It was a tragedy of errors. Fourteen-year-old Matilda Crabtree was just playing a practical joke on her father: she jumped out of a closet and yelled “Boo!” as her parents came home at one in the morning from visiting friends. But Bobby Crabtree and his wife thought Matilda was staying with friends that night. Hearing noises as he entered the house, Crabtree reached for his calibre pistol and went into Matilda’s bedroom to investigate. When his daughter jumped from the closet, Crabtree shot her in the neck. Matilda Crabtree died twelve hours later.
Matilda’s story is so emotional. It touches our feelings of empathy. We feel this touch because the story is relatable. The consequences we face when our emotions take over may not be this serious, but they are usually not so good. Sometimes, we wish, we didn’t say something and sometimes, we wish we did. It’s as if we are not in charge of our actions. We know what we should do, but again and again, we ignore the knowledge and move to act with how we feel. The reality of our emotions.
Our emotions are not a separate part of our being that try to control us without our permission, they are guides that help us in facing predicaments and tasks that are too important to leave to the intellect alone. But if we leave our emotions to act on their own, emotions can build, crumble, strengthen or destroy relationships we cherish most. Beyond intellectual abilities, the ability to manage emotions in different situations can predict who will succeed in life.
Emotional intelligence includes skills that are necessary to motivate oneself, control impulse and persist in the face of frustrations. In modern terms, we can divide emotional intelligence into five categories:
- Knowing one’s emotions
- Managing emotions.
- Motivating oneself
- Recognizing emotions in others
- Handling relationships
THE FIRST PRINCIPLE – KNOWING ONE’S EMOTIONS.
The basic rule in understanding emotions starts with knowing who you are. Emotional intelligence starts from the awareness of your mood and how you feel about that mood at any time. When you become conscious of your mood, you begin to have a positive outlook towards life. The awareness of your mood makes you get out of bad situations without ruminating or obsessing over it. The contrary side of this is to let your emotions engulf you or you accept them. When we let our emotions consume us, they can swamp us and make us feel helpless to escape them and we feel we have no power to control our emotions. Although accepting our emotions can be a simpler way of knowing our emotions, it has a downside. The downside of this is that approval of your emotions can make you accept every negative mood without making efforts to change them. The best spot to be is the point of becoming aware of our emotions as they come.
THE SECOND PRINCIPLE – MANAGING EMOTIONS.
The capacity to regulate emotions is the second principle of emotional intelligence. Your emotions are not hidden blessings that you are not capable to supervise. Out of all the emotions people seek to handle, anger, worry and melancholy appear to be the most popular. Anger can make you feel energetic, worry can make you discern danger and depression can serve as a means of reflection on life. Despite the benefits of these emotions, they can become difficult to subdue, if you don’t govern them well. In controlling the cycle of anger, it is important to pay attention to the thoughts that trigger the surges of anger. In this case, the timing matters, the earlier you interrupt the cycle, the more effective it is to control the outrage. On the one hand, you can control your worry by analyzing the probability that the event you worry about will occur. Ask yourself questions like: Does it help to run through the same anxious thoughts over and over and are there constructive steps to be taken? On the other hand, an effective lifter of melancholy is helping others in need. Since sadness feeds on thoughts of self, empathizing with others in pain can lift you out of depressing thoughts. A rule of thumb to work with is to always be the driver of your emotions.
THE THIRD PRINCIPLE – MOTIVATING ONESELF.
To become emotionally intelligent, you must be able to drive yourself towards a goal without the effort of an external force. Emotionally intelligent people motivate themselves by controlling impulse and maintaining positive thinking. The best way to motivate yourself is by maintaining a flow. Flow is emotional intelligence at its peak. It represents the extreme power to gather all your emotions in the service of performance and learning, In flow, you become capable of moving your emotions towards a positive and energetic task. Flow makes you forget yourself and make you absorb yourself in a task. To enter flow, a quick way is to focus all your attention on the task at hand. Entry to this zone of flow occurs when you find a task you are skilled at and you engage in it at a level that taxes your skills. Another way to motivate yourself is to cultivate the habit of positive thinking. From the angle of emotional intelligence, positive thinking can make you have hope that you will not give in to overwhelming anxiety or depression in the face of difficult challenges. The major goal is to always encourage yourself without external effort.
THE FOURTH PRINCIPLE – RECOGNIZING EMOTIONS IN OTHERS.
To handle emotions in someone else, you need to express empathy. Empathy helps to recognize the feelings of others without judging them. It is a quick way to win the heart of others and maintain emotional intelligence. Without empathy, it will be difficult to relate to the problems of someone else. This can lead to interpersonal disasters. Lack of empathy can label even the most intelligent person as arrogant, boastful and insensitive. Empathizing with someone else can serve as an inspiration to them and it will serve as a means to persuade and influence others. The ultimate goal of recognizing emotions in others is to put others at ease when with you. As a thumb rule, recognizing emotions with others has little to do with you and more to do with others. The ultimate goal is to get others comfortable expressing their own emotions with you.
THE FIFTH PRINCIPLE – HANDLING RELATIONSHIPS.
The fifth principle of becoming emotionally intelligent is to learn how to handle relationships. In handling relationships, it is important to have interpersonal intelligence which is a form of emotional intelligence. Interpersonal intelligence includes the skills to organize different groups to achieve a goal. It also involves your ability to prevent conflict, resolve conflict and negotiate solutions when there is a conflict. Your ability to handle relationships will help you detect and have insights into people’s feelings, motives and concerns. The way you handle relationships says a lot about how emotionally intelligent you are. The bottom line is to handle relationships with great interpersonal intelligence.
Sometimes, it is easy to say than to do. Our emotions can drive us especially when we feel anger or worry. You only need to recognize that emotions are not in you to lead you. You can lead your emotions if you tame them well. Like Maltida’s father, our emotions can overwhelm us, but, we can curb our emotions if we learn to manage them appropriately.