How To Improve Emotional Intelligence For Better Relationships

Do you often get angry or depressed because of the small things that happen to you in life? Do you want to understand your own emotions? Emotional intelligence is the key to build better relationships in life. But what is emotional intelligence exactly?

Understanding emotional intelligence can improve the quality of all your relationships. It doesn’t matter if it’s family, work, or friends. You’ll need it to get your point access. You need it for better leadership skills.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is the understanding of emotions and how to use it in an effective way. The dictionary describes emotional intelligence as the following:

“Skill in perceiving, understanding, and managing emotions and feelings.”

You know that a skill is something you can practice. This means that emotional intelligence is something that you can improve.

Why Is Emotional Intelligence Important?

In our everyday life, we continue to interact with other human beings. There’s no way around that unless you want to live in solitude.

Therefore it becomes necessary to understand how emotions work. You can use this to improve the quality of your own life but also the quality of many others.

Emotional intelligence is the foundation for empathy and compassion. If you want to leave a positive impact in the world, there’s no escape of growing in the area of this intelligence.

Can Emotional Intelligence Be Learned?

Just as with anything in life, the more you practice, the more you learn. If you want to increase your understanding of emotional intelligence, you’ve got the power to learn this.

However, you must learn is consciously and on purpose. To get better in your emotional intelligence you must learn on purpose and with consistency.

When doing this consistently you can become a master of emotions.

Daniel Goleman’s Approach On Emotional Intelligence

According to Daniel Goleman in his book emotional intelligence, the parts are split up into:

  • Intrapersonal – understanding your own emotions.
  • Interpersonal – understanding other people’s emotions and being able to act accordingly.

It’s guaranteed that you’ve to deal with people at some point in your life. To become better at dealing with people you need to understand why they do what they do. If you can understand someone’s emotions, you’re able to understand someone’s actions.

But to understand other people’s emotions you’ve to understand your own emotions first. There’s no point in trying to figure out others people emotions if you don’t understand that of your own. You must work from the inside out. Let’s take a deeper look into your own emotions.

Understanding Your Own Emotions

Emotional Intelligence Happy And Sad

Emotions are an undeniable part of our lives. They come with ups and downs, like a rollercoaster. Emotions make you human and are a great tool for you to use in your life. Emotions allow you to experience a high quality of life with lots of joy.

Emotions can be positive or negative. You should appreciate both sides because one cannot exist without the other. Understanding your own emotions is going to benefit you in your life.

But if you don’t know how to use your emotions, it can be your biggest burden. When emotions take the control over your life, you can experience long-term pain and depression.

Awareness

Understand that emotions are part of the human experience. Emotions are a tool that your body uses to provide you with information. That’s right, it’s a tool.

The problem is that emotions are often taking control of us. This means that we often get hung up in negatives emotions and allow them to dominate our lives.

Instead, you should become aware of your emotions and listen to the underlying message. Emotions occur for some reason. Rather than going with your emotions, become the observer of your emotions.

You’re Not Your Emotions

Becoming the observer means that you take time to stand still by the feelings that are present. Observe these feeling. Ask yourself the question what you feel right now?

What happens to you when you’re about to present a great idea in front of a crowd. Fear starts to creep inside your head. What if they don’t like it? What if it’s a completely idiotic idea?

Understand that you’re not your emotions. If you feel depressed it doesn’t mean you’re a depressed person. It means that you feel depressed because something in your life isn’t the way you imagine it to be.

You shouldn’t ignore negative feelings or pretend like they are non-existent. But if you can gain a helicopter view of what’s going on inside of you, it can give you some great intel.

From now on, every time you feel like you get very angry or upset, take a moment. Take a deep breath and stand still by your emotions. Ask yourself; what’s really going on here?

Managing Your Emotions

Managing your own emotions means that you’ve got control. Having control doesn’t mean that you must feel happy all the time. Taking control means that you can identify how you feel. It also means that if the feeling is unpleasant, you know how to find a solution to change this feeling.

Take Full Responsibility

It’s so easy to blame other people for things that happen to you. But sometimes it’s someone else’s fault, so that makes it acceptable, right?

For sure, sometimes things in your life happen because of the fault of others. And yes, you could blame them for this reason. But what’s really happening here?

As soon as you blame someone else for what’s going on, a feeling of anger or resentment come over you. When this happens you lose control over the situation.

The problem with blaming other people is that you give your own power away. Stop doing this today. Start taking responsibility for not only all of your actions but also for actions of others that impact you.

