What do you know about your emotions?
Do you believe that we can have any authority behind what we feel or are we always along for an unmanageable ride? Developing our emotional intelligence, similar to our intellect, will awaken us to a new found understanding of ourselves, those around us, and the thoughts that various emotions can inspire. Knowing the science behind our emotional states can prevent us from being swept away with a bad mood, accidentally absorbing the pains of another, or from being completely oblivious to the subtle emotional signs of the people around us.
The idea of ‘emotional intelligence‘ is a psychological theory that came about in the late 20th century through Peter Salovey and John Mayer. This duo defined emotional intelligence as:
“the ability to perceive emotions,to access and generate emotions as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth”
Psychologist Daniel Goleman later expanded on this notion, detailing five elements of emotional intelligence. In this post we will analyze these five components and identify ways to strengthen our own ‘EI’.
1. SELF AWARENESS
Being aware of what is going on inside of us and not attempting to escape these feelings (no matter how uncomfortable) is important to our growth. How many of these emotions have you felt this week?
We can divide our feelings into two categories: surface and core emotions. As you can see from the picture shown above, the surface emotion for ‘mad’ entails many specific emotions such as being selfish, critical, or hurt. Many people will admit that they are angry before they admit that they are hurt. These specific negative emotions are sourced from a place of vulnerability. Emotional intelligence requires seeing past the surface and accepting the reality of our occasionally vulnerable nature.
2. SELF REGULATION
Ever heard of emotional eating? Some overindulgent behaviors have a direct correlation to a poor regulation of emotions. I’ve seen countless movies where a heartbroken woman was shown stuffing ice cream and cookies in her mouth to mask the agony. Some people rely on drugs and alcohol to stop themselves from ‘caring’ which is the equivalent to a hamster running on a wheel. No matter the euphoria, the temporary escape is always temporary and the emotions will come back to our conscious. Developing our EI requires large doses of reality and acceptance on a consistent basis.
“The cure for the pain is in the pain.”
If your mind is bringing you back to the same emotion triggering thoughts repeatedly, it is best to handle it constructively and work to conquer it completely. Embrace your feelings completely and discover their true message. Their purpose is to lead us to an inner truth as opposed to disrupting our happiness.
3. INTERNAL MOTIVATION
What drives you to achieve your goals? At the foundation of all of our dreams is a desire to feel a certain way after we achieve our target outcome. Money is a means to an end; I wish to acquire ridiculous amounts of money because it will award me freedom. Freedom to travel, see new cultures, hear different languages and enjoy new foods. Some people long for money to provide for their families, others for the sake of money itself.
If someone’s desire to achieve comes from a lower source of joy (revenge, greed, selfishness, etc.) their happiness is placed outside of themselves by their own doing, therefore they have no true control over it. That’s not a smart thing to do, now is it?
Be aware of what motivates you. It is popular in today’s age for people to talk about haters, and how they drive them to succeed. A good piece of advice is to focus on your lovers (people that want nothing more than for you to prosper). Energy flows where attention goes. Concentrate on what will add harmony and peace to your life as opposed to its polarity.
Having the ability to pick up on another person’s emotional state can have a list of benefits. Knowing what upsets a person and what makes them happy could save you and others a world of turmoil.
Through our own personal experiences, compassion, and sensitivity we can relate to others and what they are experiencing without them suggesting “imagine how I felt”.
People who identify as empaths must be cautious and refrain from adopting the negative emotions of others. Easily picking up on feelings can have an adverse effect on our aura and mood. The key to this component of EI is recognizing the states of those around us, not embodying them.
Are you an empath?
Here are some quick tips to help you stay centered and grounded in your own energy while in the presence of overbearing energy:
- Strengthen your root chakra with meditation, eating red foods, affirmations, etc.
- Take a nice hot bath with natural sea salts. Salt water can also be used to clean certain crystals, as it draws out negative energy. During the bath, visualize the negative energy and all energy that does not belong to you being absorbed by the water.
- Set boundaries. If there is someone that consistently drains you, determine how many minutes a day you can bear to be in their presence. There is a thin line between self love and selfless, we must draw it with discernment.
5. SOCIAL SKILLS
90% of communication is listening and observing. Being able to maintain long term relationships with loved ones and coworkers (unless you love all your coworkers, then omit the second category) is essential to our progress in life. Networking to the height of your career, being a team player, and being a compassionate partner reflects a sophisticated level of emotional intelligence.
What is the quality of the friendship you provide? Do you frequently change your friends and/or romantic partners? What is a common theme that pops up in your unsuccessful bonds with others? By reflecting on how we tend to relate to those closest to us, we can come to learn a lot about ourselves.
Intellect and emotions are closely related. They complement each other like man and woman; they are united by truth. As powerful and wild as they may be, emotions have logic lined within. Allow yourself to experience all ranges of emotional states as they arise, witness the thoughts and questions they inspire, then calmly reflect and apply your intellect to discover your newfound truth, again and again.
Love your soul,