Caroline and I have been exploring the subject of emotional intelligence for over a decade now.
We each have learned through various different processes, workshops, courses and techniques. We have also taught courses and workshops in order to explore these findings with people from all over the world. We have observed both the strengths and weaknesses of working with emotional intelligence from many different angles.
Above all, we continue to delve into this subject which we label as “emotional intelligence”
in our day to day life, through the process of self-observation and the conversations between us.
So, let’s get to the point …
What is emotional intelligence? And why is it fundamental to have it in our lives in order to live in peace?
Emotional intelligence is the capacity to understand what is happening to ourselves and others on the level of emotions and feelings, this is a capacity that most people possess.
It is the ability to identify emotions and patterns in others as well as identify with clarity these emotions and feelings in ourselves. Emotional intelligence is also the ability to observe objectively the emotional relationships we establish with other people, and the emotional relationships between other people.
The term inner child is often used to describe emotional intelligence. It is a metaphor for a time when most humans experienced reality in a very emotional way and focused on feelings.
The inner child is an important part of our emotional intelligence because it is formed by the imprints of the emotions and feelings that we have experienced in the past, both positive and negative.
Except for a very small group of people, this is where for most people our level of confidence, joy, love, self-esteem, or lack thereof comes from.
In fact, based on how healthy our past experiences have been, this determines how affected our vulnerability, our deep psychic structures and our most hidden corners of feeling are.
Hence the saying “it’s the experience that marks us” can be understood in the light of the metaphor of the inner child, the emotional part that lives deep inside us.
We have found that emotional intelligence is not something sealed and closed in the vast majority of people, but with certain action and processes one can recover many damaged parts and develop aspects of emotional intelligence that are seeds that have not yet germinated. Working on this in our life we can start to live with a greater peace of mind, not because we cease to feel emotions but because we begin to live them in a way in which we understand them and deal well with them. This way we do not get so much overwhelmed and we can use this understanding to learn and heal our ties with all the “bits” of ourselves.
However, emotional intelligence goes beyond the inner child. Emotional intelligence as we understand it, has also to do with the abilities which we have developed as adults to observe, manage, support, understand and share the array of emotions that most of us have.
Emotional intelligence also has the facet of knowing how to be with the emotions of the other people, knowing how to respect those emotions and living life with empathy, which is being able to socialize with the emotions of those with whom we have an established emotional connection.
Hence emotional intelligence can be divided into three elements:
Neutral – The constant happening of emotions, intuitions, and feelings inside us; that inner child most of us carry inside.
Passive – Our observation and analysis of that inner child, the phenomena of emotions, intuition, and feelings within us.
Active – Our communication and our abilities to share what is inside us at different moments of our lives. The ability to allow us to express our vulnerabilities with others.
All this highlights the fundamental importance of our emotional intelligence. It gives us the tools that enables depth to our lives, reveals meaning behind actions, and overall it lets us understand this deeper and less obvious aspect of reality.
Two qualities of emotional intelligence that are very useful and beneficial in life are the ability to empathize and the ability to detect people who have been very damaged and/or do not have empathy. Knowing how to read deeply the other’s emotionality can be the best defense and prevention.
The star characteristic to develop from each element of emotional intelligence would be the following:
Neutral – Develop feeling for the conscious experimentation of our inner world.
Passive – Develop thinking for the objective analysis of our inner and for the outer world.
Active – Develop doing for the will and the empathy to live everything fully.
It is only when we begin to understand that the inner world we live in is also as important as the outside world is, will we begin to take more accountability for our inner child, and we begin to understand step by step the history of ourselves. We can begin to understand how we truly feel and eventually gain access to corners of our previous feelings that were painful and locked up inside because of that.
To sum it up with a single idea, when we establish an open attitude with ourselves, with our inner child and with our own complexity, we lay the foundation for building a life in listening, which leads to understanding. From understanding varying depth of feelings, we will be able to better empathize and to take conscious actions with ourselves and others, this is the foundation of a peaceful and meaningful life.
We sincerely wish you to have many moments to explore your inner world during your lives.
Marko and Caroline