Hi, you guys! I was reading an online wellness journal on Medium.com and came across this article from Nick Wignall about emotional intelligence (EQ) that I want to briefly touch on because I found it EXTREMELY thought-provoking! (Link to Nick’s article)
Here’s the thing. I guess that, like many of us, I was always taught to see EQ as a skillset you build, train and improve. Not entirely wrong. However, there is a deeper fact that many people, including myself, miss: improving EQ is more about what we do less of, NOT more of! *head explodes*🤯
1. Criticizing others.
Criticizing others is just a primitive defense mechanism aimed at alleviating our own insecurities.
Listen, we all criticize, yes. And that’s ok. But too much criticism, as in making it a habit, might help us feel better momentarily, but it will always come back to bite us in the a**!
If you think about it, whenever you jump to criticize someone, at some conscious or unconscious level, you’re doing it because you THINK you’re somewhat better than them. And what happens then? That makes you feel good, for the time being. But, what happens in the long-term? You start: a) feeling worse about yourself and b) developing self-esteem and self-acceptance issues.
“Helpful criticism is about making the world better. Unhelpful criticism is about making yourself feel better”.
2. Worrying about the future.
A CHRONIC WORRIER? Yoooo that’s me! Overthinking and anticipating countless hypothetical future scenarios gives me the illusion that I am planning ahead and that I am better equipped to handle them. Who else can relate?!
In reality, I’m just making myself “feel better” by constantly torturing my mind, living in denial, rather than accepting the fact that life is UNCERTAIN. Damn, why is it SO hard to accept?
…because we humans CRAVE order and control. Argh, humans…
3. Ruminating on the past.
Sometimes I dwell on past mistakes, not because I’m trying to change the past, but because it gives me a momentary feeling of order and control and distracts me from feeling powerless. Same anxiety when I worry about the future, but now focused on past mistakes. Gosh. This is so much harder than it looks like!
But it is what it is. We just have to naturally learn how to let go.
4. Maintaining unrealistic expectations.
This is a tricky one and it has set me up for failure SO🤦🏾♂️MANY🤦🏾♂️TIMES🤦🏾♂️
Spending time thinking about what other people SHOULD do is useless. We always inevitably end up frustrated and disappointed when others fail to live up to those standards.
It is a subtle attempt to control other people, and let’s face it, we just can’t! So the solution is again to let go… of such expectations. It’s not worth the time nor the mental efforts. Accept things and people the way they are.
“He was swimming in a sea of other people’s expectations. Men had drowned in seas like that.”
― Robert Jordan.
So, wrapping up. The golden lesson out of this is: we’re doing it wrong.
Let’s approach the problem backwards instead. Identify these bad habits (among some others!) that hold you back in the first place from being emotionally intelligent and do your best to ERADICATE them.
I’m still working on mine!