Emotional intelligence is perceived to be more of a skill than a measure of intelligence these days, emotional intelligence skills are important. They will go a long way to ensure your own peace of mind, sense of being and happiness.
We are all driven by our emotions above all else, many people argue that intellect is more important than emotions but the opposite is true, without our emotions, our intellect will be useless with no where to be directed.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart”Helen keller
Ever since I started this blog, with the intentions of advocating for self awareness, self knowledge and realization, I have come to see the great role which emotional intelligence plays in our lives. We always fall into these traps that are set by our very own reactions to our emotions.
Picture a scenario where you got pissed off because a car almost hit yours on your way to work in the morning, after which your entire day was in shambles because of an annoyance that happened in the morning. You end up having a terrible day, you do a sloppy job, you shout at employees and let out all your frustrations on the job. This is obviously unhealthy.
Another instance is one in which your decisions and mood isn’t predicated by recent events that spiked your reactions, but rather events that occurred when you were a kid or just some trauma that you went through long time ago. Emotions and feelings that we experienced long time ago shape us into being who we are, if you were raised in an abusive family that made you angry, sad and skeptic of relationships, these emotions are bound to affect your personality and your future lifestyle in a very big way.
Bottom line is that our emotions are what makes us human and are what drive us to do anything above all else. Some may say intellect is what ultimately guides our decisions but they seem to forget that most decisions we make are rooted in how the will make us feel. You will choose to pursue that career because of the love of it and the sense of purpose and fulfillment it gives you, the warm fuzzy feeling it instills in you, therefore, ultimately our emotions dictate our actions but intellect is what will take us to those places eventually.
You can say that one can’t exist without the other.
Emotions are very tricky especially when the person is emotionally immature, in this case emotions are more bound to control you than you controlling them. That is why improving your emotional intelligence skills is important. To be able to understand your emotions, their root cause and how they are bound to affect you is to be emotionally mature.
This Article Contains
What is emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is simply the ability that each and everyone of us possesses, its your ability to notice your emotions and other people’s, being aware of them at each and every instance, analyzing them and being able to take the right step in addressing them.
Every person has a different level of emotional intelligence which can be measured by the very many standardized emotional quotient tests and quizzes.
Kathleen Spike, a certified master coach, once said, “There are certain emotions that will kill your drive; frustration and confusion. You can change these to a positive force. Frustration means you are on the verge of a breakthrough. Confusion can mean you are about to learn something. Expect the breakthrough and expect to learn.”
By being able to focus more on emotional intelligence, you get to become more self aware, strategic. focused and above all else enlightened.
Even the Bible has very many verses challenging Christians to forgo their human nature and tendencies for a more divine way of living, it focuses on showing Christians how to stop themselves from being driven by their emotions that may lead them into making rush decisions, evil actions and taking drastic measures that may lead them into sin.
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.proverbs 25:28
Is emotional intelligence a skill or a measure of intelligence
Intelligence on its own is defined as the capacity for logic, understanding, self-awareness, self knowledge, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
Since emotional intelligence is aimed at gauging how humans respond and react to their emotions – emotional knowledge, then we may count it as a measure of intelligence. However, since studies in this field is still yet to be extensive and thorough, we may also consider EI as a skill since it involves 4 components that we practice on a daily basis; self awareness, self management, social awareness and relationship management.
Things like communication skills, people skills, conflict resolution, empathy, and so on are encompassed by emotional intelligence which explains why most have opted to refer to it as a skill rather than a measure of intelligence.
Moreover, emotional intelligence can be molded, improved upon and built up, just like any skill can be.
The importance of emotional intelligence
Before embarking on building up your emotional intelligence skills, you at least have to know how important EI is to your life, how it affects your every day life, how it improves or diminishes your relationships.
To know how important EI is you first have to pay attention to the areas in your life that make you the most happy and the ones that drive you nuts and make you feel sad. Most of these aspects in your life may be your job, family, spouses, school, career, hobbies.
I want you to sit down and imagine your happiest place on earth, whether present or imaginary, and tell yourself why it is the happiest place on earth for you. Personally, my happiest place on earth is a cabin in an excluded place in a region with cold rainy weather, chilly days with lots of green vegetation, hills and mountains and if available, a lake, with a little bit of mist on top.
I personally love this picture because it reminds me of home where the weather was mostly cold and so many of my happiest memories were made there. And the isolation is peaceful for me since I’m an introvert and thrive mostly when I’m alone reflecting on everything from a self based perspective.
From this imagination, you can find out a lot of things about you, you will get to know who you are, what makes you happy and what is more important to you than most. It is aimed at showing you the lengths at which our emotions drive us, and in so doing shows you the importance of paying attention to them.
