As humans, we are one of the most interesting creatures roaming this earth. Our genetic makeup consists of over 27 emotions that we feel and experience. According to studies, in order for us to effectively move through an emotional interaction, we must be able to express, recognize and understand what we are feeling and why. This term is called emotional literacy, which is based off of the research of emotional intelligence by Daniel Goleman.
Emotional literacy, also known as our emotional quotient (EQ), is a vital gauge of connection to our emotions . It involves many skills; the ability to recognize our feelings (self-awareness), the ability to manage our own behaviors (self-management), the ability to respond to the emotions of others with empathy (social awareness) and our ability to build relationships to better manage tough situations such as conflict resolution and anger management (relationship management). With every interaction of our life, we are expressing ourselves in our communication and behavior. To get the most out of life, connection becomes an essential element to achieve happiness and self-satisfaction.
It sounds straightforward, yet it has complexities. Emotions are the starting point for our choices, reactions and impact our behavior. If we start simple, we all experience emotions, but in different ways. Emotions are our guidepost. They affect our thoughts, feelings and behavior. To truly understand what life hands us, both personally and professionally, its vital to identify the emotion, understand it and respond appropriately with every event. As we learn more about our emotions, we learn more about what energizes, motivates and empowers us. We also gain traction to what may shut us down or push us away.
Let me give you an example.
Not too long ago, I was tasked to create a special-order form to capture customer information and requests. I worked hard to ensure it included everything needed from the start of the process to the delivery of goods. When my partner looked over the form, he was pleased! That boosted my energy. I felt a rush of excitement (energetic high) and accomplishment that I completed the task well. It made me feel so good that when my best friend asked me how my day was going, I shared this accomplishment. It was the pride that I took in my role that made me want to share. Once we began taking orders with this structured form, I learned that the form was missing some important content. My partner notified me of what was missing. I felt sad (my energy was sapped). I also experienced a rush of disappointment that I didn’t get it right. I could feel it in the pit of my stomach.
With every event, we experience an emotion – both mentally and physiologically. Self-awareness is important, but what if we’re unfamiliar with our own emotions? How we cultivate the skill can help us gain clarity to identify the correct emotion in order to choose the best response. The better we understand how we think, act and behave, the more grounded we become in giving the most appropriate response.
If we deny ourselves the opportunity to feel our emotions, we shut ourselves off from making the most meaningful connections. Robin Bush