Emotional Intelligence is based on the principle of Emotional Awareness, along with others.
Being aware of one’s own emotions is critical for just about everything. From your Self Esteem to relations with others and your success and progress. In fact your happiness depends on how aware you are of your emotions. On how much you know and truly understand why you feel the way you feel.
In this article I plan to illustrate how Emotional Awareness impacts your Self Regard, Self-Actualization and thus everything else in your life.
Over the years I have conducted numerous workshops on “Relationship Management” where I have a short section on Emotional Awareness and many of my observations are from there.
Positive & Negative Emotions
I normally start the session with asking people to list some emotions. Before they start I ask for some examples and in 8 cases out of 10 I hear ‘Anger’ or ‘Fear’ being said first.
Most people are not able to list beyond 8 emotions. The most common ones are: Anger, Sadness, Fear, Happiness, Love, Joy, Frustration, irritation and Jealousy.
One thing I notice every time is that we tend to list more negative emotions than positive, sadly often “Love” comes in way down on the list. I often wonder why it is so and on delving further and asking people I found that people tend to register the negative emotions they feel while mostly ignoring the positive feelings in the day.
You might have noticed, when you asked somebody how their day went you will either hear a neutral response “OK” or if somebody had a bad day then they will say it. The percentage of people who say they’ve had a ‘great day’ is relatively smaller, in fact it takes a major positive event for most people to say they had a “Great Day”, on the other hand, it doesn’t take much for people to label the day “Bad”. Is it true that most of our days are either “Bad” or “OK” and very few “Great”? Or is it more likely that we tend not to register the small positive emotions that we feel in a day?
So 2 important factors to remember are:
• “Am I focusing on enough positive things around me or only the negative emotions?”
• “Do I register the small-small nice things or positives that people do or do I fixate on the few things that they did not do?”
The answer to these questions tells me whether I look for Happiness and positivity in whatever I do. It tells me whether I am a happiness magnet or not.
The second thought I drive is the need to understand and analyse the real reason or cause for my emotion. Similar to doing a root cause analysis in, it is often important to do the same for our behaviour and emotions. Let me try and illustrate with an example.
Let’s say that in a meeting with my colleagues and boss a task is assigned to me and immediately a colleague of mine asks if I need any help. Citing an example where I had failed in a situation when I had done it on my own.
Now many people here would be happy and graciously accept or decline the offer. However, some people would get upset and feel there was an underlying reason for the colleague to offer support in front of the boss.
Some might feel he was doing it to appear like a good team player in front of the boss and others might think he wanted to put me down in front of the others.
The important thing for me to analyse is “Why” or “What” is making me feel that way? What is the real reason for the reaction?
In order to understand my root or real reason for reacting I need to look at the following A-B-C-C model.
A – Activating event (Colleague offers to help)
B – Belief (He’s trying to put me down, He’s trying to show his competence over mine in front of the boss)
C – Consequence (I react and get upset either in the meeting room or later start to distance myself from the colleague)
C – Challenge
In order for me to change the Consequence I need to Challenge & Understand my beliefs and the cause for my belief.
When challenging I need to ask myself, Am I sure he is trying to put me down? Does he do this often? Does he also sometimes just willingly offer his hand in assistance? Have I seen him doing this with others?
The answers to these questions will help one rationalise the beliefs and one might realise that probably he could really want to help.
Then it is important to understand the reason for your beliefs. Is it that you really feel scared of doing this task alone? Do you doubt your own competency in fulfilling this task? Do you feel that the colleague is really more competent than you?
Often we are unwilling to accept the reality of the answers to the above questions and unless we dig deep to understand and accept the reality we might never be able to understand our real emotions and will never be able to challenge the beliefs that cause us to react.
So understand the real reason for the Belief to know why you feel the way you feel and thus react the way you react.