Have you ever been in a heated argument with someone, or in a twisted game of “You said, I said,” or “No I do not mean it like that, this is what I meant,” or “Please explain yourself to me, because I do not understand?” Yes, that kind of conversation. I think we all have travelled down that winding road before. It’s amazing how we can have such diverse perspectives on a similar event. This is primarily because we differ from one another, not just in body image, but also in our mental image—how we think, move, and perceive the world around us. We are entitled to our emotions—to feel them, to express them, and to be responsible for them.
I can guarantee, that throughout the course of a given day, you will experience an array of emotions—joy, impatience, frustration, contentment, sadness, anxiety, anticipation—depending on the events and how they have unfolded. We are the physical expression of our genetic makeup; therefore, the way in which you experience, process and express emotions is a result of both nature and nurture. What this means is that emotions are a part of your genetic legacy and the combination of every experience starting from the day you were born.
The way in which we express our emotion, may be due to personality. You may be the type of person who expresses emotions openly, or perhaps you tend to keep them to yourself. Either way, your emotions have a major effect on your behavior—your words, actions, and facial expression, and they determine and affect how well you navigate your day-to-day life.
Can you imagine a world without any form of emotion? Not a pretty sight or state. Emotional intelligence (often referred to as EQ) can be described as the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. Studies have suggested that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened over the course of one’s life, while others suggest it’s an inborn personality trait with very little room for improvement.
Studies have identified, four different levels of emotional intelligence: The lowest levels involve perception and expressing emotion, while higher levels require greater effort of conscious involvement regulating emotions.
- Emotional perception – This involves understanding nonverbal signals, body language and facial expressions.
- The ability to reason using emotions – Emotions help promote thinking and cognitive activity.
- The ability to understand emotions– The emotions that we perceive can be vague; therefore, it is critical to understand the emotions of others correctly to avoid confusion, negativity, and assumptions.
- The ability to manage emotions– The ability to manage emotions effectively is the most crucial part of emotional intelligence and the highest level. Regulating ones’ self-emotions and responding appropriately to the emotions of others are vital aspects of emotional management and intelligence.
Understanding emotions can be the bull’s eye to better relationships, improved well-being, and stronger communication skills. To improve your emotional intelligence, you can start by learning how to keep quiet (resist that impulse to comment or respond), listening more (pay attention to what others are really saying), and show empathy (how would you feel in their situation?). Last, but not least, reflect on your behavior and decisions. These will directly be based upon your emotion so taking an inventory of your interactions throughout the day and noting where you can improve can help you grow your emotional intelligence. Improving your emotional intelligence, will also enhance self-awareness, thinking skills, and empathy for others, along with conflict management skills.
As you increase in emotional intelligence you will be able to apply and master the below items when they are presented:
- The ability to accept criticism and responsibility
- The ability to move from a mistake
- Being able to say no when necessary
- The ability to express your feelings with others
- An understanding of how to mutually solve problems
- The ability to express empathy
- Improved listening skills
- An awareness as to why you do the things you do
- Resist casting judgment on others
Remember, emotions are a part of who you are, and it is okay to be in your feelings. The key is to understand and harness the positive attributes of emotions to its full potential. Take control of your emotional intelligence today, it will be of great value to you, and others.
Havard Health Publishing. (2021). Emotional Intelligence. Retrieved from. Emotional Intelligence – Harvard Health
Psychology Today. (2021). Emotional Intelligence. Retrieved from. Emotional Intelligence | Psychology Today
Very Well Mind. (2020). What is Emotional Intelligence. Retrieved from. What Is Emotional Intelligence? (verywellmind.com)