Emotional Intelligence and Relationships

Smiling Man Holding a Woman and Carrying a Baby
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Emotional Intelligence is a more recent concept in psychology. It was first introduced in 1964 by Michael Beldoch and then in 1966 B. Leuner published his paper “Emotional Intelligence and Emancipation” in the psychotherapeutic journal Practice of Child Psychology and Child Psychiatry, and received large amounts of criticism. Then in 1990, Peter Salovey and John Mayer officially brought emotional intelligence introduced in psychology, by publishing multiple articles about it. Salovey and Mayer also created a definition of emotional intelligence. Eventually, David Caruso joined them, and the three of them created the MSCEIT model.

In 1995, Daniel Goleman wrote a book called Emotional Intelligence – Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, which brought emotional intelligence to the forefront and made it known in the non-psychological community. This book also highlighted some connections existing between emotional intelligence and relationships.

Emotional intelligence is how a person recognizes and regulates their emotions and the emotions of others. It means a person knows how their emotions and the emotions of others, affect people; whether it be positively or negatively. Emotional intelligence also affects all social relationships; especially, personal relationships.

Components of Emotional Intelligence and Relationships

As previously stated, Daniel Goleman wrote Emotional Intelligence- Why It Can Matter More Than IQ and popularized emotional intelligence. Goleman introduced the five components of emotional intelligence, which are, self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, empathy, and motivation.

Self-awareness: Is our ability to know our emotions and ourselves. Self-aware people dedicate themselves to governing their emotions, behavior, and thoughts. Normally they behave consciously, have good mental health, and are optimistic. They also tend to have a better understanding of life and are more compassionate.

If you are self-aware, you can also recognize destructive thoughts and behaviors and can change them; and, you are accepting responsibility for your thoughts and actions. Having a good sense of self in a relationship allows you to not only know yourself but your partner as well. You are tuned in with your thoughts and feelings, and you will be able to tune yourself with your partner’s thoughts and feelings. You will be able to understand how your emotions are affecting your behavior towards them and vice-versa.

Self-regulation: Is our ability to regulate yourself, without outside influence. You learn self-regulation as a child: think of when a child is throwing a tantrum, and when they learn to control their behavior. It also helps you learn how to deal with failure and how to handle stressful situations.

Self-regulation is good for your relationship because it helps you to refrain from some strife. You will be able to validate your partner and see the good in them. When you do fight, you will view your fight as an opportunity for the two of you to learn from each other.

Social Skills: Is our ability to interact with others. When you have good social skills, you know how to read social cues of other people and social situations. You will also be a more confident person because you will know how to read verbal and nonverbal cues.

Social skills are good for relationships because you will be able to read your partner’s body language and cues. You will also have communication skills; which, are very important because you will be able to talk through your problems.

Another reason why social skills are good for relationships is that you will have confidence in yourself and will help you to motivate your partner.

Empathy: Is our ability to connect and share our feelings. We also can understand how others feel. Empathy is good for relationships because you will be able to understand how your partner is feeling.

Motivation: Is our ability to meet our goals without using external rewards, as to why we do something. Motivation is good for relationships because you are willing to work on your relationship.

Emotional Intelligence and Relationships: People in a Restaurant
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Emotional Intelligence Skills

Having good emotional intelligence skills are good for any relationships. Emotional intelligence help relationships in multiple ways. One skill that you will have if you have good emotional intelligence is that you will be a better listener. You will know how to be an active and receptive listener; which, means you don’t interrupt them, and you can summarize what they have said to you. You also can validate your partner’s emotions.

Another skill that is good to have in your relationship is being open to change. Over time, things in your life change, just like you change (and by saying you change, it means that you grow as a person). From small changes in your life (like changing your hairstyle) to big changes (like buying a home or moving), you can adapt to those changes and embrace them with open arms.

People with good emotional intelligence are also able to see things from their partner’s viewpoint. Even if you don’t agree with your partner, you can at least understand why they feel the way they do. You will also be able to anticipate your partners wants and needs. If you have strong emotional intelligence, you will also be able to focusing on your priorities; while, making yourself emotionally available to them. You will value your partner and your relationship with them; while, making it easier for them to come to you for comfort and support.

Another reason emotional intelligence skills are good for a relationship is it helps you compromise on things; which leads to you being more respectful. Emotional intelligence also helps you be less dependent and find contentment with doing things on your own. You are also more confident in yourself.

Lastly, emotional intelligence helps you be faithful in your relationship. You are less likely to cheat when your relationship hits a rough patch. You will understand that even though, at the moment, you are upset with them, you not let yourself be lead by your emotions.

How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

As previously stated, having good emotional intelligence helps you in your relationship; but if you don’t have a good set, you can improve it. To start improving your emotional intelligence, you should learn to observe how you feel and observe how you behave. You should take time out of your day, five minutes here and there, to notice how you feel and how you behave according to those feelings.

Taking responsibility for your emotions is another big thing. You need to remember that this is “how I feel,” not how everyone feels. You should reflect on your emotions; meaning, when something positive happens, celebrate it. When something negative happens, learn from it. Try and use positive thinking as much as you can. You will view things differently when you do. You will know that setbacks and problems are just ways for you to learn something new.

Another way to improve your emotional intelligence is to take time for yourself. You won’t do yourself any favors if you are burnt out. Sometimes, something as simple as keeping a diary, making a change in your diet, or changing up your daily routine, will help you break out of your comfort zone and help you learn either more about yourself or others.

You should learn what motivates you. This one will help you understand yourself, which is another important thing. Something else, you can do to help motivate yourself, is by setting realistic, personal goals. These goals, whether short-term or long-term, will help motivate you to become the best you there is.

Something that you need to remember is that you need to know yourself. One thing you should know about yourself is what your emotional triggers are; by knowing them, you will know your triggers and how you will react in a situation. You should learn to listen to others actively. This means you should be interested in what others are saying, even if your not, you need to listen to what they are saying. You shouldn’t interrupt them, be skeptical, or have a preconception to what they are saying; just let them talk. Once they are done talking, you should try and connect with them, by being honest with them in your own experiences.

Try and immerse yourself in something new. Immersing yourself is a great one because you will be able to learn new things about not only yourself but others. You open yourself up to trying new things and meeting new people. Also, when you are learning about new people, you will learn things about (or from) their perspective. There are so many other different ideas on how to improve your emotional intelligence; but, one thing you should remember is that it is a lifelong learning experience.

Enhancing Your Life

Your emotional intelligence helps in so many different aspects of your life; especially the relationships you form. One of the most important aspects of not only improving your emotional intelligence but living the best life you can is by being self-aware.

When you know who you are and what you stand for, not only do people know just whom they are getting when interacting with you, but you are more compassionate and have a good set of communication skills. When you are self-aware and have good emotional intelligence, people want to be around you more and enjoy your company. Also, having a good emotional intelligence skill set helps in multiple aspects of your life, such as your work life, your home life, and relationships.

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