Emotions are the feelings that we express in our responses or reactions to something or someone. When we are happy about something or angry about someone or sad about something, then what we express are the emotions that we feel. Emotions are either positive like happiness, joy, love and affection, or negative like fear, sadness, anger, disgust and shame. We all can easily differentiate between the facial expressions and tone of voice for positive and negative emotions like happiness and sadness but it may, at times, be difficult to distinguish between emotions which are either positive or negative in nature, for example, happiness and surprise or anger and disgust.
We, human beings, live in relationships whether it is in the family with our parents and siblings, or in the school or college with class mates, or in the workplace with the boss and co-workers and in these relationships we express our feelings through emotions. For harmonious living in our relationships, we need to first recognize these feelings and emotions and then conduct ourselves accordingly in a mutually fulfilling manner and this calls for intelligence, widely termed as emotional intelligence or EI.
“The capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”
Although, emotions have been an integral part of human beings yet, it is lately that the importance of emotional intelligence is being appreciated because of its bearing on performance and satisfaction. Today, more and more organizations are recruiting emotionally intelligent people and probably, because of this reason, more emphasis is being laid on including EI in competitive examinations for admission to MBA and PGDM programmes offered by the elite institutions. The Times of India, New Delhi, Saturday, November 03, 2012 reported that the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is planning to introduce an additional section in their Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) to test the emotional quotient (EQ) of aspiring management graduates.
So, how can we develop our emotional intelligence and in turn nurture our relationships? Goleman in his book, Working with Emotional Intelligence, states:
“Our level of emotional intelligence is not fixed genetically, nor does it develop only in early childhood. Unlike IQ, which changes little after our teen years, emotional intelligence seems to be largely learned, and it continues to develop as we go through life and learn from our experiences – our competence in it can keep growing….There is an old-fashioned word for the growth in emotional intelligence: maturity.”
He suggests that to develop our emotional intelligence, we need to improve our personal as well as social competence. The former includes ‘self-awareness’ and ‘self-management’ where as the latter includes ‘social awareness’ and ‘relationship management’. The diagram below depicts these four areas of emotional intelligence and also the competencies needed to develop these areas:
Self-confidence, self-control, empathy and influence are some of the essential competencies to improve our emotional intelligence, which guides us to nurture our relationships in a mutually fulfilling manner leading us to improved performance in our endeavors and greater satisfaction in our lives.
Lastly, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you do, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” with these words of Jason Barger, I sign off this blog post wishing you all harmonious relationships through right understanding of emotions.