The First Step To Emotional Intelligence
I’ve been mulling over two blog posts I had read last week.
It’s OK to Be on Your Way by Rachel Strella
13 Signs of High Emotional Intelligence by author Justin Bariso
Both articles crossed my radar thanks to tweets by two of my favorite Twitter friends, Rachel Strella and Dennis Shiao. Although the posts’ topics are different at face value, they possess a strong synergy.
Rachel’s post, It’s OK to Be on Your Way, touches on how many of us are in constant pursuit of doing more and being more. We become frustrated at our inability to achieve perfection. But we need to stop beating up on ourselves. We’re works in progress—and that’s OK.
13 Signs of High Emotional Intelligence, which Dennis had shared, discusses characteristics of people who possess a high level of emotional intelligence. (Of course, I immediately started contemplating how I measure up.) Several of the traits involve the capacity to cut others some slack when they do wrong or fall short, and the article specifically calls out “empathy.”
Putting It All Together
To have empathy (a critical component of emotional intelligence), we must see some of ourselves in others. So to accept and forgive the fallibility of others, don’t we first have to accept our own faults and stop being so tough on ourselves (as Rachel suggests)?
We’re all human. We have all made—and will continue to make—mistakes. We have (and probably will again):
- Let insensitive words leave our mouths in moments of anger or frustration.
- Talk behind someone’s back.
- Look for what we can gain from a situation rather than what we can do for someone else.
- Sometimes not put our best foot forward.
- Not tell our partner or parents or children or friends how much we love and appreciate them.
- Tell a little white lie (or possibly even a mind-blowing whopper).
- Snap at our kids when they ask us a question while we’re working.
- Forget to send a birthday card.
- Not do what we said we would.
- Judge others when we have no clue what it’s like to be in their shoes.
Yeah, we slip up sometimes.
I do. You do. And everyone else does.
If we realize that doesn’t make us failures or bad people, we can all be happier, more self-confident, and more emotionally intelligent.