A Story on Emotional Intelligence
It was the coldest winter in over 25 years, not the best scenario for emotional intelligence revivals.
This is the last time you will ever see me.
Amador sat at the airport gate, his heart heavy with sadness.
He had been married to his wife, Sonia, for just shy of 30 years.
In all that time, he had never seen her angry – until today.
It was the morning of their departure for their annual vacation. Neither of them expected to have their emotional intelligence tested. They had planned and saved for months, looking forward to two weeks in the sun. But when Amador woke up that morning, something was wrong. Sonia was packing her bags in a hurry, and she barely said a word to him as she rushed out the door. Amador knew better than to ask what was wrong – he would find out soon enough. Sure enough, as they sat at the airport waiting for their plane to board, Sonia turned to him with tears in her eyes.
I’m sorry, Amador,” she said. “I know this is our vacation, but I can’t go. My father is sick and I need to go home.
Amador was devastated. He had been looking forward to this vacation for months, and now it was all going to be for nothing. But he knew better than to argue with Sonia – she was clearly upset and needed to be with her family. So instead, Amador did the only thing he could do: he put his arm around her and held her close as they waited for their plane to board. As their children, we can only imagine how hard this must have been for our grandparents – but at that moment, their love for each other conquered all.
Emotional Intelligence Lessons for Life
It is often difficult to put ourselves in another person’s shoes, but it is a crucial skill to develop if we want to build strong relationships. Amador could have easily gotten angry with Sonia for ruining their vacation, but instead, he chose to be understanding and supportive. By doing so, he made sure that their relationship would be stronger than ever when they returned from their trip.
Sonia’s emotional strength in the face of such adversity is admirable. But what exactly is emotional IQ?
Simply put, emotional intelligence is the ability to read and understand the emotions of others, as well as communicate effectively with them. It is often said that empathy is the cornerstone of emotional IQ. However, humility is also an important aspect of this skill.
Here are 5 key ways to increase your emotional intelligence:
- Pay attention to body language
- Listen more than you speak
- Try to see things from the other person’s perspective
- Be aware of your own emotions
- Practice active listening
Many of these tools are motivated by our senses. For example, body language is one of the most important aspects of emotional intelligence. After all, it is said that body language accounts for more than 55% of human communication. When we pay attention to the body language of others, we are able to pick up on subtle cues that may be missed if we only focus on the words they are saying.
#1 Pay Attention to Body Language
Body language includes everything from the way we sit or stand, to the expressions on our faces. It can be easy to miss these cues if we are not paying attention, but they can give us a wealth of information about how someone is feeling. For example, someone who is crossed-arm and has a closed body posture is likely to feel defensive or uncomfortable. On the other hand, someone with an open body posture and a warm smile is likely to feel friendly and approachable.
Out of all the studies done on body language, one of the most famous is Paul Ekman’s research on facial expressions. at the University of California San Francisco. Ekman found that there are six universal emotions that are expressed the same way across all cultures: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. By learning to read these expressions, we can better understand how someone is feeling, even if they are not verbally expressing it. Subsequently, we can respond in a way that is more likely to be helpful or comforting.
In addition to body language, the way we speak can also reveal a lot about how we are feeling. The tone of our voice, the volume, and the rate at which we speak can all give clues as to whether we are happy, sad, angry, etc. For example, someone who is feeling sad may speak in a softer voice than usual, or they may have a hard time finding the right words. Paying attention to these cues can help us to better understand what someone is going through, even if they are not saying it outright.
#2 Listen More Than Your Speak
In order to understand the emotions of others, we need to be good listeners. This means not only hearing the words they are saying, but also trying to understand the feelings behind those words. Many times, people will say one thing but mean something entirely different. For example, someone may say they are “fine” when they are actually feeling sad or angry. Asking follow-up questions and really listening to the answers can help us to better understand how someone is truly feeling.
It can also be helpful to pay attention to the words that someone is using. The words we choose reveal a lot about our internal state. For example, someone who is feeling happy may use words like “glad” or “pleased.” On the other hand, someone who is feeling sad may use words like “bummed” or “disappointed.” Paying attention to the words people use can give us a better understanding of how they are feeling, even if they are not aware of it themselves.
One of the most significant quotes regarding the skill of listening is,
You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Use them in that proportion.
This quote is attributed to Blaise Pascal, but it is also been said by many other people throughout history. The point is that we should listen more than we speak. This allows us to really hear what someone is saying and understand their emotions. You can jump in and offer your own perspective, but oftentimes, the other person just needs to be heard.
#3 Try To See Things From Their Perspective
Both of these women are in relationships with men who clear the browser history. But as you can see, they have two very different interpretations of this behavior. One woman interprets it as considerate, while the other interprets it as suspicious. This is because they are each seeing the situation from their own perspective.
In order to understand the emotions of others, we need to try to see things from their perspective. This means understanding their circumstances, their values, and their beliefs. Only then can we really start to understand how they are feeling?
