The impression regarding Emotional Intelligence has been improving day by day, with talks, workshops and sessions, and even in some countries its presence in schools is quite common.
The only problem is, although it has been developing and people have a greater appreciation about the matter, the strong association it has with positive psychology makes people think that one needs to learn this quality if you are depressed or suffer from a disorder where help is necessary. They link a lack of it as synonymous with weakness and instability, making mild comments such as "Why don’t we hear a little more about Emotional Intelligence?" Sounds like "I think you don’t have control over your emotions and you need therapy”. The moments when I share about my company and the talks I give, people think that I offer therapies and psychological cures to free social misfits, when in reality I help to develop soft skills aimed at living life to the fullest.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
I think first of all we have to start from the exact concept of what intelligence is, being:
"The ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills."
It is our ability to absorb external information, process it according to our past experiences to get the most out of a given situation. It could be divided by different categories according to the subjects surrounding us, being emotions the fieldwork for the Emotional Intelligence.
This creates another misconception that is the association between femininity and emotions. “Manly mans” limit their potential growth because they consider a kind of weakness if someone is in touch with how they are feeling. "A man who respects himself does not show his emotions", as well as the most damaging phrase that a child is told when he is crying, "be a man".
In simple terms, Emotional Intelligence is our capacity to observe information related to emotions (how we are feeling, how others feel, what are the things that motivates and drives us), understand them, then manage them, de-escalating problems or finding innovative solutions that improve our relationships.
The problem lies in the current lack of practical exercises for its development, ways to help us better perceive emotional information, the same as the mathematics exercises given to us at school. We can easily see when there is a leak to repair, when we have to move objects to fit a given space, when we have to do a physical feat to dodge an obstacle, but nowadays it is difficult to notice how one is feeling with the lack of current social skills, and thus facilitate the first parts of observation and understanding.
What can be achieved with Emotional Intelligence?
Acclaimed psychoanalyst Daniel Goleman observes that to develop it one has to start a path of self-knowledge focused on our intra and interpersonal skills. Following five steps, one could understand, channel and enhance their emotions. These are:
Recognize the emotions that affect us
Manage our emotions (do not repress them, channel them)
Celebrate past achievements and self-motivation
Development of Empathy
Relationship with others
Following this path of learning, one will acquire certain qualities that will enhance their day-to-day interactions and help them enjoy the things they do. Following the first three steps, the intrapersonal skills will help you know what you really want to do / achieve, understanding the things that affect you daily and the impact that certain relationships have on yourself. With the following two steps one improves and deepens their interpersonal skills, getting to develop important and lasting relationships with others, because we understand how they are feeling and what motivates them, allowing to see these characteristics in others, to be a source of help and in a future, those same people can help with the objectives we have.
Now, after reading this whole article, one might think that developing our Emotional Intelligence is necessary for people who need help to form bonds and manage their day to day emotions (as we had mentioned earlier with their association with therapies and psychologists), but Emotional Intelligence is much more than that. It is a capacity that people have and can develop to empower themselves and relate to others, becoming a social chameleon, a charismatic beings that stand out.
It is a quality that can be acquired with practice and that should be associated the same as the other intelligences. We are not all geniuses in mathematics, but that does not limit our ability to learn to count or multiply. Not all of us can draw like the great artists, but we can develop our skills to express our ideas clearly. Not all of us are the charismatic leader who will take your team to glory, but we can be the person who makes a positive impact with in your life and in the ones of the people around you.
Developing Emotional Intelligence is for anyone who wants to empower themselves, who don’t want to limit their growth due to external factors and want to connect in an emotional way with others. We can all achieve this, some are born with this quality, others face personal challenges that force their development while others decide to take their destiny in their hands choosing to study knowing that, just as one learns how to multiply, one can begin the path of emotional self-knowledge.
After reading up to here, what´s your impression on Emotional Intelligence?
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