What Is Emotional Intelligence: Feeling Too Much/Too Little
In a world where people are constantly ridiculed, we are often faced with the daring question “am I feeling too much or am I feeling too little?” Many of us have likely experienced an occasion where we are triggered to ask ourselves one or both of these questions. At this point, we are either a great ball of heart-wrenching emotions (crying, overthinking everything, extremely stressed), or we are so numb to the outside world that being emotional is too out of the box for us to even think about. Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the term used to describe an individual’s ability to be knowledgeable of and to have an understanding of, your emotions, as well as the emotions of others.
Living in a place like Jamaica, I’m often in limbo as it relates to my emotions. I am typically keenly conscious out of some kind of fear and/or annoyance of being called “extra” or “dramatic” if I happen to be perceived as too excited, or dare to express my joy or concern a bit too enthusiastically. Jamaicans, in general, do not appear to be well-read on emotional intelligence, and as such, they do not seem to understand the importance of being emotionally intelligent, as well as how this emotional intelligence may affect how you relate to others.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: ARE YOU AWARE OF YOUR EMOTIONS, OR LACK THEREOF?
Daniel Goleman posits that there are five components of Emotional Intelligence, the first of which is Self-Awareness. As a people, we lack the ability to acknowledge and accept our emotions, while considering how they might affect others. Think of a time when you were feeling low and confided in someone about your situation, only to be hit in the face with an “I don’t know why you’re sad and complaining, people have it worse than you.” That one sentence, albeit simple, is the ideal example of a lack of emotional intelligence.
I remember being told that once, and I could feel myself become numb. I couldn’t understand why my friend would say something like that to me, and how she thought that would help me. I felt that I was constantly battling with my emotions. I was sad because of my situation, angry because she made me seem ungrateful, and these two emotions made me extremely frustrated.
After that interaction, I experienced a series of depressive episodes, feeling as if my psyche was dug into a hole so deep that it took a toll on me for a while. I am pleased to say that I’m doing much better in that regard, but that experience has certainly made it clear to me just how important emotional intelligence is for safe communication with others. It could be said that humans are inherently fragile, with a diverse emotional quotient.
As such, we must come to a place where we are able to empathize with others, especially our friends, to create a form of trust which will eventually help them through their difficult circumstances. We can only better ourselves once we make the necessary internal searches, and finally, acknowledge that we may not have been up to par with our emotions.
IMPULSIVE OR OVER THINKER?
According to Daniel’s theory, a person with higher emotional intelligence can control his/her whims and think before acting. If you are anything like me, then you overthink EVERYTHING; “what will they think?” “will this look good?” “what if they don’t like it.” The whole works. Does this mean I have high emotional intelligence? Probably not. Am I working on it? Definitely.
A person who can self-regulate effectively has the power to be successful at motivating themselves. More times than none, we find ourselves trapped in a hole of doubt and fear – fear of the future, fear of not being good enough, and doubt that you’ll ever be anything great in this world. It is our duty to achieve the level of emotional intelligence which gives us the ability to pick ourselves off our backs and on our feet.
I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying “when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade,” but what does the process of making it entail? Did you make it as soon as you got the lemons? Did you ask yourself, why was I gifted these lemons? How can I make the best out of this situation? You see, once you are at the place where you can think things through with a clear head then everything will seemingly fall right into place. This will allow you to weigh the pros and cons, analyze the situation, and just get everything in order—before you know it, you will be a pro at this!
It is essential to cultivate emotional intelligence as it is a key component of living in this world. In the great words of Theodore Roosevelt, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” In life, we all go through various obstacles and roadblocks, but it is our duty to acknowledge and accept all our emotions so that we can deal with it, and not cause any form of hurt or pain to ourselves or others.
Emotional intelligence helps us in every aspect of our lives; mentally, physically, in our relationships, in the workplace, and at school. It is a significant factor in making great people which in turn makes superb leaders. So, guess what, it is okay to feel—whether you are the type to feel and openly express, talk to one person, or would just prefer to write it in a journal to look back on every now and then. It is okay.
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