Emotional Intelligence is a term popularized by Daniel Goleman in his 1995 by the same title. It is broadly defined as the ability to recognize your own and others emotions and, as a consequence, to understand how that knowledge can guide you to maintain healthy relationships and manage stress.
Over the upcoming series of five articles, I will address these benefits in greater detail.
1. To understand why we have emotions.
Despite their tremendous influence, for good and ill, in our lives, rarely do we sit down to consider why we are imbued with the experience of emotions. What purpose do they serve that would lead to their relevance and continuity throughout evolution? How can they best serve us now in our contemporary culture?
2. To be able to communicate our emotions effectively.
We need both to express our own and understand the emotions expressed by others. Not only does this increase the likelihood that we can attain our individual goals and aspirations, it can also help to reduce stress, improve health, result in happier personal relations, and be more effective in our business and community circles
3. To recognize behaviors in relationship that are destructive power-struggles.
We can learn and adopt patterns of mutual understanding and negotiation that lead to genuine win-win solutions, family co-operation and business teamwork.
4. To be able to effectively set boundaries.
There are times when it is necessary to set limits with others in an appropriate and non-confrontational way. Currently our cultural models promotes a counter-productive and aggressive response when others challenge our well-being. It is time to learn a healthier alternative. Our progress, if not survival as a civilization, may depend upon it.
5. Simple, daily practices that will help support a positive, co-empowered life.
Similar to physical health, emotional well-being requires practice to improve. Daily practices involving mindfulness, forgiveness, apology, gratitude, and play will greatly enhance your emotional balance.
In the meantime, here is a self-assessment questionnaire for you to take and reflect upon:
Emotional Intelligence Self-Reflection Quiz
How much does each sentence sound like it relates to you? You can answer completely honestly. No one else needs to know, and it is a valuable reflection.
1 = I would never do that
2 = perhaps, but not often
3 = it depends on the day
4 = more often than not
5 = absolutely, always
- I worry about things turning out badly — the worst-case scenario — when trouble arises.
- My pack/bag containing my laptop is stolen at a coffee shop while I briefly go to the counter. I breathe, survey the consequences, realize everything is backed up, acknowledge I will have to change all my passwords, and say to myself ‘lesson learned’.
- I feel resentful toward a friend whose negligence caused me to miss out on something I really wanted. Let me down and I’ll probably remember it for a long time.
- When someone ahead of me drives slowly or talks for a long time with a customer representative while I wait in line, I try to imagine what their life is like and what their difficulty might be.
- I don’t like to share my greatest fears with people. Some things are best kept to myself.
- Overall, people should show more respect. It angers me how they treat one another.
- It’s interesting to talk with people from different cultures. They have taught me some different and surprisingly good ways to approach life.
- I express my irritation when I feel it. I feel better after I tell someone off.
- I like to help people when I see that they’re doing things incorrectly. It would be wrong to say or do nothing.
- Persistence is the key to success. I don’t give up, and I’m proud of it.
- If someone is doing something stupid, I’ll tell them.
- When things don’t go my way, I’ll stop and ask “How did I contribute to that?”
- Sometimes I stop everything I am doing, put down my ‘to do’ list, to go play with my kids or get together with my friends and just have a laugh.
- I like to clear my mind and just be present to appreciate the beauty that is all around me.
- Some things I like to do probably aren’t great for me, but everyone needs to enjoy a little indulgence now and then. All work and no play is a dreary life.
- I am glad to forgive someone for their mistake if it is an accident and no serious harm is done.
- I am curious about how others live, what matters to them, and I feel concerned for them if they are in difficulty.
- If another person is behaving carelessly, they can learn if left to experience the consequences.
- I like to keep my mind busy with mental challenges.
- If I make a mistake, I am quick to recognize it and apologize regardless of the fault of the other person.
- Add your scores for the following sets:
(i) B____+D____+G____+L____+M____+N____+P____+Q____+R____+T____ = ______
(ii) A____+C____ +E____ +F____ +H____+I____+J____ +K____+O____+S____ = ______
- Subtract (i) – (ii) = ______. This is your score for this quiz.
Emotions? You view them as something to be avoided. Possibly you think emotions betray a weakness, except for anger that you use to assert yourself with.
Your relationships — both romantic and plutonic — might be troubled. You spend a considerable amount of energy attempting to get others to agree with you (or telling them to get them out of your way).
-15 to 0
Emotions are confusing to you. You might tune them out or, if you do recognize them, you can’t really name or speak of them. You believe that men are not supposed to show sadness or worry. If you’re scared, you believe you should be able to get out and do something about it. Upset? Sure, you might admit to being upset sometimes.
You possibly have a stable relationship, one in which you each have your comforts. Alternatively, you might be in a relationship in which your partner is complaining about their difficulty communicating with you when there is a conflict, criticism which leaves you feeling misunderstood.
0 to +15
You understand that you have emotions, though you’re not always sure what to do with them. Mostly you understand when others are sad or worried. Sometimes you can share your own feelings, sometimes you would prefer not to.
You have enjoyed mostly satisfying relationships in your life, though not without their challenges. If you are in an intimate relationship at present, you are willing to negotiate and do your best to understand your partner. Possibly, however, a major loss or crisis lingers unresolved or a fear hovers in the back of your mind, triggering a troubling sense of distance from others who are close to you.
You generally handle stress well, are willing to acknowledge your vulnerabilities, ask for help when you need it and can recognize when others do as well. Emotions are an integral part of the love you feel. You don’t have illusions about controlling the world and have learned how to adapt to it in a respectful way.
You are comfortable either in relationship or not, for you have learned how to satisfy your needs for love and self-esteem in many positive ways. You have the capacity to understand those who view the world differently than you do without feeling threatened by these differences.