Emotional intelligence might not be something you’ve considered learning about before! But hopefully after reading this post today, that will all change.
As someone who’s fully invested in the art of creating a beautiful intentional life, I’m acutely aware of just how important our emotions are to the process. After all, every single goal we set for ourselves we pursue because of the emotion we’ve attached to it.
We all desire to feel good and happy in life! Yet 24/7 happiness isn’t something we can actually achieve. Human life is messy! “Negative” emotions aren’t something you can avoid forever. But you can learn how to manage them.
You’re taught how to spell and do math in school. But did anyone sit you down to talk to you about your emotions? Probably not. We’re taught about what someone deemed to be the basic tools of life. But the fact is that no matter how intelligent we are or how much education we rack up, at the end of the day, we’re all ruled by our emotions.
Even basic decisions (like which deodorant we should buy) come from an emotional place. Yet we often fail to notice because we immediately back up those decisions with logic–or so we think. But the logic is usually just there to justify what our emotions dictated first!
If something has the ability to control your behavior, then don’t you think it’s worth learning more about?
It’s something we can all benefit from, even if we may have lived our entire lives without ever hearing about it!
So if you’ve ever found yourself doing something wildly out of character (which–don’t worry!–we all have) then you can probably blame your emotions. Emotions can spike out of nowhere and put us in a fight-or-flight mode that’s wildly out of proportion with what’s actually happening.
5 Emotional Intelligence Skills For Real Life
Emotional Intelligence Skills #1:
Self-awareness is so key to our own happiness! When we’re in denial of our feelings (and therefore thoughts), it can be difficult to get control of our life.
Creating self-awareness is like creating an accurate map of yourself for yourself. If don’t know where you’re starting from, then it’s hard to push forward or make any corrections.
We all have our own emotional idiosyncrasies to be aware of. So think about yours: what do you do when you’re avoiding something? What traits do you tend to view negatively in others? What are your first signs of feeling unhappy? What are the things you can do for yourself that always make you feel better?
Think of this as just another part of writing your own self-care manual. You are both your own best expert and best advocate! You can’t always rely on your partner or family or friends to know what’s right for you. Learning to notice your own emotional patterns is just the first step in being able to manage them.
Emotional Intelligence Skills #2:
Notice Your Own Thoughts
As much as it might feel like your emotions just arrive (POOF! Like magic!) that’s actually not the case. But surprise! They’re actually the just the result of your own thoughts.
To be fair, you might never even notice this is happening unless you bother to learn about emotional intelligence. But we all know what living life like that is like: feeling out of control of your own life, desperately hoping to control the circumstances around you (because that’s the only way you think you’ll be able to feel better).
But everything that happens in our outer world is actually neutral. We just create a story in our mind about what those events mean and that story is what ends up hurting us.
So what happens when you start to create a new story? Yes, it’s true: you can stop reacting emotionally and taking everything around you personally. It takes a lot of self-awareness and thought work to get there but who wouldn’t want the chance to manage their own emotional state for the better? The more you practice being happy instead of reactive, the easier it becomes!
Emotional Intelligence Skills #3:
Get Off The Emotional Rollercoaster
Emotional intelligence is really just that: intelligence. Emotions are there to send us a message. Once you understand that, you can immediately start looking for the message instead of springing into action (or reaction). When we can create some space between us and our emotions instead of being ruled by them, then we can start to look at them with a critical eye. What is this feeling telling me? Where did it come from?
Every single emotion has a story to tell you. They’re here to help you learn. However, that doesn’t mean you have to get bossed around by them! If your feelings are hurting you, you also have the power to shift your thoughts so things aren’t quite so painful. That doesn’t mean denying what’s happened or running away from your pain. That means seeing it for what it is (a story that you’re choosing to uphold) and taking the brave step of rewriting the entire equation. Life doesn’t just have to happen to you! You do get a say in how you look at the world and how you feel.
The more you learn about yourself, the more powerful you’ll become! So don’t be afraid to admit to yourself what’s really going on and take the step to begin healing.
Emotional Intelligence Skills #4:
Hop on Pinterest or Instagram for a minute and you’ll notice just how many people are on the hunt for motivation. The only problem? They’re looking in all the wrong places. All the quotes and mini pep-talks they’re so hungry for are just quick-fix replacements for the real thing! True motivation comes from the inside. There’s really no need to look elsewhere!
Contrary to what the pretty Internet world might have you believe, motivational quotes are not where your inspiration really comes from. Sometimes feeling angry or frustrated is the real motivating factor. Sometimes feeling good at a certain point in time can provide enough motivation to want to get back there. It’s not about looking for something outside of you. It’s about your inner world (only always).
Not feeling motivated is something you can deal with in a very practical manner: you just start doing instead! I used to be a runner and I’d wager to guess that 80% of the time I didn’t really feel like running. But after lacing up my shoes and putting a few blocks behind me, the motivation would suddenly kick in. I’d promised myself an easy 15-minute run but I’d easily turn that into my normal 30 once I got going. The motivation for that 30 minutes did not happen until I actually started putting energy in. This proves over again one of my favorite sayings: energy flows where attention goes. Put yourself in the driver’s seat to actually do something and very soon you’ll really feel it.
Emotional Intelligence Skills #5:
Understand Your Own Projections
Learning more about how your brain works will ultimately reveal a truth that can transform all of your relationships: we don’t see the world the way it is. We see it the way we are!
We all have our own unique filters that shift the way we look at the world around us. We might think that we see the world around us free from any bias. But unfortunately, that’s not the case! Without even realizing it, we interpret the world around us through a filter of our own biases, beliefs and experiences.
We all know what it’s like to jump to conclusions and to make assumptions. Your brain doesn’t like not understanding the world around it. So it will jump at the chance to fill in any blanks. However, it’s crucial to realize what’s actually going on. Just because your brain is telling you something is right does not mean that’s actually true! Giving space to both yourself and those around you will give your relationships a better shot at true understanding.
So tell me: what emotional intelligence skills are you going to work on first? Where can you start to notice your own emotional processes instead of being overwhelmed by them?
Our personalities and abilities are not fixed! That means you have the power to decide on becoming more emotionally intelligent any time you like. You don’t have to feel overwhelmed by your bossier emotions. They’re all just here to teach you something. Simply knowing that can give you the space to learn the lesson fast and to just keep going.
Good luck with it and let me know how it goes for you!