The real questions about our emotions, therefore, are to do with their emergence and our treatment of them at the right time and in the right place. When they do appear, can we recognise them? Can we manage them according to the context? And what of the emotions of others? Can we manage relationships well by recognising and responding to these emotions in a manner which best suits both the relationship and the needs of the people within it? It can’t be all one way or the other. It can’t be all about ourselves and it can’t be all about other people. And we can’t allow the emergence of a specific feeling to govern all aspects of our being automatically and without some sort of filter at any given point in time.
Taking the time to invest in a deeper understanding of what we and others feel, to develop a deeper appreciation of what motivates us, to hone skills in honest and balanced self-assessment and the sympathetic and constructive evaluation of others, to acquire greater control of the range of possible responses to emotions in the moment, to direct energy where it is most needed, and to take the time to allow other feelings to wash over us at times where we need to take a step back from them and acknowledge that these powerful feelings will pass and things will return to normal – all of these are helpful for us as we go on our journeys.
For many of us, it’s hard to act with good grace and forbearance a lot of the time, especially when we see something that does not accord with what we want in the moment or what we think is right. Yet what is clear is that we can and should gain over those processes that we can learn to help us to develop the competencies of emotional intelligence. They will become in time a key component of the self-efficacy that allows us to organise our character, competency and wellness towards our lives and also of the adaptive expertise that allows us to turn new problems into successful solutions.
There are well-tested processes of emotional intelligence for managing feelings that pay due deference to the need to acknowledge feelings and position them deftly in the fabric of our lives without suppressing them inhumanely, just as much as there are similar processes that can help us to honour the dignity and worth of other people while also recognising and managing their emotions with the profound realisation that their feelings are likely to be at least similar, if not just the same as and certainly just as valid as our own need to be accepted and to belong, to strive and to succeed, to do good and to have good done to us. Emotional intelligence must be, therefore, deeply informed by our values - we manage emotions, we don’t manipulate them.
Indeed all of what we do with our feelings needs to be framed within that overarching good character that allows us to attain a sense of belonging, fulfil our potential and to do what is good and right. We need, therefore, to learn to respect our emotions and those of others and harness them to the higher purpose which informs The Pathway To Excellence. Qualities of humility, self-discipline, and patience will go a long way towards helping us to take stock of ourselves and each other so that we might learn how to apply these competencies of emotional intelligence with increasing kindness and love in our lives.
We can contemplate our capacity for Emotional Intelligence by considering the following questions:
- Am I aware of my emotional responses to things that are happening to me and am able to regulate my emotions?
- Am I good at describing and talking about my emotions and thoughts with those whom I trust?
- Am I able to identify and understand the wants, needs and viewpoints of people around me.
- Do I work well with others, helping them to cooperate and collaborate in accomplishing a task or goal.
- Am I self-motivated and have the drive and perseverance to accomplish tasks and meet my goals?