Wanderlust: Expat Life & Style in Thailand The Relationships Issue - Page 15
5 FOUNDATIONS OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
1 . Self-Awareness : know yourself and understand your inner world .
2 . Self-Regulation : regulate your behavior so that you do not do something that you regret .
3 . Motivation : work hard and be passionate about what you do .
4 . Empathy : put yourself into someone else ’ s shoes .
5 . Social Skills : work out conflict , inspire others , and lead individuals so they want to follow you .
To be self-aware , you must know your strengths and weaknesses . Strengths are activities that make you stronger . What do you look forward to ? What is satisfying after you have done it ? Which activities make you lose track of time ?
When you reflect on your strengths , it helps you to recognize what you should continue to do because it brings out your best . Strengths are not necessarily activities that you are good at ; you can still be driven even you are not good at something . If you can focus on doing activities that strengthen you , you can make your performance great .
Self-awareness also means knowing how different situations affect you — what makes you anxious , what excites you , what saddens you , what makes you happy — and why you might feel a certain way under certain circumstances . Equipped with these “ whats ” and “ whys ,” you can better figure out how to regulate your emotions .
For instance , if you procrastinate , then your self-awareness will help you recognize a few things : one , on which tasks you tend to procrastinate ; two , why these tasks are difficult for you to complete on time ; and three , what you need to do — perhaps start earlier on the tasks you dislike to avoid feeling irritated when you fall behind . Finally but equally important , self-awareness calls for you to know the internal cues in your body and understand how they correlate to your emotions . For example , if I am quiet in a group , I may feel insecure about my ideas .
IMPROVING EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Some people are born with more natural emotional intelligence than others . But , unlike IQ , which is believed to be a stable trait , emotional intelligence can be developed .
Let ’ s say you have a habit of taking on other people ’ s work because you want to be liked . The emotion behind this common pitfall is probably fear of abandonment . After years of shouldering the work of others , you ’ re exhausted and you ’ re now determined to function with firmer boundaries . To exercise your EI in this case , you can ask important people in your life to help you practice saying no . Ask them for feedback .
Over time , it will be easier to say no , and you will recognize that you are still liked , even when you aren ’ t bending over backward for people all the time . Better still , when you starve your fear of abandonment , you ’ re likely to find that people will not run away from you just because you set healthy boundaries ; instead , they will respect you . That shows emotional intelligence is something you can strengthen through repetitive exercise , just like building muscles .
USING EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Now that we have an understanding of the foundations of EI , let ’ s look at some examples of everyday situations in which EI comes in handy .
POLITICAL DISAGREEMENTS With U . S . President Donald Trump now in office , many friendships have dissolved over political differences . Such disagreements can make it surprisingly hard to feel close to a friend or loved one . This might be a familiar situation :
Unlike IQ , which is believed to be a stable trait , emotional intelligence can be developed .
Your friend has voted for Trump and you voted for Hillary Clinton . You can ’ t understand why your friend could make this choice , which seems completely against everything you stand for , and you aren ’ t sure if this friend is really your friend or someone who has deceived you . What can you do ?
If you find yourself in this predicament , you ’ ll experience emotional pain because you care a lot about your friend ; on the other hand , you might find your friend ’ s opinions hard to swallow . This lack of acceptance can lead to upset and to questioning the validity of the friendship . Try to show empathy by asking questions . You might say , “ Can you tell me more about why you feel this way and what made you lean in this direction ?” The point shouldn ’ t be to try to convert your friend to your way of thinking . Instead , seek understanding of his or her motivations . If you use your EI to keep your feelings at bay , you can focus on empathizing with his or her viewpoint ( even if you really don ’ t agree with it ). Doing so can help you find compassion and love for your friend , despite the differences in opinion , and might even save the friendship . If his or her stance proves too difficult for you to stay friends , then remember to share your feelings in a respectful way . Acknowledge that although you are traveling different paths , you have valued the time you had together .
WORK CONFLICTS Here is a hypothetical work scenario requiring EI :
For the last six months , you have noticed that one of your colleagues is rude to you and seems to say negative things to others about your work . You feel like this person is waiting for you to fail , and being around him or her is a thorn in your side . It is hard for you to focus because you feel like he or she is undermining your efforts at doing your job . Which aspects of EI come into play here ? And what is the ( emotionally ) smartest thing for you to do ?