleasant for others who witness them.
Then, you may see a mother quietly explaining to her exasperatingly annoying child about why he should behave differently, and miraculously the child behaves.
She is demonstrating emotional intelligence. She knows instinctively that screaming at him won’t solve the issue, so she stays calm, and in the process passes on a valuable lesson to her child.
He will likely learn the skills of emotional intelligence ‘by example’.
Using Emotional Intelligence To Resolve Issues
Being emotionally intelligent often involves being aware of more subtle cues, a person’s non-verbal behavior.
Like reading their body language, listening for what they don’t say, as much as what they do say.
Once you start to practice this, you will easily pick up on the emotional state of others, leading to more empathy, and a much better understanding of human nature, including your own.
When you can deal with situations in an emotionally intelligent way, not only can it help you to recognize and diffuse potentially volatile situations, but you will also remain calm while doing so.
This valuable skill helps to protect your own peace of mind and can help to calm others.
As infuriating as it may be for someone who is upset, it’s difficult to remain angry with someone who is quietly and calmly trying to help them resolve their problem.
By the way, suggesting that they ‘calm down’ seldom works!
Better that you ask them if you have understood their problem correctly by relating back to them what they told you.
When you get confirmation, then you can suggest solutions.
Oddly, the exercise of the person agreeing that you understand the situation often has the effect of calming them. Maybe hearing it out loud somehow diminishes the seriousness or urgency in their mind.
Is Being Emotionally Intelligent Innate?
I would like to say yes to this question and I’m sure for some it comes naturally.
But for most of us, once we understand the concept it is a conscious decision to develop it.
However, that doesn’t automatically lead to us handling situations with our emotions under control. It’s a skill that needs to be developed like any other.
Ever been in a work environment where a colleague appears to have the ability to communicate with, and motivate others in a naturally supportive way?
It makes you instantly respect them.
Sadly, this behavior isn’t as common as we would like to think it is. Many of us have to learn to be emotionally intelligent.
People like this are very often promoted to management positions and it’s obvious why.
Once you recognize emotional intelligence you understand, whereas your colleagues without this awareness will not, and invariable resent that person’s advancement.
A strong indicator of someone who is emotionally intelligent is when they use words like:
I understand how you ‘feel’, or I’d like to speak ‘with’ you, as opposed to talk to you. Also, how can ‘we resolve’ this issue?
These are empathetic approaches and overall, they portray a respect and understanding for people. They notice the non-verbal cues.
Those without empathetic skills don’t notice them and don’t care.
Companies Now Look For EQ In Job Applicants
If you’re still in the workforce, this fact may interest you.
Times have changed from the days when having a nice personality, showing your intelligence and job experience may have been enough.
Now, many companies are preferring to hire applicants who obviously have a developed EQ over those with just the required qualifications and IQ.
What many companies now want to see is how emotionally intelligent people can demonstrate the ability to:
Empathy is critical to understanding the behavior of others. You can often pick up on non-verbal cues such as facial expressions or hand gestures.
This allows you not only to recognize the emotional state of others, but also be able to put yourself in their shoes, helping you to better decide how you will respond. It can result in the development of trust and respect – both in work and social environments.
Control Their Own Emotions.
Being self-aware and managing your own emotions and reactions, which includes being realistic about your abilities. Thinking before you react so as to respond appropriately to the situation.
This mindset can keep stop you from panicking, keeping you safe in a potentially life-threatening event where a clear head is essential. Obviously, certain professions will require this.
Be Socially Aware
Once again, an empathetic approach to others will help build strong social connections and rapport with work colleagues and friends. You will pick up on social cues, be a good listener, and fit in more easily in social gatherings.
Have Personal Motivation
Taking control over your life. Choosing to achieve without pressure from others to do so. Your driving force is usually the need to succeed to fulfill a dream, vision, or goal in your life, and not necessarily motivated only by money.
This can serve you well in a work environment, often recognized as management qualities which can lead to promotion.
Empathy Is A Main Component Of Emotional Intelligence
I believe that empathy is a hard-wired human emotion. There are some individuals among us who appear to have no empathy towards others…but for the most part they are in the minority.
Most normal people don’t like to hear about, or witness the suffering of other humans or animals.
Empathy is a distinctly human emotion.
Animals don’t show empathy. Particularly wild animals…maybe with the exception of elephants. They appear to feel for their herd members, often spending hours staying near the body or bones of a fallen companion.
Usually though, animals are more wired towards survival and most of their behaviors can be attributed to that.
Strangely, we like to superimpose human traits onto animals but that’s because WE identify with it and not because they feel it.
