If you’re in a boat out on the water, and a storm comes up, and the boat’s rocking and at risk of tipping over; it’s critical to turn the boat to face into the wind. This won’t stop the wind, but will keep it from rocking the boat.
Emotional intelligence is like that. It won’t make life’s storms go away, but can help keep them from rocking your boat.
In my view, emotional intelligence is the same as emotional maturity or psychological or spiritual maturity. This is what spiritual growth is all about.
I fault Gregoire’s article on several points. She relies almost exclusively on the work of one author. Some of the indicators may pertain more to personality type than to EQ. And though a “rate yourself” checklist may be fun, people really need to know how to better themselves at the skills in question.
All of which may be just “sour grapes” on my part, since the checklist indicates that of the five components of EQ — self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, social skills and empathy — I’m weak on two, namely social skills and motivation.
If “1. You’re curious about people you don’t know,” then you may merely be an extrovert, rather than an introvert like me.
A number of the indicators correlate to the effects of high serum serotonin, as I discussed here. “2. You’re a great leader” doesn’t seem to me to apply to me, but those with high serum serotonin are the natural leaders of any community. Joseph (in Genesis) and King David come particularly to mind, and also John F. Kennedy. “4. You know how to pay attention” and “10. After you fall, you get right back up” are also consistent with high serum serotonin.
The surest way I know of to develop one’s EQ, is simply to seek to live as Jesus taught. The whole text pertinent indicator #7 bears repeating here:
7. You care deeply about being a good, moral person.
One aspect of emotional intelligence is our “moral identity,” which has to do with the extent to which we want to see ourselves as ethical, caring people. If you’re someone who cares about building up this side of yourself (regardless of how you’ve acted in past moral situations), you might have a high EQ.
This is also the surest way I know of to raise one’s serum serotonin.
Note that what Jesus taught isn’t, not at all, necessarily the same as what is taught in churches. One must pay attention specifically to the words attributed to Jesus and especially in Matthew, Mark and Luke.
The teaching of the church, in contrast, has a lot to do with my weakness in the area of motivation. I learned from Paul that “God’s will” is almost never the same as one’s own. I was taught that “God has a wonderful plan for your life” and believed I needed always to conform my desires to this “plan.” The Christian supposedly can discern this “plan” in prayer, but I never could, and so never felt I had permission to desire any thing. This played a large role in my becoming homeless.
I’m working to overcome this, to raise my own EQ, now.
Life can be smooth sailing.
Jesus stilled the storm. To a large extent, so can you.
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There is a dark side to EQ, which I will examine next Saturday.