The importance of emotional intelligence can be seen in these few aspects of our lives:
- Self awareness – by being emotionally intelligent, you will get to know your psyche on a whole other level based on finding out how your emotions and feelings make the whole you. Self awareness is where happiness begins and is the stepping stone to self knowledge and enlightenment.
- Empathy – not only does EI help you relate to what you are feeling, but it also helps you connect with what other people are going through, their struggles and problems.
- Self management – this involves all the ways we tend to address our emotions to turn them into productive outcomes, this through activities like meditation and mindfulness. By being more emotionally intelligent, you will be able to make the right choices when it comes to overwhelming emotions, and also help you escape the prison of impulses and rush decisions.
- Social awareness and management – emotional intelligence can help you be able to relate and connect with people more flawlessly. That is why EI has been a big part of employee evaluation and job placements for years now. People with high EI are more prone to get along with others than people with low EI, this is because elements such as people skills, conflict resolution and empathy are low in people with low emotional quotient.
- Relationship management – relationships, both personal and professional, are heavily reliant on a person’s capacity to gauge their emotions, other people’s to be able to connect with them. High emotional intelligence is linked to better job performance, working better in teams, increased creativity, retention at work, and accepting change. Beyond the workplace, emotionally intelligent people often enjoy better interpersonal relationships at home.
The 4 emotional intelligence skills you need
As seen in my earlier articles, emotional intelligence has four components, or four skills as some may say. These are the aspects of EI that we focus on to be able to understand how emotionally mature we are, its importance and how it impacts our lives.
|Self awareness||Self management||Social awareness||Relationship management|
|Definitions||The ability to be aware of your personality and individuality, its the clear understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions.||The skills and confidence to take charge of your needs, your everyday roles and responsibilities, and importantly, your emotions||The skill to understand other people and interact with each other: communicate and getting along, that help us understand each other and get along better.||Involves using your awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully|
|Traits involved||Emotional awareness, self knowledge accurate self-assessment (IQ & Personality), and self-confidence.||Self monitoring, Self-control,|
Conscientiousness, self discipline, self evaluation and self reinforcement
|Empathy, altruism, social management and evaluation, people skills, communication skills, conflict resolution and public relations.||Adaptability, consistency, self esteem, art of compromise and interpersonal skills.|
|Importance||Self awareness is where happiness begins and is the stepping stone to self knowledge and enlightenment.||Helps you make the right choices when it comes to overwhelming emotions, and also helps you escape the prison of impulses and rush decisions.||Helps you get along with others than people with low EI, this is because elements such as people skills, conflict resolution and empathy are low in people with low emotional quotient.||Leads to better job performance, working better in teams, increased creativity, retention at work, and accepting change. Moreover you will enjoy better interpersonal relationships at home.|
|How to improve||1. Keep a journal.|
2. Self reflection and judge yourself objectively.
3. Ask your trusted friends to describe you.
4. Practice mindfulness exercises.
5. Take personality and other psychometric tests.
6. Write down your dreams and goals.
|1. Practice accountability.|
2. Perform self control practices – reinforcement.
3. Keep a journal for progress monitoring.
4. Keep a vision board.
|1. Put yourself in someone else’s shows – empathy.|
2. Ask others how they feel.
3. Read books on social skills.
4. Keep a close tight circle that you trust.
5. Be less quick to judge.
|1. Practice the art of compromise.|
2. Be more empathetic and altruistic.
3. Ask how people feel.
4. Acknowledge others’ emotions and feelings.
5.Think before acting, be slow to judge.
6. Appreciate others.
7. Be positive
8. Manage your boundaries.
Self awareness is where happiness begins and is the first vital step to being highly emotionally intelligent.
By getting to know yourself more on a much deeper level, you will find yourself in a position where all the decisions and actions you take are tailored for your uttermost benefit and fulfillment rather than being driven by the environment and societal opinions.
You will become more self aware by following the stipulated steps above, its a slow but sure fire way to get to know yourself better and be your true self.
Another pro tip to becoming more self aware is to distance or limit your use of any distracting form of media, that is social media, movies, Youtube, Tv shows and any form of media that distracts you from your reality.
I’m saying this because the other day there was a blackout at my place, my phone and laptop died, I was too tired to read a book so I was left with just my thoughts, and in that one hour period before the lights came back something amazing happened:
I started recalling memories that I had even forgotten I had, I began to remember the decisions that I made and why I made them without having to google what drove me to make them, I suddenly recalled all these awesome events in my life that I would have otherwise been too distracted by social media to remember.
It is true that most forms of media distract us from reality, we tend to pay less attention to our emotions, memories, experiences when we are constantly focusing on consuming some other irrelevant content, on top of which we are also busy with our jobs and studies, which leaves us with less room for self reflection and awareness.
Therefore, it is not the worst idea in the world to do a media consumption detox for you to become more self aware.
