We live in tenuous times. These are times in which we are hesitant to connect because we have no idea what’s going to come at us from people if we do. It feels like we are getting trapped in our I.Q. and we have not expanded our E.Q.  We just want the facts…who cares about the feelings…we should!

E.Q. is an abbreviation for Emotional Quotient 

Why should we care? Your success in life is dependent upon your level of E.Q. You can have a very high I.Q. but not be able to relate to other people. Without understanding and expressing emotions you cannot be successful. The Collins Dictionary says “Having a high E.Q .means you know your strengths and you know how to lean into them and use them to your full advantage while keeping your weaknesses from holding you back.”  Unfortunately, we have often been taught expressing emotion is tantamount to being weak. Actually, it’s just the opposite. Let’s look at what it really means.

What is the difference between a person who says,” I refuse to talk about this.” And one who says, “This is upsetting to me, let me think about this before I answer.” The difference is E.Q. Without E.Q. you are apt to have a knee jerk reaction to something someone says before you even understand their intention or what they were trying to convey. The slightest hint that it may be some criticism about you if you have low E.Q. or low self-esteem, will shut you and the other person down and kill the conversation.

We all have people in our families who think they already have all the answers or their answer is the only answer, and are therefore closed to any new information or alternative ideas. That is extremely frustrating and it’s even gotten to the point where the Millennials, have a cruel joke about it when they say while rolling their eyes, “OK Boomer.” In other words, you know nothing. People who have high E.Q.s are open and receptive to other ideas and perspectives, no matter where or from whom they come. They want to learn and are not threatened or protective of their egos.

If there are people in your life you simply just cannot talk to about almost anything because they are so rigid with their single points of view, you are dealing with a person who is not emotionally mature. They lack a sense of themselves and are not yet authentic so they present as if they know everything already. Emotionally mature people can let go of their opinions to be open to yours without being threatened because they know they will end up believing whatever is right for them, and they still want to hear everything.

An emotionally immature person often feels as if the world is against them and people “never give them a break,” Because they often feel attacked or put down, they lack a sense of peace, stability, and compassion in their lives. They can’t seem to get beyond their own needs and wants.

Okay, so now we have learned to recognize it let’s find out how to raise our E.Q. 

One of the first steps is to start actively listening to others. Get interested in where they’re coming from and why they feel the way they do. Ask questions and be interactive and be aware of when you start to shut down or get defensive and ask yourself what is causing you to be afraid. That shut down or defense response always comes from fear.

Once you identify it, you can probably figure out (1) is it true, such as this person is saying I am wrong (probably not, but could be and so what?) (2) is it about now or the past, because most of our fears get triggered from past experiences and (3), do I need to hear this such as…I am judgmental. I am doing it right now by judging myself.

Another tool is learning to respond from a positive place and not ego. Practice responding out of curiosity instead of reacting in a negative way. You can safely listen to anything and you still get to decide if you agree or don’t, want to adopt the belief or not. You still have all the power and control and in addition, you might learn something wonderful and new.

Practice being self-aware 

No one else ever makes us feel anything. We choose to feel everything we feel. Imagine if you could take everything everyone else has experienced and learned and put it in your toolbox for life…you would be and can be amazing. Take a breath, open up and start now with love for yourself and others.

Dr. Dina is a Marriage, Family, and Child Therapist and Consciousness Counselor. She has presented nationwide seminars and workshops, written several books and created meditation CDs for couples, individual and mental health professionals. She has also won national acclaim as a human rights advocate. Visit www.drdinaevan.com or call her at 602 571-8228.