“I’ve had enough of it. I can take it no more. I never wanna see you again!”
Those were the last words hurled at him from the other side of the phone line before it went dead. He has just lost a friendship he so much cherished but failed to keep.
The cause? Your guess is as good as mine, emotional incompetence rendered as the inability of a person to carefully manage his or her emotions in the state of emotional instability.
Inasmuch as most of us identify with the above scenario, we wonder how the next friendship or relationship is going to stand. The solution to this dilemma is emotional intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence is defined as an individual’s capacity to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Simply put, it’s the ability to identify and manage one’s emotions and that of others. Emotions displayed by a human include but not limited to joy, surprise, sadness, anger, disgust, fear and shame. Being intelligent in this respect connotes knowing when to display which and to what degree and frequency. Imagine someone breaking into laughter in the middle of a-minute’s-silence because of joke he had seen on social media.
With the awareness of our physical and social environment, there is the need to acquire competent skills in order to manage ourselves, our relationship with other humans as well as our relationship with the physical environment. This is the only way we can thrive as humans and realize our reason for existence. It is, however, sad to notice that the human race has acquired so much competence in managing machines but has woefully failed to manage interpersonal relationships either due to ignorance or negligence. This explains why you meet professionals who are inclined academically and yet are very inept socially and so are not able to keep their jobs for long.
More often than not, the most dominant emotion which we fail to control and is responsible for failed relationships is anger. It is therefore tempting to think that the subject of emotional intelligence is synonymous with anger management. It should be noted, however, that the latter is a subset of the former.
Ancient Hebrew literature has this to say about the Creator:
“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy”1
and has this to say about humans;
”He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he that rules his spirit (better) than he that takes a city.”2
Elsewhere, it states a timeless truth:
“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back”,3
“A fool utters all his mind: but a wise man keeps it in till afterwards”
The need for emotional intelligence can never be overemphasized owing to the following reasons;
#1 You get to keep your Health
Since the first step to improving EI is learning how to release stress, it generally affects your health positively. Research has revealed that physically, uncontrolled stress can raise blood pressure, increase the risk of heart attack, suppress the immune system and cause stroke among others. With regard to mental health, stress can lead to depression and anxiety as well as mood swings.
#2. You get to keep your Work
Job requirements lately place importance on EI as much as on IQ since it is obvious that an employee with Emotional Intelligence is more able to navigate the social complexities of the workplace, lead others and also excel in his or her career. An opposite of this is what any company will avoid.
#3. You get to keep your Relationships
An emotionally unstable or incompetent personality is one that anyone will avoid in order not to become the next victim. However, a person who is able to understand his emotions will have good company since he is capable of controlling it alongside those of other people.
1Psalm 103:8 2Proverbs 16:32 3Proverbs 29:11