Of course, I don’t mean that when someone drives his car into your car, that you should pay. But you should take responsibility for your emotions at that moment. If you completely freak out and become mad it’s helping no one.

It’s not important whose fault it is when you talk about your own peace of mind. Taking responsibility is the key to power.

Besides, you’re 100% responsible for your own feelings. No one else is. You can decide how you feel at any moment. Taking 100% responsibility is the first step, even if it’s not your fault at all.

Become A Master Of Your Emotions

Taking full responsibility for all your emotions is very difficult. It’s easy to allow our emotions to drive us away. But if you want to lift your life to a different level, you must take control.

You now understand that you’re not your emotions. You’re able to observe your emotions and you can see the message it’s trying to tell you. Now that you’re aware, you can start to use your emotions as a tool.

Now that you’re more aware of your own emotions, let’s see how you can tap into the emotions of others.

Understanding Other People’s Emotions

steam-coming-out-of-the-ears-mad-woman

It’s no secret that most of our conversations aren’t all about the words we use. Words are only part of the conversation. It’s more so about the way you say it.

What is more important in conversations is people’s feelings. If you can understand how someone feels, you can truly help people.

To understand someone you shouldn’t listen to what the person is saying. What’s more important is how someone is saying something. How do you figure this out?

Practice Listening

Listening is extremely important in any conversation. This isn’t a secret either. Yet, most of us are so caught up in our own heads, that we struggle to listen.

Listening is the key to connecting with other people. Here are some tips to improve your listening skills.

1. Don’t Interrupt

This one is difficult for most people. Yet, it’s the most important factor to listening. When you interrupt someone you’re communicating: what you’re about to say is less important than what I’ve to say. This could be an absolute killer for your social interactions.

Never interrupt a person. Instead, keep listening to what the other person has to say. Yes, this is difficult and especially when you’ve something you want to say in response. But don’t get into the habit of saying what you want to say. Instead, listen to all that the other person has to say.

2. Pause

Pauses are important in conversations. It helps with the natural flow of a conversation. Pauses can also help you to stop interrupting another person. By pausing you can get the feel of when the other person finished speaking.

Although pauses help with the natural flow of the conversation, don’t let the pause be too long. If you pause for longer than a couple of seconds, it might feel like an alternity.

3. Question

If you want to understand someone’s emotions, you’ve to ask good questions. People don’t easily reveal their emotions. Often people wear a variety of masks because they’re ashamed or embarrassed by their emotions.

However, if you ask questions in a caring way, people will open up. Always ask to seek a deeper understanding through follow up questions. Follow up questions can be as simple as:

  • What do you mean?
  • What did you do next?
  • What did you feel?

4. Rephrase

Finally, always rephrase that what the other person said. Never believe that you understand what they’ve said. People often mix up words and say one thing but mean something different.

Rephrasing what they’ve said allows people to correct themselves. It also builds trust as the other person feels that you’re listening to what they’re telling you about.

Personalities

Listening allows you to tap into someone else’s world. The more you’re able to this, the more you can help other people. This skill alone can change the world.

The problem with listening is that you need to understand that not everyone’s the same. You can be the best listener and still be ineffective. This could happen when you listen from only your own personality.

Understand that everyone is different. Different types of personalities require different approaches. If you treat everyone the same, you might be able to connect with a few people, but you’ll chase away the majority.

There are many personality types and ways in which you can take your viewpoint. But I like to keep things practical so that you can use it immediately in your life. Let’s group the personality types into 4 different categories.

DISC-Model For Personalities

I heard the DISC-model for the first time in Jay Shetty’s webinar on emotional intelligence. After doing research into this, I found that the DISC model comes from research on human emotions in the 1920’s!

The DISC model is most popular in management functions. But it can be very effective to resolve everyday conflicts.

The DISC model focuses on the following two questions:

  1. Introvert or extrovert?
  2. Task-oriented or people-oriented?

With these 2 questions you can jump into this diagram:

People-management-DISC-introvert-extrovert-vs-people-oriented-task-oriented

D = Dominant

The D is for the people that are extrovert and task-oriented.

These type of people are after results. D’s look at the big picture and don’t like to sit around and get into the details of things. These kind of people are often very confident and love to face a challenge.

If you face this kind of people, get straight to the point. They don’t love the chit chat but immediately want to know what’s going on. Also, don’t get into the nitty and gritty of things with D types.

