Did you ever think back on some of the important decisions you made in your life and wonder "What was I thinking?" or "Did I really do that and why?". It could be that not using your emotional intelligence may be to blame for those bad decisions and actions. Emotional Intelligence has become the new catch phrase for self-awareness. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is essentially the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in an effective and positive way. A high EQ helps individuals to communicate better, reduce their anxiety and stress, defuse conflicts, improve relationships, empathize with others, and helps with effectively being able to overcome life's challenges. Our emotional intelligence profoundly impacts the quality of our life since EQ profoundly influences how we behave and the quality of our relationships. EQ is synonymous with self-awareness because self-awareness, as with EQ, enables us to live our lives with intention, purpose, and autonomy.Many of us move through life making important decisions based on our current circumstances that many of us perceive are beyond our ability to change in the first place-- therefore limiting our options and solutions. Taking the time to reflect upon how we “feel” about our decisions and examining “why” we decide to do what we do enables us to lead lives that are determined by our conscious intentions rather than circumstances alone.
Developing self-awareness and/or EQ can greatly influence our success in life. This is not to say that our personal situations and/or our intelligence are not factors as well, however EQ and self-awareness can profoundly impact our choices by creating options we may not have otherwise imaged or considered to be possibilities for us in the first place. Below are some ways in which you can cultivate and increase your EQ:
1. Self-awareness. This is the ability to label, recognize, and understand your own emotions. Self-awareness requires us to “tune in” to our feelings and not avoid our negative emotions such as anxiety, fear and sadness. Recognizing our own emotional states and how they affect our thoughts, behaviors, and decisions is the key to cultivating self-awareness.
2. Emotional-regulation. Emotional-regulation has to do with our ability to control strong emotions by “not acting on” raw feelings in an impulsive or destructive manner. Developing the ability to “sit with” unpleasant feelings and to give our self the time and space to decide how we may alleviate or reduce negative feelings cultivates self-confidence in our ability to make thoughtful and intentional decisions. Emotional-regulation also helps us develop the ability to consider various solutions to a particular situation/problem. Not reacting solely from an emotionally charged state results in better decision-making outcomes.
3. Empathy. When we empathize with others we develop deeper and more intimate relationships. Empathy is the ability to recognize how and why people feel the way they do. Empathy allows us to anticipate how our actions and behaviors influence other people as well as our own. Developing empathy skills enhances our experiences, relationships, and general understanding of ourselves, other people and the world around us.
4. Social skills. This is a very broad term. In general having strong social skills means having the ability to communicate in a clear, concise, and courteous manner. In a nutshell, good social skills is the summation of all of the components of EQ; self-awareness, emotional-regulation, and empathy.
I would like to hear from you. What are your thoughts about EQ? Do you feel EQ is important? How to you think EQ can help improve your life and/or relationships?