I am an emotionally intelligent person with bipolar. Measured by EQ, emotional intelligence is about our experience of self and social.
I have grown a lot in the area of self. In my emotional battles, I called out for help…and more often than not, I turned to my inner strength and inner awareness. I first asked myself the question, “how am I feeling?” – there are differences between emotions and feelings but I will treat them as the same here. I felt happy, sad, angry, joyful, confused, and so on.
So I became aware of my emotions which centred me to some degree. In my awareness, I asked myself, “what will I do?” Often the action involved writing in my diary and I loved to dabble my pen in a random stream of consciousness. I pondered what good things to do: walk in the sun; stay away from my computer; mix with my friends; and read a book.
My self gradually began to expand: I was no longer consumed with my small fleeting emotions but instead I concentrated on the longer lasting ones such as the feeling of peace. I left my bedroom where the walls were caving in and went into the kitchen to make a cup of tea. How intelligent!
My experience of social was multiplied by my development of self. My intelligent self connected with the self of another. Just like I went from my bedroom into the kitchen, I went from the kitchen into the shared living space where my sister often read or watched television. I first enquired into her well being and then sussed whether or not it was sociable to share my emotions. I listened to her day’s events and to her underlining feelings. I stayed with her emotions and offered a kind word.
When my sister was in good enough form to ask how I had been, I opened up. I expressed frustration on the state of my mental health or I shared my confusion. We formed a social bond and our world expanded even further. That gave us another few points on our EQ test!
When I attended college and the workplace, my social connections became like interconnected strings which linked to my instructor and to a roomful of colleagues as I made a presentation. It was easy to spot the person with a high IQ, like the Minister of State who zoned in on the crux of a conversation. With greater depth, I tuned into the EQ genius who expressed a genuine emotion and triggered the creative ideas of others.
A short cut to high emotional intelligence is not to analyse, rationalise, and doubt but to listen, notice, and ponder.
Leaders of the world
Bipolar has graced me with the ability to influence my world for the greater good. Generally, I can see beyond my ego and let go… The great thing about emotional intelligence is that you can get smarter and smarter the more you develop self and social. In an unexpected way, I am smarter than I ever imagined.
Finally, research shows that workers with high leadership potential are far stronger on emotional intelligence than their peers. Cognitive intelligence, measured by IQ, is important too. But if you want to be a leader of the world, catch onto your emotions ladies and gentlemen!
Photo thanks to my friend Brendan McManus SJ