Emotional Intelligence is an ability that can be divided into the following main areas:
* Recognizing our own emotions,
* Managing our emotions,
* Recognizing the emotions of others and responding to other people’s emotions effectively.
In this blog, we will outline the value of these areas.
Recognizing our own emotions
This area refers to our ability to know how we are feeling and why we are feeling this way. This means that we can recognise when we are feeling hurt, scared, or excited, and also why we feel this way. Although this may sound like a clear and simple ability to have, we may find that emotions are not always as clear, especially when we are overwhelmed, distracted, or caught up in a fast pace that may leave us feeling disconnected from how we are feeling and why we are feeling this way. When we do not recognize our emotions we may react to these in ways that are not helpful to us- for example, if we do not know that we are feeling anxious because of an upcoming difficult conversation with a colleague, we may find ourselves being more easily triggered by and snapping at our friend instead of perhaps asking them for their support. This leads us to our next point.
Managing our emotions
How do we deal with sadness, excitement, and anxiety? What strategies do we make use of to deal with our emotions? Being Emotionally Intelligent allows us to deal with these emotions in ways that are beneficial and appropriate. So to use the previous example, if we recognize that we are feeling anxious because of an upcoming difficult conversation with a colleague, we can deal with this anxiety by planning what we would like to say, exercising, or perhaps having a chat with a friend to get their opinion on the matter. A lack of such strategies can leave us feeling stuck, helpless, or overwhelmed by frustration and thoughts.
Recognizing the emotions of others and responding to these effectively
This area refers to our ability to interpret how someone else is feeling and to also be able to empathize with them. For example, imagine a situation where a friend comes to meet you for a coffee after having visited a loved one in hospital and your friend arrives late, seems distracted and unsettled. While on the outside this friend may come across as not interested, through our empathy we remember that having a loved one in hospital can be very scary, worrying and sometimes very tiring too. These two interpretations – our friend is not interested or our friend is worried about their loved one, may leave us in a very different position in how we react to them.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Rebecca Cassar is a Family Therapist practicing the Systemic Approach. She specializes in offering therapy to families, couples and individuals who are experiencing distress in their relationships. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.