However, it could be argued that this may actually be possible to some degree in our closest animal companions…our pets. (related post)
It’s obvious that dogs, cats and even pet parrots feel emotions for us. They certainly show concern and are aware when we need them which is wonderfully comforting.
This could be something that has developed due to our close relationship with them over countless generations.
But it’s unlikely to be the deep, and sometimes incredibly painful understanding of what a human or animal is suffering through, either emotionally or physically. Animal brains just don’t work that way.
That depth of emotion is reserved for humans…and at times it can be wonderful, or almost unbearable.
Here’s a strange fact…
On some occasions, empathy can also reach a level where we can attribute human suffering to inanimate objects.
Sounds ridiculous, but have you ever felt sorry for something that’s being replaced, eg: your faithful old car now that you have a new one.
Or feel guilty for throwing out your faithful old sweater. I know…very odd but more common than people like to admit.
7 Ways To Supercharge Your Emotional Intelligence
We all know that life in general can be a challenge, but I find aspects of midlife particularly challenging.
Whether it’s enduring the seemingly never-ending symptoms of menopause while juggling our daily interactions with loved ones. Maybe finding ways to counter feelings of anxiety, loneliness…or being faced with deciding what to do next in life.
Developing your EQ (if you haven’t already done so) can make a huge difference, benefiting your physical, mental and spiritual health, and boosting social and work interactions.
1. Practice Mindfulness
This is the art of being ‘in the moment’ and tuning in to what’s going an around you. Making a conscious effort to relax, to de-stress and be genuinely curious about people, life and events.
This will help to take your mind away from other problem issues…even if it’s only temporary. Being mindful is a conscious decision.
2. Find Humor In Situations
Practice seeing and appreciating the funny side of life, and let’s face it, life can be pretty ridiculous at times. If you’re open to it, funny things happen all around us.
Like our neighbor’s dog that keeps running into the glass door chasing the cat…doesn’t hurt himself but he never learns and the cat knows it!
Allowing yourself to giggle at stupid things is quite liberating. It’s like training yourself to see humor everywhere…better than always seeing problems.
3. Ask Someone About their Problems
It’s not something we often want to involve ourselves with. But, if you know there’s an issue, make a point of asking if you can help from a genuinely empathetic standpoint.
You may be surprised at how grateful the person is to have you to talk to, and you will be rewarded with a true feeling of goodwill.
4. View Difficulties As Opportunities
Challenge yourself to take a different view of problems. Decide that rather than see the problem, you will proactively find a solution. It doesn’t have to be perfect…but just making the effort to fix the issue can be emotionally liberating.
5. Delve Deep Into Your Emotions
Your emotions are an important part of who you are, and they play a vital role. Sometimes it can feel like it would be great if they ‘took a day off’ and gave you a rest!
But, taking the time to really explore them, to be honest about how and why you feel certain ways about aspects of your life, is an important process of self-discovery. It can lead to emotional resilience.
This also helps you better understand other people’s emotions and problems they may be facing. It’s developing your Empathy.
6. Face Your Emotional Fears
Once you get used to confronting your emotions, including the scary ones, you will start to realize that you can face other aspects of life that worry you. This is likely to result in your ability to confront whatever is thrown at you in the future.
7. Develop A Holistic Approach
Your emotions affect your mind, body and your spirit. We are all of these things all the time. This is what holistic means. It can’t be avoided…it’s all connected.
So, by understanding and acknowledging your feelings, and learning to not only respect, but also controlling how you react to them.
This leads to the ability to control feelings such as stress, anger, resentment, and sadness allowing you to stay in tune with your mind-body-spirit connection.
Congratulations! You have supercharged your Emotional Intelligence.
Your reward will be a more balanced life, more compassion for yourself and others, and to feel more emotionally stable. You can handle anything!
I really hope you found this post helpful.
We humans are so complex. We can be cruel, savage even. We can also deeply empathize with the pain and suffering of others. We can and do, go to extraordinary lengths to help those in need when the chips are down.
And all this is possible even without a well developed EQ.
But learning to embrace your emotional intelligence adds another wonderful dimension to being human.
For me, EQ was something I badly needed to develop. I have always been sensitive and empathetic, but not always behaving like a responsible adult and controlling my emotions. It’s embarrassing now I think back.
Developing my emotional intelligence changed my behavior so much that it has helped enormously in my decision to become a Health Coach (related post)
Learning to calmly and quietly listen without judgement and to use my intuition, enables me to help my clients reach deep within themselves to find their own answers.
But beyond that, it allowed me to calmly cope with those times in life where my emotions are put to the test…and it will do the same for you.
As always, I appreciate your comments.