I = Inspiring

The I is for the people that are extrovert and people-oriented.

You can notice these people by their enthusiasm. They love to work together with other people and seek connections. These kind of people are good with other people and are great at influencing others.

If you’re facing this kind of people make sure you talk to them. They don’t like when people ignore them but rather enjoy having a discussion. If you get these people on your side, they can grow your team and network fast.

C = Cautious

The C is for the people that are introvert and task-oriented.

These are the kind of people that love to work on their own. They enjoy working on their own. C’s love to get into the detail of things and love to get every single thing right. Their biggest fear is that they’re wrong. They want to deliver accurate and high-quality services.

When you communicate with these type of people, make sure that you go into detail with them. Tell exactly what you want or what’s bothering you. Don’t tell them straight up that they’re wrong if they are. Rather tell them the details that they are missing.

S = Supportive

The S is for the people that are introvert and people-oriented.

The supportive type of people is very relaxed and patient. They don’t like pressure and feel most comfortable when they’re with other people.

When you’re dealing with an S type of personality, remember to give these people space. Don’t pressure them into something too quickly. They will cooperate with you as long as you give them the space they need.

Master Your Social Skills

The DISC-model is great to become aware of the different kinds of people. It’s very theoretical but can work great in practice if you practice it consistently.

The approach is simple yet effective. Of course, you’ll have to practice before you become good at it. If you understand what type of person you’re communicating with, it helps you to understand their position.

Combine this knowledge with the art of listening and your emotional intelligence skyrockets. Of course, this is only possible if you first have mastered your own emotions.

Practice your emotional intelligence on a daily basis. The better you get in these skills, the more you can influence and persuade other people.

Master Your Emotional Intelligence

Smileys with an indicator

If you want to master emotional intelligence you must start with yourself. Become aware of your own emotions. Understand that you’re not your emotions. Emotion is a tool that your body uses to give you signals.

Take power over your life through responsibility. Don’t allow emotions to take over the control of your life. Accept where you’re today and take action on the things that you’re not satisfied with.

Emotional Intelligence In Your Relationship

When you become more aware of your own emotions, you start to notice how you feel towards your partner as well.

You start to understand why you feel certain ways and once you understand this, you can now communicate more effectively towards your partner.

Not only that, you also start to notice the emotions that your partner experiences. You can get into the situations with more compassion which increases the quality of your relationship.

Influence Through Emotional Intelligence

You have the power to influence other people in a positive way. But in order to do that, you first have to understand where they’re coming from. If they don’t feel that you understand their situation, you’ve got no influence.

You can understand them through emotional intelligence. Once you’ve mastered your own, you can help other. This offers the real opportunity to have a positive impact in the world.

Key Points

Emotional intelligence is necessary for all our relations. This includes the relationship with yourself. You can develop emotional intelligence by understanding your own emotions first. When you’re able to manage your own emotions.

It all starts with awareness. Understand that emotions are a tool of the body. Positive emotions tell you that there is something great. Negative emotions give you some great value as well. Find out why this negative emotion is there.

The ultimate power is responsibility. If you don’t take responsibility and blame other people for the things that go wrong, you give away your personal power.

Once you understand your own emotions you see the patterns more clearly. You can use this new insight to help others.

Start with proper listening. You can do this by pausing, questions, rephrasing, and most importantly, never interrupt. Listening is a skill and it requires training to get better.

Also, understand that not everyone is similar to you. There are different kinds of personalities and they’re all needed in this world. None is better than the other but each of them come with their unique strengths. See the DISC-model discussed in the article.

Challenge

If you’re new to emotional intelligence I want to challenge you. To grasp the basic principles of emotional intelligence, you must start with awareness of your own emotions. I can’t stress the importance of awareness enough.

Every time that you get angry or become upset this week, take a few breaths. Notice the reason why you’re upset. Don’t go with the emotion but become the observer.

What I mean is that we often become so upset at the moment, that we cannot identify the real problems. We have to stop pointing the blame finger but instead, have a look at ourselves. What could you’ve done differently in this situation, even if it’s not your fault?

The second things I want you to do is to set an alarm or notification on your phone for every hour. On a notepad, write down all the emotions that you’ve felt during that last hour. Identify why you felt that way. Do this for a week.

From my own experience, I know that most of you won’t do the second one. What’s the point, right? You already know how you feel?

Give them both a try and you’ll amaze yourself by how much you don’t know about your own emotions.