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Emotional Intelligence: The Secret To Thriving Relationships


When we talk about what makes a person likeable, some of the first words that come to mind include kindness, empathy, and compassion – all traits that indicate that they’re in tune with other’s emotions. And while we tend to think of these simply as positive personal attributes, experts describe it differently; individuals who demonstrate these skills are more likely to have a high emotional intelligence quotient (EQ). Rooted in self-awareness, EQ is a way of describing how someone identifies, understands, and handles emotions, and those with a higher EQ are more likely to have healthy personal and professional relationships.

Intimacy And EQ

One of the relationships that benefits most from emotional intelligence are our romantic ones, whether we’re just starting to date someone new or been married for years. In these close relationships, it’s easy to take out our own emotional frustrations on our partner or to become emotionally unavailable when stressed. These actions are those of someone who isn’t in touch with their emotions, who can’t manage them in a healthy way, and who even uses emotions as a barrier to closeness. But there are a number of simple steps we can take to improve EQ.

In Positive Psychology’s Emotional Intelligence Masterclass, teachers focus helping participants grow into emotional awareness, a skill that can be summed up as knowing what you’re feeling at any given moment. Participants also learn how to balance their emotions with rational knowledge, to better navigate tense situations. Many therapists use a similar approach – known in dialectical behavioral therapy as “Wise Mind” – to help people improve their relationships through emotional regulation.

Emotions In The Workplace

It’s not just our personal lives that benefit from enhanced EQ – our professional relationships are also more likely to thrive with better emotional management and insight. For example, high EQ professionals are better listeners. That’s because they know how to pay attention to what others are saying, reflect on those words and observe their own emotions, and then respond thoughtfully. This is active listening taken to the next level, and while all professionals can benefit from these skills, managers have the most to gain.

One of the key reasons that managers should focus on EQ development is that those with high EQ are able to set ego aside and work well with others. They know how to give praise and apologize, how to encourage and acknowledge. Most importantly, they are able to do this in a genuine way, rather than by rote. It’s so easy for managers and C-suite level professionals to end up in a bubble where their opinions are all that matters because they’re in charge, but leaders with a high EQ know how to stay humble.

Tuning In To You

The best thing about focusing on EQ as a growth area is that it yields benefits in all areas of life. Those with a high EQ can enter into conflict without escalating, can identify unproductive behavior patterns, and can walk away from situations that are at risk of spinning out of control. Most of all, EQ encourages a mindset that allows you to respond to your feelings, and to a given situation, rather than react to it. Too many adults don’t know the difference between these two approaches, but responses are considered and contextualized while reactions are impulsive.

Most of us grow in emotional intelligence as we age, but we can all make an effort to be more in tune with our own emotions, and those of others, even in the tensest situations. Once you begin to make that shift, you’ll notice an amazing difference in your emotional health and in. your relationships. It’s all about stepping into a different mental frame.

Emotional Intelligence: The Secret To Thriving Relationships