How To Build Emotional Intelligence
today i feel _____
Growing up in the 90s, we had a magnet on the fridge with another small square magnet that read “Today I feel” and you could place the square frame one of the cartoon’s faces with words expressing emotion – you know the one? It would say words like exhausted, guilty, lovestruck, cautious, hysterical, the list goes on! I would stand there in front of it contemplating what I wanted to move the square to each day.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Lately, I keep coming back to that magnet in my mind. For much of the latter part of my life, I didn’t acknowledge my feelings – almost taking on the idea that if I didn’t acknowledge them they weren’t real. Any sadness, pain, or guilt I would mask with a positive emotion instead of acknowledging it. But when I actually felt happy I wouldn’t allow myself to feel that either – with the nagging feeling in the back of my head of those negative emotions I had suppressed.
Since beginning the practice of mindfulness and beginning my journey towards spiritual healing, I realized how important it is to acknowledge my emotions instead of keeping them bottled up.
I was working on building my emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence (EI) is most often defined as the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions in yourself and others.
Benefits of Emotional Intelligence?
Building Emotional Intelligence has incredibly powerful benefits for your overall health and wellbeing. Emotional intelligence:
🔑 Can help you to perceive and understand your own emotions so that you can begin to fully accept yourself. It helps you break down the reason WHY you feel the way you do and what that emotion might be telling you so that you can effectively manage your emotions.
🔑 It helps you relate and communicate your emotions with others, and understand others’ emotions as well.
🔑 Building EI makes you confident in your self-worth so you can pursue and reach your goals – allowing you to reach your full potential.
🔑 It increases your optimism and happiness – making you more positive, hopeful, and able to look at the brighter side of life.
🔑 It helps you to feel in control and presents the opportunity to try and change your mindset.
🔑It helps you identify when you need to seek help.
How to Build Emotional Intelligence
Recognize your emotions
If you want to start building your emotional intelligence, the first step is to recognize your emotions and name them (kind of like the old magnet I would look at on my fridge!) Give yourself the time to stop and think – today I feel _____. As your emotions bubble up, name them (worry, glee, love, etc) and let them flow through you.
ask for feedback
You can also ask for feedback from others if you are emotionally stable to do so. Asking trusted friends and family for feedback on your emotions and how you handle your emotions from an outsider’s perspective can be enlightening – even if it is tough to hear. You will be able to gain new knowledge to continue to work on your emotional intelligence.
interact with life
Meeting new people, engaging in active listening, and practicing mindfulness will also help you to build insight into other’s lives. Their emotions, inspirations, and motivations – helping you to become more socially aware which will, in turn, help you to understand yourself.
Remember, vulnerability is not weakness. Being in tune with your emotions is one of the most important things you can do. Emotions are at the center of our being. It’s how we connect, learn, and grow.