When we feel an itch, the intelligent thing to do is scratch it. A similar thing happens with most sensations within us - except for
emotional feelings. In this area we often suppress, deny or discount the 'feeling' - and the particular message that it is trying to give
Becoming self-monitoring and being mindful of your emotional state at any time paves the way for authentic expression of feelings.
Importantly, mindfulness allows us to take emotional arousal into account before acting - that is, managing your emotional
responses. We can't manage feelings that we are unaware of or don't have knowledge about!
Awareness of our own feelings also enables us to pick up on the feelings of others - to be empathetic and 'feel with' another
In a nutshell, emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to:
ü allow emotional arousal as an important part of effective functioning
ü understand the various types of feelings we can experience
ü accurately interpret the cause of an emotional arousal
ü understand strategies to authentically and effectively deal with that arousal
ü address the cause of a feeling by expressing emotions in an authentic way
ü regulate and manage emotions in yourself and encourage this in others to promote emotional stability and personal growth
A major part of high EI, then, is expressing your feelings in an authentic, non-attacking and non-manipulative way. This can also be
referred to as Emotional Literacy - the ability to get others to understand what and why you have a particular feeling, just as verbal
literacy does in other areas of life.
The ultimate outcome of EI is to be self-monitoring and to understand any feeling patterns in you (that is, to be ‘mindful’). For
example, when we take a moment to look beyond our first reactions to a situation, we have the chance to identify habits,
stereotypes and unmet needs in ourselves that perhaps have biased previous reactions to a situation. With such insight, we then
have the chance to address the situation more authentically to provide better responses that lead to personal fulfilment.