Self awareness encompasses;
- Emotional awareness- this is your ability to be able to understand your feelings and emotions. Most of the time we tend to feel things but not really pay attention to why we feel the way we feel. We don’t even try to understand the source of the inner conflict we are having let alone how to act after we have found it. Emotional awareness is being able to reflect on why and where our emotions and feelings came from.
- Self knowledge – It is the knowledge of oneself and one’s characters and the desire to seek such knowledge that guide the development of the self-concept.
- Self-assessment (IQ & Personality) – this is your ability to be able to know all your characters, strengths and weaknesses through various psychometric tests and quizzes such as the big five personality test and IQ tests.
- Self-confidence.– this is the last step to self awareness, it comes after you have already gotten to know your strengths and weaknesses. Self confidence is understanding that you trust your own judgment and abilities, and that you value yourself and feel worthy, regardless of any imperfections or of what others may believe about you.
After being self aware, you will need to improve your capability to stay accountable and responsible to who you are. This involves taking steps to ensure that you are not changed or swayed by the environment or other people’s opinions and decisions.
Self management entails your capacity to monitor yourself and the decisions you make. You can do this by keeping a journal and having trusted friends or family to stay accountable to.
Self-control comes into this because it will help you avoid making rush decisions and impulsive actions based on the overwhelming emotions that you may be going through. Self control forces you to pay attention to the big picture rather than immediate gratification.
Conscientiousness is one of the big five personality trait that describes your capacity to want to do a job well and thoroughly with the uttermost precision and service to yourself and others. Being highly conscientious is great since it will help you stay on top of being your better self and minimize making the very many mistakes that we are prone to.
Self discipline is the last step to self management and it involves you being able to stick to being your authentic self. You can do this by practicing acts such as positive or negative reinforcement, moreover, you can follow the steps below for self management;.
- 1. Practice accountability.
- 2. Perform self control practices – reinforcement.
- 3. Keep a journal for progress monitoring.
- 4. Keep a vision board.
Human beings are social creatures, our ability to relate and connect with each other is primal to most things in life. Your social awareness scale will dictate how well you get along with people, if they like you or distaste your company, if they will invite you to a party or not.
It entails skills like empathy, altruism, social management and evaluation, people skills, communication skills, conflict resolution and public relations.
To improve all these skills you need to be able to relate to other people and this mostly entails putting yourself in their shoes and walking a mile in them. That is what social awareness is all about. You will find yourself being more easy going and relate-able once you learn how to understand what other people are feeling, why they make the decisions that they make and how they view the world.
This is what we call empathy – the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.
Therefore becoming more socially aware involves;
- 1. Putting yourself in someone else’s shows – empathy.
- 2. Asking others how they feel in order to understand their point of view.
- 3. Read books on social skills and people skills.
- 4. Keep a close tight circle that you trust- its easier to connect with people fully if they are few and your relations are tight rather than a lot of people who you interact with less frequently.
- 5. Be slow to judge rather than jumping into conclusions.
Relationship management is the major part of emotional intelligence that is used to predict job success and performance. This where aspects such as public relations, customer satisfactions, and other social related work sectors come into effect.
Better relationship management skills lead to better job performance, working better in teams, increased creativity, retention at work, and accepting change. Moreover you will enjoy better interpersonal relationships at home.
It involves using your awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully.
This is where the art of compromise and your ability to adapt to situations come in handy. We live in a world with people who are complex and different in many ways, we all want different goals and have various aspirations that may differ.
This is why learning to get along in a much better way is crucial, that goes for your personal and professional lives alike. Maintaining these relationship is sometimes hard because of the differences, but they can be maintained by;
- 1. Practicing the art of compromise.
- 2. Being more empathetic and altruistic.
- 3. Asking people for their opinions, wants and input.
- 4. Acknowledge others’ emotions and feelings.
- 5.Thinking before acting, and being slow to judge.
- 6. Appreciating others for who they are and their place in the society.
- 7. Being positive
- 8. Managing your boundaries.
Emotional intelligence is a huge topic that needs lots of talks and discussions. But we have been groomed in a society that views such topics as unnecessary and a waste of time to say the least.
We have grown up to believe that emotions and feelings are aspects of our lives that we just have to learn from experience rather than being taught, that teaching them will just take the fun out of it. This is a dangerous premise because despite how we feel about talking about emotions, its clear that they affect us and are definitely going to mess us up if we don’t get them in check.
So, does talking about these things take the fun out of the experiences? Hell nah! Studies have shown that no matter how great you are at handling your emotions, life has so many complexities that can’t be eliminated, you will still stumble, you will still experience those emotions, hence the ‘fun’ of it will always be there, its just that by being more emotionally intelligent you will be aware of them.
Therefore, focus on being more emotionally intelligent and master these 4 skills so that you take charge of your own being rather than letting your emotions and the environment dictate your actions and future.