Emotional Intelligence for Lovers

Emotional Intelligence for Lovers

If you have ever been told that you lack emotional intelligence, you should not worry. First, if this was said as a negative label by someone who wanted to assert their superiority (or put you down), then it means nothing.  Second, even if you have something to learn in this area, and most people do, then here’s the good news:  emotional intelligence is very teachable, so what you don’t have today, you can master tomorrow.  

This is particularly true of smart people who have been given unintentionally a bad rap in the area of emotional intelligence.  With a moderate amount of training and effort, most of people with high intelligence develop high emotional intelligence.  They simply did not know how to pay attention to and how to manage emotions and did not know that they should do so.

The brain not only burns the most calories per pound of tissue weight, more than any other tissue, but it is also the most flexible in its skills and abilities.  The carpenter’s callouses may never go away, but a person who has been emotionally callous in the past can learn to be sensitive.  If a traumatic experience gave you emotional scars, then a therapeutic emotional experience can heal these scars. 

And so, with this introduction and with a realistic hope to learn whatever lessons lie ahead, let’s look at what Emotional Intelligence is and how it helps lovers.  Although the subject of emotional intelligence is broad, it can be subdivided into only four sections.  These four sections can be organized as a two-by-two grid.  There are two rows—self and other—and two columns—awareness and management.

These four sections can also be organized as an outline.

I.   Self

     A.   Self-awareness

     B.   Self-management

II.   Other

     A.   Other-awareness

     B.   Other-management

All four parts of emotional intelligence are vital.  Emotional intelligence is like a four-legged stool.  All four legs are needed for the stool to provide support.  All four parts of emotional intelligence are needed to have better relationships.  If this feels overwhelming, give it some effort and give it a little time to develop emotionally-intelligent habits, and you will see results.

When people are presented with an unfamiliar problem, unless they focus on coming up with a solution tailored to this new problem, they will use the old thinking, the thinking that has worked in the past and may not be suited for the new situation.  In case of emotional intelligence, the old thinking means applying force or trying to convince the other person to “do it my way.”  The part of emotional intelligence that looks most like getting other people to “do it my way” is other-management.  It’s not wrong to want to manage others.  It’s not new.  It’s familiar.  And the techniques work.  However, for greatest effectiveness, one also needs self-awareness, self-management, other-awareness, and the focus on improving the relationship.  If I only focus on techniques for managing others without paying attention to other parts of emotional intelligence, I will be like an actor who is reading a scene from a great play, but whose acting is not up to par.

To improve the effectiveness of other-management, I need to be aware of what’s going on emotionally with the person in front of me.  This is the other-awareness part.  But since I am my own instrument, I also need to focus on myself–what’s going on with me and how I should change that to be more effective.  These are the self-awareness and self-management parts.  

I begin the look at how to respond to negativity by focusing on the self, including being aware of what is happening to oneself emotionally (self-awareness), and managing one’s own emotional state (self-management).  These two stops on the road to better relationships are often overlooked but are most important because, in this work, you are your own instrument for dealing with your significant other.  If you are a musician playing a musical instrument, you would want to know before you try to make music whether it is tuned right or out-of-tune.  This is the equivalent of self-awareness.  As a musician, you would also want to be able to tune the instrument when it is out of tune.  This is self-management.

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