Recently, the main indicator of human potential was IQ. It depended on it whether you would get a managing position in a corporation, whether you could do science, and so on. But now the situation has changed. When emotional intelligence was discovered and described in 1990, it finally became clear why seven out of 10 people with an average IQ achieve more in life than those whose IQ is higher than the average. After a quarter of a century of research, scientists have agreed on one thing: it is an indicator of emotional intelligence, or emotional coefficient, that distinguishes people who rise over mediocrity.
Emotional intelligence is important in all spheres of life, including romantic relationships.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
So, what is emotional intelligence? In the mid-1990s, the Western world was blown up by the psychological bestseller written by journalist Daniel Goleman: Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Through facts about the human brain, the history of emotions and anthropology, Goleman tried to give his version of a successful person using the research of American scientists.At that moment, they were actively searching for the ingredient of success, analyzing the achievements of different people in childhood and adulthood, their cognitive and social skills. Certainly, the origin, heredity, and the efforts invested in education influence the viability of a person in adulthood, but the success in life — especially if it concerns people without innate privileges — is affected by a unique combination of intellectual abilities and emotional sensitivity, when a person does not use own feelings and desires destructively but to achieve long-term goals.
You may ask why is emotional intelligence important? Whatever the university diploma, parental family and the first years of a happy life are, the ability of a person to manage their feelings and notice the feelings of others will affect their ability to establish long-term relationships in their personal life and business, gain influence, draw attention, lead a team, be friends and start a family. Emotional intelligence in a broad sense is the recognition of oneself, one’s positive and negative feelings, the ability to separate personal feelings from bare facts, as well as the ability to feel mood, temperament, intonation and intention in communicating with other people, no matter you’ve known your interlocutor or see them for the first time in your life. That’s why the importance of emotional intelligence is so big.
An important part of emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and honestly describe one's own emotions, the ability not to panic and reject "bad emotions" (anger, jealousy, irritation, envy) and the widespread distribution of emotionally colored language with I-messages. People who are able to articulate their feelings (“I’m sad that our vacation passes so routinely” instead of “Why can't you think of anything again?”), realize their source and calmly discuss further actions, without becoming personal, are a rarity. And the time spent with them, for the majority, is very good communication.
Psychologists usually subdivide emotional intelligence into four categories of skills. The first is the ability to communicate clearly with others, explain expectations, actively listen, influence and inspire, work in a team or lead it and settle conflicts. The second is general empathy and a comfortable sense of self in a large group of people: regardless of whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, you read the emotional signals of others and rarely encounter misunderstandings. The third sign is knowledge of one's weaknesses and strengths and calm coexistence with them, as well as a good knowledge of personal emotions and their influence on your life. And the last - the ability to manage emotions, limit their destructive influence on you, the ability to fulfill your obligations, maintain long-term relationships and change in accordance with the environment.
Why Is Emotional Intelligence Important?
How often have you come across an incredibly talented and, at the same time, unreliable person who does not comply with the agreement? Have you ever been that person? Were you interrupted by inappropriate comments or did you complicate the conflict with your intervention? Has it happened because of unvoiced expectations your relationship only got worse and no one could determine what the reason was? All these situations reflect problems with emotional intelligence: when there is a lack of understanding of intentions and mood, emotional state and motivation make simple communication tense, negative or even rude. What is primarily affected by emotional intelligence? What are the main components of emotional intelligence?
Feeling euphoric or depressed, experiencing causeless anxiety or having very specific concern, people with high EQ understand what is happening to them and how it is called. They are able to distinguish anxiety from anger or panic, and spontaneous tender joy from strong emotional intimacy. Having a good understanding of their feelings, they are able to distance themselves from those feelings and not to delve into destructive and disembodied thoughts. For example, you would not take passion for great love, and a curious prospect - for the main goal of life. Based on emotions, people build long-term plans, where mood swings or new events in life, in general, will not greatly change the vector of their development. This does not mean a dull life, without impressions, in which you cannot succumb to an impulse. Rather, it is a profound knowledge of how to respond to specific emotions.
Understanding your feelings, it's easy to control yourself - from conscious nutrition to work schedules and work time planning. High EQ affects the fact that we take responsibility for our lives and the final result of all relationships - working and personal - and not look for the guilty. Instead of blaming colleagues who failed or the better half who did not understand you correctly, people with high EQ tend to ask themselves at what stage the misunderstanding worsened, what exactly they could have done better - and use this knowledge in the next similar situations. Self-control contributes to the fact that we do not allow negative emotions (anger, anxiety, fatigue) to affect others and maintain our own reputation: promise and agreement are observed by us on an ongoing basis outside force majeure.