For example, imagine you are talking to a friend who just got laid off from their job. From your perspective, they may seem sad or scared. But from their perspective, they may feel embarrassed or like a failure. It is only by understanding their perspective that we can truly understand their emotions. In addition, trying to see things from their perspective can help us to empathize with them and feel more connected to them.
#4 Be Aware of Your Own Emotions
“I can’t believe she just said that to me! I’m so angry right now.”
– Sarah, 25
In order to understand the emotions of others, we need to be aware of our own emotions. This may seem counterintuitive, but it is actually essential. The reason is that our emotions influence the way we see the world. For example, someone who is feeling angry is more likely to interpret a situation as being hostile or aggressive. On the other hand, someone who is feeling happy is more likely to interpret the same situation as being friendly or harmless.
Thus, if we want to understand the emotions of others, we need to be aware of our own emotions and how they are influencing the way we see the world. This is not always easy, but there are some things you can do to increase your self-awareness. One way is to simply pay attention to your emotions throughout the day and try to label them.
Labeling my emotions pushed them out of limbo, into a bucket I can compartmentalize and solve.
— Dara, writer
Angry at the Boss
For example, you might say to yourself “I’m feeling angry right now because my boss just yelled at me.” Or “I’m feeling happy right now because I just got a raise.” By labeling your emotions, you will become more aware of them and how they are influencing your thoughts and actions.
In addition to paying attention to your emotions, you can also try to keep a journal. This can be helpful because it allows you to look back on your day and reflect on how your emotions have influenced your thoughts and actions.
Writing things down gives form and shape to our amorphous thoughts, which in turn makes them easier to tackle.
Another way is to keep a journal where you write down your emotions each day. This can help you to see patterns in your emotions and understand what triggers them. The journal is by far the most effective way to become more emotionally aware. Why? Because it allows you to look back on your day and reflect on how your emotions have influenced your thoughts and actions.
Recognize That Emotions Are Contagious
Have you ever noticed that you tend to feel the same emotions as the people around you? This is because emotions are contagious. When we see someone else feeling a certain emotion, our brain automatically mimics that emotion. This is why it is so important to surround yourself with positive people. If you are constantly surrounded by people who are angry, sad, or anxious, you will likely start to feel those emotions yourself.
On the other hand, if you surround yourself with happy, positive people, you will likely find your own mood lifted. So if you want to understand the emotions of others, it is important to recognize that their emotions may be contagious.
#5 Practice Active Listening
“I feel like you’re not really listening to me.”
– John, 27
Active listening is a way of listening to that involves both hearing and understanding the person you are talking to. It is different from passive listening, which is when you only hear the person but do not try to understand them. In active listening, you not only hear the words that the other person is saying but you also try to understand their feelings and perspective. Pay attention to their body language and tone of voice.
“By active listening, we create an environment in which others feel heard and valued.”
In addition, active listening also involves reflecting back on what the other person has said. This helps to ensure that you have understood them correctly. For example, you might say something like “It sounds like you’re feeling frustrated because you feel like I’m not really listening to you.”
The key to active listening is to be present and focused on the other person. This can be difficult, especially if you are used to multitasking or if you are distracted by your own thoughts. However, it is important to try to focus on the other person as much as possible.
Take Time to Reflect
Reflection is an important part of emotional intelligence. It allows us to process our emotions and understand how they have influenced our thoughts and actions. When we take the time to reflect, we are able to learn from our experiences and make better decisions in the future.
There are many different ways that you can reflect on your emotions. One way is to talk to a friend or family member about what you are feeling. This can be helpful because it allows you to share your experiences with someone who will understand and support you. Another way is to write down your thoughts in a journal. This can be helpful because it allows you to organize your thoughts and see them from a different perspective.
You may also find it helpful to reflect on your emotions by meditating or doing yoga. This can help you to clear your mind and focus on the present moment. Whatever method you choose, it is important to make time for reflection in your daily life. This will help you to become more aware of your emotions and understand how they influence your thoughts and actions.
Bottom Line: Be Open to Emotional Intelligence Change
Emotional intelligence is not about being perfect or never making mistakes. It is about being open to learning and growing from our experiences.
When we are open to change, we are able to see the world from different perspectives. We are also more likely to be accepting of others, even if they have different opinions or beliefs. This can be difficult, especially if we are used to thinking that our way is the only way. However, it is important to remember that everyone has their own unique perspective.
If you find yourself struggling to be open to change, there are many things that you can do to make it easier. One way is to practice meditation or mindfulness. This can help you to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions. It can also help you to let go of judgment and preconceived notions. Another way is to spend time with people who are different from you. This can be difficult, but it is a great way to learn about new perspectives.
Whatever method you choose, it is important to remember that change is a natural part of life. Emotional intelligence is about being open to learning and growing from our experiences.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present.