Most of our daily actions emanate from what we feel at the moment. There is always this battle between reason and feeling. Sometimes we are heavily controlled by emotions that our actions work against our sense of reasoning in the end. At other times, we are conscious of the fact that these actions are against our reasoning but we tend to appear helpless. We need to pay attention to managing emotions effectively because feelings are capable of igniting actions that ruin relationships at all levels. The same way we pay attention to our health, spend money on our education and other basic needs, that same way we must pay attention to our Emotional Intelligence. What is Emotional Intelligence? It is the ability to recognize and understand emotions of ourselves and others and the ability to apply this awareness in managing our behaviours in dealing with others and in relationships. It is about how well we resolve (or create) conflict, manage anger, deal with adversity, and shake off bad moods. It is more about managing negative emotions and bad moods. Dr Hendrie Weisinger identified five key factors that control emotional intelligence. These factors are capable of helping us to apply our emotional intelligence when the need arises.
- Self-Awareness: You need to first and foremost understand yourself. Self awareness is your ability to accurately process information about yourself. You need to know if you are prone to anger, depression, fear, sadness, disgust, irritation, anxiety, frustration etc. For us to successfully apply emotional intelligence, we must know ourselves first. Our emotions may change with time based on experiences and as we build more relationships in life. However, being conscious of our emotions is the first step towards applying emotional intelligence. Your emotions are your responsibility.
- Mood Management: This is another factor or skill required to apply emotional intelligence. This according to Weisinger is your ability to manage your emotions, shake off bad moods, and create positive moods. I’ve come to understand that many of us (especially in this part of the world where knowledge is one of the most scarce commodities) don’t really make any effort to manage our moods probably because we feel it’s not our fault. It is not a question of it being your fault or not; everybody has emotions; everybody express emotions but very few manage emotions. If we are able to practice self-awareness successfully, we can now move to the level of seeking relevant avenues to manage our negative emotions and possibly convert them to positive emotions. Fear could be converted to courage; sadness could be turned into happiness; and so on.
- Self-Motivation:Stop believing that it is the responsibility of your partner, your friend or colleague to make you happy or solve your emotional problems. Self motivation is your ability to persist, overcome frustration, engage in necessary but may be boring tasks, to initiate productive actions and cut out counterproductive actions. This is an integral part of mood management identified above. Self-motivation is your ability to initiate within you, those thoughts that lend themselves to positivity; that is, seeing the positive side of that sad situation and trying to suppress the negative emotion. Yes, it could be boring and sometimes appear difficult, but you must motivate yourself.
- Interpersonal Expertise: Self-Motivation gives room to the practice of interpersonal expertise. This is your ability to give and take criticism, workout conflict, build consensus, and develop cooperative relationships. It is your ability to understand that it takes two to tango; your ability to understand that it is through relationships of all sorts that our emotions are made manifest. It could be child-parent relationship; boss-subordinate relationship, love relationship, friendship relationship etc. When conflict arises especially between lovers, it should be seen as a clash of emotions. If you think it is his or her fault alone, you can’t get it resolved. Interpersonal expertise enables you to resolve conflicts peacefully applying a win-win approach. In many love/marriage relationships, partners always tend to apply win-lose approaches. That is, I want to make you lose in this fight so I can win and as a result the argument goes on and on; the fight continues. Interpersonal expertise should make you understand that you are only relevant in a relationship because the other person is relevant too. That is cooperative relationship.
- Emotional Mentoring: This is another level of applying emotional intelligence. It is about understanding the emotions of other people and assisting them in solving them through your own emotional responses or by advising whether you are involved or not. It is your ability to respond effectively to the emotions and feelings of others. This calls for empathy and sometimes mentoring sessions.
The greatest destroyer of life today is emotions. Remember that emotions build up gradually. Once it comes in, it begins automatic influence on our thought processes. Our cognitive activities are overtaken by such emotions. At this level, emotional intelligence must be applied; if not, our thoughts would begin to metamorphose into words. When the individual speaks at this level, you could sense his emotions- fear, frustration, anger etc. It is not still late to apply emotional intelligence here. We may decide to ignore it believing that the emotions would just go away; well except there is a conscious effort to make it go away it is moving to the level of actions. I have come to understand that any action taken under any negative emotion comes to a disastrous consequence. Sometimes applying emotional intelligence at this point becomes late at other times, not too late. If an action is taken under anger emotion or fear, it might take someone else’s life. If the actions are not so disastrous and still left unchecked, they may move to the level of habits. And habits are what grow into character. When character is developed through unchecked negative emotions, the person’s destiny is ruined. He or she becomes a special case. Rule your emotions lest they rule you!
Applying emotional intelligence can save your life and the lives of your family members, friends relatives and colleagues. It is that serious. Learn and apply emotional intelligence today. Read them up everywhere.
I recommend Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves.
See you soon!