Emotional intelligence has been described as “the other kind of smart”. Although some people will be naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, it is something that can be developed.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI) can be defined as the ability to understand, manage, and effectively express your own feelings, as well as engage and navigate successfully with those of others. Emotional Intelligence is absolutely essential in the formation, development, maintenance, and enhancement of close personal relationships and therefore has relevance both in becoming someones’ partner and becoming a parent.
People who lack emotional intelligence may:
- Be clueless about your feelings
- Be unable to control their emotions
- Struggle to make or maintain friendships that are meaningful
- Struggle to cope with sadness
- Be emotionally inappropriate – perhaps saying the wrong thing at the wrong time
- Struggle with being sympathetic
- Be emotionally tone deaf – not being able to sense your emotion from the next room for example
- Have no ’emotional’ volume control
- May be completely unmoved by emotional movies
- Downplay the importance of emotions
Do you struggle to connect with people who lack some of these skills? Do you have any people like this in your life? Are you frustrated by a lack of emotional intelligence in someone? How emotionally intelligent do you think you are?
Having emotional intelligence is an important part of being someone’s friend, partner or parent. These skills and sensitivities can help you deal with not only your own emotions but also support others to deal with theirs’.
This isn’t about being over-the-top with other people, it is just about recognising emotion in others and understanding your role in that, or using that emotion to help you make sense of your own feelings.
There are many ways in which a person can increase their emotional intelligence, for example:
- Reducing negative emotions – understanding that people do what they do more because of them, rather than us
- Staying cool and managing stress
- Being assertive and expressing difficult emotions when necessary
- Remaining proactive
- The ability to bounce back from adversity
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
— Michael Jordan
“Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections, failed twice in business and suffered a nervous breakdown before he became the president of the United States.”
— Wall Street Journal
- The ability to express intimate emotions in close personal relationships – do you tell your children you love them? Did your parents and grandparents tell you they loved you? Do they still if they are around? Do you tell your partner? There are millions of ways to show someone you care and they aren’t all time-consuming or expensive! These expressions are thought to be the ‘vitamin of love’. Verbal bidding: “How are you doing?” “How are you feeling?” “I love you.” “I appreciate you.” “I like it when we talk like this.” “I’m glad we’re spending this time together.” “you’re such a good friend.” “I’m sorry.” Body language bidding: positive eye contact, hugging, smiling, patting the elbow, arm around the shoulder. Behavioral bidding: offering food or beverage, a personalised card, a thoughtful gift, a needed favor.
A person’s “heart withers if it does not answer another heart.”
— Pearl Buck
Do you recognise any of these traits in yourself or those around you?