Have you ever taken your stress or anger out on someone when it didn’t come from them? Knowing how to accept and manage your emotions correctly is a proof of emotional intelligence fundamental to success.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Understanding intelligence
- What is emotional intelligence?
- What is the link between experience and emotional intelligence?
- What is emotional intelligence for?
- What are the different dimensions of emotional intelligence?
- Is emotional intelligence hereditary?
- How do I know if I have high emotional intelligence?
- How important is an emotion?
- How to develop emotional intelligence?
1. Understanding intelligence
We often tend to think of intelligence as the result of the IQ test. In reality, intelligence is much more than that. In fact, only 20% of people’s success is due to the intelligence found in IQ tests.
To be intelligent is to be able to understand, know, learn, analyse and adapt to new situations according to the needs of the context. Whether intelligence is cognitive or not, the main common goal is to ensure our survival through adaptability in the world. Intelligence is difficult for many to understand and analyse. That is why some theories count no less than 7 types of intelligence: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily, intrapersonal (or emotional), naturalist and interpersonal.
This refers to the ability to use language to express and develop simple and complex ideas and to understand others, both orally and in writing. People with high linguistic intelligence generally enjoy reading, writing, doing puzzles, learning new languages etc.
This intelligence is the ability to manipulate numbers, to solve logical problems with specific reasoning, to observe and analyse situations in order to create new hypotheses. People with this intelligence are gifted in calculation, problem solving, structuring logical systems…
Visual and spatial intelligence
It is the ability to orientate oneself and to find one’s way around an environment, but also to be able to make links between the various objects present. It is therefore a question of being able to imagine and visualise an arrangement or a route according to the information we have. Artists, for example, often have a high level of visuo-spatial intelligence.
It is the ability to identify, think, create and recognise harmonious sounds and rhythms. Therefore, people with high musical intelligence will be able to memorise, interpret musical sounds, be sensitive to words and their sound.
Bodily or kinesthetic intelligence
Being able to use your body (in whole or in part) and its movements to express your ideas is proof of good body intelligence. This intelligence requires a lot of physical training.
Intrapersonal (or emotional) intelligence
Emotional intelligence is part of intrapersonal intelligence, since it is about being able to introspect one’s needs and feelings in order to improve one’s reactions to different situations
Naturalist intelligence is the ability to know and recognise plants, animals and different environments. More broadly, it is about having a special sensitivity to nature and living things.
This intelligence requires empathy and tolerance. It is the ability to be able to listen, understand, collaborate, and help others in order to have good, lasting and authentic social relationships. Emotional intelligence is very much linked to this type of intelligence as well.
2. What is emotional intelligence?
To understand what emotional intelligence is, it is fundamental to have a clear idea of what emotions are. Emotion is an intense physiological, psychological and affective state, of varying duration. It is a primary reaction of our brain to an environmental stimulus. This emotion will allow us to trigger certain actions for the rest of our body: to be able to share a joy, to clear up misunderstandings, and above all to avoid a danger. This intelligence, rightly valued, will allow us to use our emotions as a motor to go further.
Emotional intelligence is therefore an intelligence mainly centred on emotions. It is the ability to identify, understand, analyse, learn and control our own emotions. But this intelligence goes even further, since it is also about being able to recognise and understand the other person’s emotions in order to harmonise our speech and actions according to their feelings. In order to respect ourselves as well as our interlocutor, it is important to tune in according to our own emotions, and those we have recognised from the other person.
Take the example of an everyday situation. You have just received some excellent news and are particularly happy. You have a date with a friend. When you meet her, you see her crying. Naturally, you don’t jump into her arms and shout out your joy. You will moderate your words, try to understand what she is feeling and support her, without being as sad as she is and suppressing all your joy. In this situation, you are being emotionally intelligent.
3. What is the link between experience and emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is an intelligence in its own right, as it allows us to process information along a specific spectrum. They are actually guides to our needs. Indeed, emotions highlight specific needs that have not been heard or met. Emotional intelligence then allows us to process functional information.
It is important to understand that everything we experience, we experience through the filter of our emotions. As you may have noticed, when you are happy, or filled with positive emotions, you can more easily see the positives of your day. The opposite is true when you start your day with negative emotions.
4. What is emotional intelligence for?
Emotional intelligence is particularly useful for a good harmony between professional, personal, relational and health aspects.
From a professional point of view, being able to analyse your own emotions and those of others and being able to deal with them will enable you to work efficiently, make the right decisions and improve the transmission of information with others. It will also help you to avoid burn out or ergophobia.
From a relational point of view, emotional intelligence is essential for good communication, conflict management, building healthy relationships and cooperating despite differences.
From a personal point of view, it is important to be able to understand one’s current state, to be aware of one’s current state and not to give in to impulse and frustration. A good emotional intelligence will allow you to make better decisions and to reach your professional goals more easily. It also allows for greater assertiveness and self-confidence.
Allowing oneself to be overwhelmed by one’s emotions distorts one’s reasoning and causes one to behave inappropriately.
5. What are the different dimensions of emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is divided into four main concepts which are the essential pillars and components.
It is the ability to become aware of our emotions, to understand them, to recognise them and to understand the influence they can have on our daily lives, on our decision-making and in our lives. It is a question of learning to understand them in order to better guide ourselves, and not to make them a hindrance in our lives.
To do this, we must try not to let ourselves be overwhelmed by the many emotions that affect us, but to name them one by one and to learn to know the triggers of these emotions to better prevent and manage them.
