I was in a work meeting a few weeks back and one of the women said (rather boastfully) that she “had a very high EQ”. I used the context of the conversation to gauge what she was referring to, but googled it on my way home to be sure. According to a Harvard theorist, EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them. Emotional intelligence is more important now than ever before, don’t you think? Especially given that we’re in the age of Covid; dealing with all of the stressors that come with navigating work, parenting and just life in the midst of a global pandemic. I’ve tunneled down a very long EQ hole in hopes of raising mine. Want to try too? Here are 5 steps to raising your Emotional Intelligence:
- Self-Awareness. This can be a tough one, because in my experience, self-awareness is either something you have, or you don’t. My best girlfriend told me a few years back that she thinks most people find me “unrelatable” 😳. That was my first foray into becoming more self-aware. Never had that thought crossed my mind! I saw myself (or wanted to be) approachable, warm, kind. So how do you become more self-aware? Start by sourcing friends and asking them to describe you; but not just any acquaintance – only the really close, honest to a fault, wonderful ones. Then you can move on to personality tests, journaling and really honing in on your mindfulness routine.
- Self-Regulation. For the second “self” component, we look to self-regulation, or the art of managing your emotions. I have learned so much about this element in the parenting stage we’re in right now with Grey. The process in which he learns to regulate his feelings and actions has a lot to do with how we model our own feelings and subsequent behaviors. It has made me far more aware of staying present, keeping my cool, and not letting my emotions get the best of me. The patience part is still a work in progress.
- Empathy. I love this one. And as it turns out, empathy is one of the most important factors in raising your EQ. The more empathetic you are, the better you listen to actually understand the feelings and motivations of others. This helps you to gain their trust and support, diffuse heightened situations, and advance your community and career. Plus, in my opinion, it just serves everyone better to be a kind human.
- Social Skills. My Achilles heel. Yours too? This key to achieving better Emotional Intelligence is all about how well you interact with others in social settings (I am so awkward and perpetually worried I’ll say something non-PC). The ease in which you hold conversations, connect with people in social circles, and assist with managing their emotions. Wait, so we have to help control others’ emotions in addition to our own? 😩. But imagine the power of changing someone’s bad day to good? Or shifting their mindset from lack to abundance? This tool sounds like one that’s well worth working toward.
- Happiness. I saved the best for last. This is my favorite subject to talk about, research, experiment with, and of course, to experience. Generally, people who possess high emotional intelligence are classified as “happy people”. But the differentiation between the “regular happy people” and the happy people with high EQ, are that the ones with high EQ are givers. Their happiness doesn’t come from clicking buy on all the items in their amazon cart, or redoing a room in their house. Happy, emotionally intelligent people, are happy because they help other people. Whether that means volunteering, mentoring others, helping a friend with chores, it doesn’t matter. Simply put: help others and you’re well on your way to raising your EQ. If we start anywhere, let’s start with that.
Have a wonderful start to your weekend 💙. Thank you for coming down these rabbit holes with me. Growing (and tunneling) is always better with friends!