Are you in control of your emotions? Or do you let them control you? Well, some basic knowledge of emotional intelligence can make a huge positive difference in your life
An emotion is a feeling elicited from a circumstance. It can be a feeling of happiness, fear, sadness, anger or disgust.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, use and manage emotions positively. This enables a person to communicate well, help calm conflicts and empathize with others.
Emotions can break or make you depending on how you handle them. For example, a bad reaction in a moment of anger may lead to a lifetime of regrets.
Anger is a one letter short of danger Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)
Emotional intelligence comes from your daily habits while IQ is learned in school. EQ helps a person to analyze and understand emotions while IQ shows a person’s intelligence. IQ is inborn while EQ is acquired.
Components of EQ
• Self-awareness: This is about understanding your emotions and how they affect you and the people around you. It helps you to work on your bad emotions and diffuse inner anger. It also helps you to identify and work on your weaknesses.
• Self-regulation: This is about managing your feelings. So, in essence, you must understand and interpret your emotions and regulate them to avoid going overboard.
• Empathy: This is about understanding and feeling other people’s emotions. It involves being able to put yourself in ‘other people’s shoes’. For example, listening to people without prejudice is a good sign of empathy.
• Self-Motivation: You need to look for something you enjoy doing. This is the ability to push oneself to do something without external factors such as money or status.
• Social skill: It is acquiring emotional skills that make it easy to relate to people. Inadequate social skills may lead to stress, feelings of rejection, and loneliness. Excellent social skills include listening without interrupting, using power words such as please, excuse me, sorry, controlling your voice while talking, good table manners and proper use of eye contact.
Social media has contributed to poor social skills. For example, texting more than face to face socialization results in poor social skill.
Poor social skills can lead to depression, anxiety, and poor interpersonal skills. They point to low esteem and feeling rejected.
Benefits of learning and implementing emotional intelligence skills
#1. Understand and manage their emotions well. Highlight your emotional strengths and weakness. What happens when you are angry or when you are delighted? Extremes of both can be detrimental.
#2. Know when to pause. Do you take time to think before you act? Do you think before you talk? Our prisons are full of people who overreacted in ‘that moment of anger’. Avoid actions that could lead to regrets later in life. Always make it a habit to pause before reacting. Practice how to breathe in and out before speaking when anger calls in. Pausing can save you from embarrassments, shame and regrets.
#3. Control thoughts as much as possible. You cannot control what gets into your mind, but you can control how you react about it.
‘You can’t prevent a bird from landing on your head, but you can prevent it from building a nest on it.’ Martin Luther King.
Controlling your thoughts should be done in a relaxed mode. You can breathe in and out, sit down and look at the whole picture before deciding to take any action. You can also open up or share with a confidant or an accountability partner. Understand what triggers negative thoughts or what enhances the good ones. Meditation can help sieve a bad idea from a good one. Let whatever is beyond your control not be an impediment or a stumbling block in your life. It should not stress you.
#4. Benefit from other people’s feedback. Criticism can hurt a person. Learn how to sieve criticism. Let positive or sincere criticism work towards making you a better person. Learn not to internalize negative or insincere criticism. It is also important to know that you cannot make everyone happy.
#5. Know how to deal with people of different emotions. If you are in control of your feelings, other people’s emotional behaviour will not affect you mentally. Learn how to leave toxic relationships or ways of diffusing their toxicity. You may not always be able to avoid toxic people in your life but you can learn how to build boundaries while around them.
#6. Let go off past hurts: Emotionally intelligent people are smart people. They let go off past painful emotions. They forgive their offenders quickly but keep the lessons learnt from past bad experiences. They also forgive themselves quickly and they do not allow roots of bitterness to grow in their hearts. They are quick to apologize and not repeat the same mistake. They are empathetic and hence likely not to make another person angry.
#7. Embrace change. Any change comes with mixed feelings and mainly negative ones. Emotionally intelligent people understand that change is constant. They embrace change and adapt quickly to new settings. They always have a positive mindset when change becomes inevitable in your life.
#8. Are empathetic: You are a product of what you give to the society. If you give kindness that is what you get in return. The power of attraction is always at work. You can only attract what you have or are. Emotionally intelligent people are empathetic and hence likely not to make another person angry.
#9. Keep commitments: Emotionally intelligent people are reliable. They deliver on their promises, and if they cannot meet deadlines, they communicate early enough. They do not like inconveniencing others.
#10. Handle and manage conflict. Emotionally intelligent people know how to resolve disputes. They calm down tempers and resolve conflicts quickly. They analyze situations and look for workable solutions. They do not take sides while handling disputes.
Sharpening your emotional intelligence skills is one of the most significant factors for success. People with excellent EQ skills succeed in business and quickly get noticed at their places of work. They also create a comfortable environment around them. They help others to learn from them. Their confidence sells them when opportunities arise.
Poor emotional intelligent skills on the other hand cause stress, discord amongst peers, family, and society. People with poor skills tend to get depressed and may turn to crime, alcoholism, and drug abuse.