Self-management is the ability to control one’s emotions and impulsiveness. Indeed, daily life brings about different positive and negative emotions, and the accumulation of these emotions sometimes makes us think that we are no longer in control of our emotions or the situation.
To try to achieve this goal of emotional intelligence, try to perceive that you feel overwhelmed by too many emotions. Close your eyes to focus on yourself and breathe, deeply, slowly, taking your time… all your time. Cardiac coherence is a good tool that will allow you to take the time to manage your heart rate to refocus on yourself
Social awareness or awareness of the emotions of others
It is about being able to detect the emotions of others and to empathise. It is about understanding the emotions of others, trying to understand their needs, their concerns and their difficulties.
In this way, we bridge the gap between ourselves and the other person who is suffering. We then adapt our behaviour, our speech, our means of communication…
It is the ability to manage social relationships, its ability to inspire, and to control the impact of the influence of our emotions on others. The idea is to help others to develop through their feelings. By synchronising our emotions with those of others, it is easier to be able to cooperate and motivate the other. In this way, we will help the other to carry his or her emotions forward.
In order to show good emotional intelligence in social relationships, it is important to be flexible and to listen actively.
6. Is emotional intelligence hereditary?
Our intelligence and our brains are shaped by experiences we have had or repeated. You may be familiar with Slumdog Millionaire, which follows the life of an Indian man who is considered too smart because he has the answer to everything. In reality, he makes connections with all his experiences and has learned from them. That is why he is intelligent. In his case, it is mostly cognitive intelligence, but emotional intelligence acts in the same way.
In any case, part of our emotional intelligence is found in our DNA. Indeed, when we experience a situation, a certain emotional baggage present in our brain is activated.
However, emotional intelligence can be developed and worked on in order to improve it.
7. How do I know if I have high emotional intelligence?
To have high emotional intelligence, one must be able to answer these different questions:
- Can I read and understand the emotions of others?
- Can I analyse my own emotions?
- Am I aware of the consequences of my words and actions?
- Can I control my impulsiveness?
- Can I question myself and step back from my emotions?
- Do I manage to name my emotions, and do I manage to be aware of the words when I express elements related to my emotions?
8. How important is an emotion?
It is fundamental not to be afraid of our emotions, but to consider them as creators of social links, and as primordial elements in decision making and in conflict management.
It is therefore necessary to pay particular attention to our emotions, even negative ones, whether they are in ourselves or in others. In reality, they are there to convey the message of an unmet need. A negative emotion is an alert to the need to change something inside or outside of you and to go in search of a solution.
Once the emotion is defined and identified, the question of need must be asked. For example, anger may be because you feel that your need to be listened to, considered, or for justice has not been met. Fear may be a lack of security. Sadness may reflect a loss with a need to grieve for something or someone. You can use the needs of Maslow’s pyramid to better understand what is important in your life to experience serenity.
Once this is accepted, it will be easier to find solutions.
As a reminder, there are six families of emotions: Joy, sadness, fear, disgust, anger and surprise.
9. How to develop emotional intelligence?
Like all intelligences, it can be developed by following these tips.
Embrace your emotions
Learning to manage your emotions means first of all being able to recognise them. Take the time to observe them, to ask yourself what emotion you really feel deep inside. Ask yourself if this emotion is pleasant or unpleasant. Ask yourself what energy is linked to this emotion. And then ask yourself what need this emotion was meant to meet and what rational solution you could find to meet it. Mindfulness meditation is an excellent way to take time to listen to what is going on inside you.
Decoding your emotions
Take time to try to understand your emotions to find out why you feel the way you do. Ask yourself the question “and before this happened to me, what was I doing? In this way you will be able to understand what triggered it, and why it generates this negative emotion in you. Does what you are feeling now or the event you have just gone through echo something else from the past? Does a memory come to mind? If you are suffering from stress at work or at home, try to understand it and ask yourself what you can do about it.
The important thing here is to read your emotions with kindness. Do not pass judgement on what you may be feeling. A message is trying to be transmitted through your body. Don’t bury it, hidden behind a long-lasting and unexplained anger or sadness. This tool can be similar to self-observation, which can be useful in your daily life.
Label your emotions
It is very difficult to have the right vocabulary to really put the right word on the emotion felt. It is easier to say “I’m fine” or “I’m not fine”, without developing and clearly understanding the emotion. However, many words exist to define our emotions and their intensity. Being able to recognise them, name them and distinguish them helps us to understand what we really feel, and to be able to manage them.
Don’t be afraid of the emotions you feel. That is why you can talk about them, at times when it seems appropriate. The people around you will be able to understand your feelings at the time, your reactions, your motivation etc. With the right words, the people around you will understand you.
Take care of it, slowly but surely
Suppressing your emotions will only make them more difficult for you to deal with. If you don’t accept the emotions you feel, it is impossible to take care of them. So accept that you may feel some emotions. Then take the time to process them one by one. When you feel an emotion, identify it, analyse it, and understand what it means to you.
Understanding the emotions of others
Try to apply the different tools with other people. They also feel emotions and have sometimes surprising reactions. However, it is not always easy to understand them and to act on them. Take the time to get feedback, dare to ask the right questions. How does the person feel inside? What is making this moment difficult? Use active listening techniques. Paraphrase some of what the person has told you to make sure you have understood and to let the person hear what they may be feeling too.
For your part, accept that you do not have all the keys to help the person, but accept that you can guide them. In any case, don’t hesitate to ask them questions if necessary.