Your Emotional Intelligence is Showing!

In my opinion, one of the biggest fallacies women believe is that because we HAVE such a myriad of emotions, we also possess emotional intelligence. Ummmmm….. No.

Emotional Intelligence (or ‘EMO IQ’) is our ability to be aware of the emotions we are experiencing and — to varying degrees — control them, or at least manage our responses to them.

Too often, I see women (and men, of course) behaving in ways that are direct results of how they FEEL, vs. making time to consider the impact that their emotions are playing in that particular scenario. Choices are made, words are said, habits are formed; and when our lives begin to move in directions we don’t want or like, we fail to see how our lack of emotional intelligence played into the results.

SO — what to do? Here are five (5) “Zink-isms” on how to increase your “EMO IQ”. Think of it as a dose of “Zink”. :)

  1. Learn to name your emotions, rather than ‘shove’ them into the background. There’s a great tool, created by Dr. Gloria Wilcox, called “The Feeling Wheel”. I encourage you to download it and use it to learn to identify and understand your feelings. This tool works from the inside out (if you’re angry, you can work from the inside out to identify it more fully) or from the outside in (if you’re feeling apathetic, you can work from the outside out to narrow down the root causes/influences).
  2. Begin to accept 100% responsibility for your feelings. This one can be tough, particularly if you’re used to blaming other people and/or circumstances for how you feel/act/react. The truth of the matter is, nobody can MAKE us feel anything; our emotions are simply products of our experiences, wants, desires and — in some cases — our ‘lizard brains’ (the emotional remnants of our ancient Neanderthal relatives).
  3. Recognize that your emotions give you valuable information. They can tell you what your needs and or expectations are, as well as give you insight into your unresolved ‘baggage’.
  4. Look for connections and patterns. Sometimes, we react because we are soft-wired based on previous experiences. Most people shy away from uncomfortable emotional situations; that’s just normal. However, for folks who have had abusive or traumatic emotional experiences, your reactions are based on those unhealthy experiences, and anytime you might feel that way moving forward, you may respond with unhealthy choices, words or behaviors based on those connections or patterns of behavior. To change, we often must first identify WHY we are behaving certain ways in order to move forward.
  5. Pay attention to your body. Eva Angvert Harren, founder of BEAM Life and author of “Beyond Recovery”, talks about the connection between our bodies and our emotions. “If we are not willing to feel the emotions and sensations we have avoided for a lifetime, we will always need something to distract ourselves with, so we don’t have to feel “it”. When we begin to recognize that our bodies often drive our emotions, it becomes possible to manage our responses to increased heart rates and breathing vs. jumping into the abyss of fear or anger.

I believe that the bottom line is this: We cannot control how we feel; all we can do is manage our responses to our emotions. If you want to deepen your relationships with your friends and family, and manage your professional relationships more powerfully, building your ‘EMO IQ’ needs to be at or near the top of your self-improvement list.

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