Developing Emotional Intelligence with Zenpowerment
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is our ability to identify and manage our emotions, and interact with the emotions of others in a productive manner. It’s how we get along with others, while being empowered and using our voice. It’s really hearing somebody, not only what they say, but how they say it.
In this world of email and texting, face-to-face interaction is decreasing. When we’re talking face-to-face with somebody, we don’t get an emoticon if someone is feeling defensive, anxious, angry or any other emotion. We get to use our perception and intuition to know best how to navigate our own emotions and the emotions of others.
Zenpowerment principles teach how to empower ourselves while being authentic. Understanding our emotions, programming and filters is key to developing our emotional intelligence.
We Are Not Our Emotions
The dictionary defines emotions as a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood or relationships with others. I would like to take this definition a bit further. Emotions are tools, just like a mobile phone or a shovel. Also, we are not our emotions, we have emotions. When we can separate our true selves from our emotions, we can learn to observe them and determine how to best use these tools. When we identify our true selves as the observer of emotions, we have a better chance of not giving away our power to our emotions, and becoming their slaves by acting out on them.
Emotions are not good or bad, they simply are tools. Just like a mobile phone or a shovel are tools that can be used for good or bad, our emotions can be used for good or bad. The phone isn’t bad in itself. It’s how we choose to use it.
Emotions should be experienced and not suppressed. This does not mean that you have to act on the emotion, but merely experience it. There are no wrong emotions. Some people will feel guilty about having a ‘negative’ emotion, so they feel guilty about it or suppress it. There is no benefit to this, and it is actually damaging, as it can build up over time and cause us to explode. If we take time to experience an emotion as it comes up, we can evaluate it and determine how it might serve us (as a tool), or if we should let it go.
Using Emotions as Teachers
We all have emotional triggers. Triggers such as fear of failure, guilt, abandonment, lack of safety and fear of not belonging are common to all of us. Many times, especially in communication with others, emotional triggers make us become unreasonably defensive or emotional. When we recognize these triggers, we can be assured that it is not the current situation that is causing the trigger, but a deeper set of programming that is not even related to the current incident. We can learn to minimize or eliminate these triggers by doing the following:
- Recognize the trigger- by staying present, you can create an awareness so that when you are triggered, you recognize it. Immediately, once recognized, you can minimize the impact of the trigger by realizing that it is a trigger, and letting it go.
- Identify the source of the trigger- once you are alone in a quiet place, grab something to write with and ask yourself where was the first instance in your life where you felt like you did when you were triggered.
- Identify the belief about the trigger- When you’ve identified the source of the trigger, ask yourself what you believed about yourself at that time. Many times, this belief is something like, I’m not good enough, I don’t belong, I’m not loved, etc.
- Ask yourself if your current belief serves you, and is really true- if the behavior from the trigger doesn’t serve you, then it doesn’t make sense to keep it. Most times, this initial belief is not true, and was established as a child, where our decision-making skills weren’t the best.
- Create a new belief- if the current belief that creates the trigger doesn’t serve you, create a new belief that does serve you. Make it an empowering statement that you can believe.
By going through this process again and again, we can eliminate triggers and programming that doesn’t serve us. This will allow us to better understand and manage our own emotions. Once we understand our own emotions, we can better interact with the emotions of others.
Developing Emotional Intelligence with Others
Yogi Bhajan said “If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time, cease to react at all.”
When you realize that your emotions and triggers are your responsibility, then you can also realize that the emotions and triggers of others are their responsibility. There is no need for you to react to their emotions. What you can do is help them through their emotions by using these tools:
- Get their communication and being present- when you are in a conversation or a meeting, and someone is acting defensive or unusually emotional, true two-way communication stops. The other person simply wants to be heard and validated. They want to be talked off the ledge. When this happens, just acknowledge how they are feeling. You do not have to agree. You do not have to defend your own opinion. Just listen and acknowledge what they are saying. Many times, this will allow them to calm down and realize that they might be acting unreasonably.
- Come from a place of love and empathy- Since you realize that you have your own bag of emotional triggers, it allows you to be more compassionate and empathetic when someone shows up with their own bag. One way to look at it is when the other person is triggered, they are afraid. Fear is one of the root causes of our programming that causes triggers. If you realize that they are afraid in that moment, take extra care to show them love and empathy.
- Postpone a conversation, if necessary- at times, if a person is really triggered, it makes sense to just postpone a conversation. Communication is two-way; a giving and a receiving. When a person is triggered, they are not in a place to receive communication, so the conversation becomes futile. Wait until there are calmer heads, so you can really address an issue.
How Emotional Intelligence Gives us the Edge
By understanding our own emotions and the emotions of others, we can better understand the importance and impact of communications. It allows us to become more empowered and not be a victim to our emotions or the emotions of others. People around you will notice how you handle heated conversations, and they will respect you for your integrity in difficult times.
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