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Emotional Intelligence, the Key to Better Relationships

Image of small white child touching older black gentleman's hand.Raleigh Psychotherapy, counseling, emotional intelligence

Being successful is not as simple as having a high IQ. You won't go very far without another component, known as “emotional intelligence”. Psychologist and science journalist Daniel Coleman summarized it by saying,

“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions so that positive results are achieved.

In order to do this, you must be able to identify your emotions, understand what they are telling you and realize how they affect people around you.

Emotionally intelligent people are able control their feelings and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem-solving. People with high emotional intelligence are able to understand what others are feeling, and respond to them in a way that they feel heard, understood and cared about.

Professor John Mayer wrote a book on the subject in 1995. His studies indicated that emotional intelligence was the missing link in explaining why people with average IQ’s outperform those with the highest IQ’s 70 percent of the time.

Until then, it was believed that IQ was the sole source of success. Decades of research now indicate that emotional intelligence is the critical factor that sets the super stars apart from the rest.

Emotional intelligence cannot be predicted by someone’s intelligence. Intelligence is your ability to learn. Emotional Intelligence is a set of skills that can be acquired and improved with education, practice and personal growth.

Emotional intelligence is made up of seven elements:

1. Personal competence: How you manage yourself, rather than how you relate to others. It is your ability to stay awake and aware. It is knowing yourself and how you tend to respond to situations, being mindful of your own emotions and managing your own behavior.

2. Self-Awareness: To be personally competent, you must be self-aware. It is the ability to be perceive your emotions, name them correctly, and to stay alert as you feel them. It is the power to feel your feelings and not be overwhelmed or controlled by them.

3. Self-Management: You must stay flexible and in control of your behavior while having feelings. It is staying positive in the midst of stress.

4. Social Competence: This concerns how you relate to others. It is your capacity to understand other people’s moods, behaviors, and motives in order to improve your relationships.

5. Social Awareness: The ability to be able to identify emotions in others and to correctly interpret them. It also involves keeping your personal reactions in check so that you can understand what is happening.

6. Relationship Management: Using the awareness of your feelings, the feelings of others, and the context of the situation to manage interactions successfully.

7. Empathy: Identifying with and understanding the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you.

Tests show that emotional intelligence is the foundation for many critical skills. It impacts much of what you say and do, and has a huge impact on success.

The good news is that emotional intelligence can be developed. Next week, I will talk about some ways that you can develop your emotional intelligence.

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