Emotional intelligence is closely related to motivation and proactive behavior - the ability to adequately respond to changes, unite (and not divide) people, represent other people's interests, delegate power and inspire people to believe in the best. A person with a high EQ is easy to teach and refers to temporary difficulties without a negative attitude, guided by the principle “you can never know until you try.” They analyze their own and others people’s mistakes well, are not arrogant and therefore are able to influence the mood of the group, not intimidating and not giving lightweight promises.
First, emotional intelligence influences the desire to live up to one’s own and other people’s expectations and to take these guarantees more responsibly. Secondly, the need to discuss mutual expectations at work or in the family makes it possible to express concerns about why the “gray areas” in a big task become smaller over time.
In a broad sense, emotional intelligence affects the ability to understand what others feel and think. This may include a lot of information of all sorts: knowledge of social psychology, group behavior or relations in a couple, and specific skills to calm and help a panicking person out of a stupor, find the right words and ways to divert attention. In general, empathy is attuning to others in any state, accepting their mood, understanding the language, and reading non-verbal signs. The first thing that affects emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize the emotions of others and draw conclusions from this.
All of the above areas of influence of emotional intelligence lead to the main thing: the combination of these qualities helps us better understand people, not to have unreasonable expectations towards them, not to demand from ourselves and others more than we can, not to become hostages to emotions, not to give in to the group influence. People with high EQ often resort to rhetoric devices or already have a good mastery of persuasion. They are able to verbally identify priorities, do not expect that their emotions will be guessed, and rarely slip into passive-aggressive behavior.
Improving emotional intelligence helps unite people and initiate changes in a family or group, without causing negative feelings in anybody, to see the advantages of everyone separately, when it is necessary to achieve common goals, to share experiences, and teach each other.
Emotional Intelligence in a Relationship
There are always two emotional poles in a relationship - he and she. Since childhood, girls and boys have different emotional worlds that form as they grow. This also affects what the spouses expect from the relationship. Men always want to talk exclusively about "business", and women in every conversation try to find an emotional link. In other words: men do not realize the importance of emotional strategies for the preservation of marriage. And one more difference. Men tend to look at relationships and marriage through rose-colored glasses, and women, on the contrary, focus on difficulties and problems.
What to do, how to create a joint, healthy, emotional reality? Developing emotional intelligence may help you.
Psychologists advise to follow simple tactics.
Men should not shy away from a conflict. It is more correct to try to understand that when their wives try to discuss problems and offenses, they show love and try to maintain relationships. It is not a sign of a lack of emotional intelligence in relationships. At such moments, irritation from the spouse does not mean personal attacks.
The most important thing women want is their feelings to be recognized and to be considered as reasonable, even if their husbands disagree with them. Low emotional intelligence and relationships is not the way to a mutual understanding we are speaking of.
Ability to listen and understand the feelings of a spouse is the key to success.
Moments of disagreement enable emotional intelligence to be brought into marriage.
Every strong experience includes the urge to act. The ability to regulate these impulses is the basis of emotional intelligence.
But very often during an argument it is almost impossible. Emotions are going wild. The only correct tactic in such cases is placidity. In moments of conflict, a person loses the ability to listen and clearly express one’s thoughts, so they just need to take a pause and then try to listen to a partner.
How to Improve Emotional Intelligence
So, how to increase emotional intelligence?
Put yourself in the shoes of another person
To begin with, it would be nice to study the person in whose place we want to put ourselves. A crying little child is most often tired or hungry. An irritated neighbor could not sleep because of the construction under the window. Analyzing a person and their state, we better understand what they feel now and why they act in this way.
Name emotions: yours and others
Most people do not know how to call their emotions and consider this an extra skill. If you want to learn how to develop emotional intelligence, you have to correctly name emotions. Meanwhile, anger is very different from resentment and frustration, and it is necessary to analyze one’s own and other people's emotions in order to know one’s own weak points. One of the best ways is to fill up an emotional dictionary with new descriptions of emotions.
Broaden your horizons
Often, problems with emotional intelligence are related to the fact that we drown in our information bubble. It has already been proven that knowledge of several foreign languages helps a person to better assimilate information about the diversity of the world. It is necessary to broaden our horizons - to read art books and memoirs, to watch fiction and documentary films, to be interested in science, to travel, to engage in self-education.
Think two steps ahead
Emotional intelligence is related to long-term planning: setting priorities and goals, strategic allocation of resources and tactics of immediate actions. In building relationships with others, you should always divide people into those with whom we spend most of the time and those who have no influence on our lives. All the powers of emotional intelligence should be used to ensure that communication with your inner circle is full and interesting.