Don’t fool yourself, your emotional intelligence can be improved upon.

Ok, so that’s an intense title. I just needed to put it out there for all those individuals who think or believe they cannot be better people so everyone else should just accept their selfish, manipulative or self-involved tendencies. Even emotionally intelligent people do not tolerate this behaviour forever, no matter how understanding they are.

Did that bit of aggression get your attention? Good. Now for the calmer lessons to learn part.

As I’m growing up in this life of adulting, I’m noticing more and more how emotional intelligence has and is becoming so important. Even from a career perspective (you can google this part if you do not believe me). And what saddens me is that many many many people still resist the urge to develop this aspect of themselves. And unlike your intelligence quotient (IQ) which is an inborn ability, emotional intelligence can be learned and improved upon. What?
Yes it’s true. Google that part too.
For those individuals who say they have low EQ (well done for knowing this about yourselves), you can improve this ability.
And why should you? Because life will be better. Okay, now you must think I’m talking nonsense but hear me out.

I know a number of individuals who have high tendencies of self-involvement (I am avoiding using the word narcissism because it’s generally misunderstood) and these are also the individuals who seem to suffer emotionally the most. What makes me say this? Because when something happens to them they generally over-react without even noticing their reaction or understanding it. They end up asking “Why me” or, “What did I do to deserve this”, instead of “What did I do to this person that may have caused them to behave this way towards me” and then are unable to fully engage with what’s happening to how they feel or behave. They cannot then balance their emotions with logic or rationality. This stops them from being able to link themselves to the world around them. This becomes worse because they end up externalising everything. They wallow in negative emotions or lash out to those around them. And never ever apologise for any wrongdoing for 2 reasons: 1. They cannot admit to any wrongdoing because that would mean they would be taking responsibility and they cannot do this. 2. They do not understand their impact on others.

And how would working on your emotional intelligence help here? Because you would be in a better position to understand your emotions and the other persons. More importantly, you’d be able to link what’s happening to you, to how you feel, to the role you played in relation to the role others played. You’d have more empathy and understanding. And you’d learn that just because you’re so self-involved and lacking in trust, doesn’t mean everyone else is. This means that when someone snaps at you, your first response may be a “That’s not her normal behaviour, I wonder what’s going on?” as opposed to “Wow, she’s such a b**** and I always knew it.” You’d also become more aware of the type of people you attract in your life and why you end up feeling alone or lonely even when surrounded by people, or why you’re in whatever space you’re in and how to make it better, no matter what the situation.

The first response leads to communication, understanding and better relationships. The second leads to isolation, mistrust and lack in all aspects of your life.

Now I don’t know about you, but the first way just feels less painful, don’t you think?

I assume you’re in agreement and your next question may be, how do I work on my emotional intelligence? (side note: never ever assume anything).

I can only speak from personal experience here (I am still working on my own abilities every day), but reading up and understanding exactly what is meant by emotional intelligence helped me as well as working on my triggers. The more I understood what triggered me and why, the easier it became to try understand myself and others. Any person or object (books, talks etc) that can help you understand your own emotions is useful and being able to ask for help is a good sign that you’re headed in the right direction. Trying to describe your emotions and increasing your emotions vocabulary helps as well.

As I keep trying to work on my own emotional intelligence, I’m learning that it doesn’t end there. There’s also something called social intelligence but that’s for another day.

Here’s to hoping this post didn’t only preach to the converted but to the people who really need it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *