The Importance of Emotional Intelligence
What is Emotional Intelligence?
It is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
What does it look like?
Those with high emotional intelligence are unlikely to trust their first impulses. They are more likely to question their initial emotion and dig deeper to find the root of their reaction to a given situation. This can then adjust their behavioral reactions.
Where does it come from?
Emotional Intelligence isn’t an inborn talent. It’s the result of education. Specifically, education in how to interpret ourselves, where our emotions arise from, how our childhoods influence us, and in how we might best navigate our fears and our wishes.
How do I gain more Emotional Intelligence?
Learn your “ABCs”: Awareness, Balance, Curiosity and Care, Support.
How do I practice my ABCs?
Be Aware: Ask yourself how you are feeling in that moment. Label a particular emotion. Is there an underlying emotion you didn’t notice at first?
Balance your emotions: Stay with the difficult feelings, even when you want to push them away or avoid them. This allows you to “be ok with not being ok”. Identify how the particular emotion feels without trying to change it. Eventually, this gets easier.
Be Curious and Care for yourself: Try to trace the emotion to a body part. Where do you feel it? What does it feel like? How strong is it? If you are overwhelmed, acknowledge that you need to take a step back and clear your head before acting on difficult emotions.
Seek Support: Utilize your external and internal support networks when emotions become too overwhelming. External support can be anybody you trust with your thoughts and feelings, like a spouse, friend, or therapist. Internal support involves positive self-talk, confidence, and self-care. Feeling connected during times of emotional turbulence will help you take better care of your well being and gently work with turning intensity into wisdom.
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