Other people don’t determine our thoughts, actions and reactions…we do. If we have a high emotional intelligence (EI), then most likely, we have greater control and balance with our temperament.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
“Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as recognize and influence the emotions of those around you. The term was first coined in 1990 by researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey, but was later popularized by psychologist Daniel Goleman.” – Harvard Business Shcool
Basically, emotional intelligence is being acutely aware of, and in-tune with, how we think, act, speak and react to people and situations. If one has a “low” emotional intelligence, they may be apt to lash out at people and to over-react to situations, whereas someone with a “high” EI, will think before they speak or act and thus will generally have better outcomes.
The adage of “what’s in your cup?” is a good example of how we can apply the concepts of emotional intelligence with positive thinking:
You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.
“Why did you spill the coffee?”
“Because someone bumped into me!”
You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.
Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.
Whatever is inside the cup is what will spill out.
Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which will happen), whatever is inside you, will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.
So we have to ask ourselves… “what’s in my cup?”
When life gets tough, what spills over?
Joy, gratitude, peace and humility?
Anger, bitterness, victim mentality and quitting-tendencies?
Life provides the cup, you choose how to fill it.
Today let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation, resilience, positivity, kindness, gentleness and love for others.
It’s important to note that emotional intelligence does not mean someone is smarter than us because they have high emotional intelligence — it just means that some of us try hard to get control of our emotions, reactions, etc.
We’re all a bit frazzled by modern life and its easy for people to become stressed and aggravated, which leads to negativity — we’re all just human after all, trying the best we can. But, we all have the power to help neutralize the result of external factors that impact our state-of-mind.
If we focus on the moment and remember that we don’t need to lash out or even respond right away to someone’s comments, we can formulate a healthier and more grounded verbal response. The same can be said for our emotional reaction — we simply have to be aware of our tendency and then control how we react or, don’t react.
Ways to Raise Emotional Intelligence
The primary way to have a high emotional intelligence is to have self-awareness. Having the ability to recognize how our emotions/reactions impact ourselves and others is the building block for improving EI. Once we’re aware of our own thoughts and emotions, we can start to manage them better.
The next step is control — once we’re aware and paying attention to how we react/respond/think, we can start to regulate and control our emotions better. People with self control regulate how they behave in tense situations and rather than lashing out, they respond/react in a reasoned, calm and intelligent way.
Having insight into the behaviors/reactions of others is also vital, so a social awareness is key. Identifying what others are feeling or how they may react helps to improve our interactions with other people — empathy and kindness are shared traits among people with high emotional intelligence.
“Change your thoughts and you can change your world.” – Norman Vincent Peale
“Be positive. Your mind is more powerful than you think. What is down in the well comes up in the bucket. Fill yourself with positive things.” – Tony Dungy
Ask yourself what is in your cup: Joy, gratitude, peace and humility? Or, anger, bitterness, victim mentality and quitting-tendencies? The question is essential if we want to live a life of positivity and peace. More importantly than the question, is the answer. I hope your cup is overflowing with joy, peace, faith, prosperity and positivity.