Emotional Intelligence is Vital to Authentic Happiness
Generations of individuals have long sought the “key” to happiness. Experts have attempted to narrow finding true happiness down to a few steps. Many have made an excellent living by instructing the masses on how to “be happy,” and still more and more people express their continued unhappiness in work and life. Is there a way to simply “be happy” or is finding true happiness analogous to the search for The Holy Grail?
What is Authentic Happiness?
To understand what may be obstructing your path to authentic happiness, we must first define what it means to be happy.
The solution is to recognize that things will not make you happy. And if you think they do, well, you may be in some serious need of a lesson in Emotional Intelligence (the other kind of smart). Authentic happiness is an inside job, and it’s available right here, right now. Stop looking for more things, start looking inside and learn to develop your awareness, control your emotions, and bolster your relationships.
Individuals who are aware of their emotions and can express their deepest feelings, be thoughtful, and empathetic when dealing with others are well on their way to experiencing authentic happiness in their lives.
The Role Emotional Intelligence Plays in Living a Life of Fulfillment
A happy, meaningful life is in and of itself a success, but a sense of personal satisfaction leads to a deeper understanding of the goals you’ve set for success in business, relationships, and many other areas of your life. To feel your life has meaning and purpose (the source of authentic happiness) you need to be able to:
● Identify your emotions and how you react to what you’re feeling in the present.
● Manage your reactions and recognize how your emotions are related to your mood. Learn to control your response accordingly.
● Use your emotions to commit, act, and motivate yourself toward achieving your goals. Harness positive feelings and use them to your advantage.
● Empathize with those around you, no matter your personal gain. In other words, don’t only work on relating to those from whom you can benefit. Practice understanding and acknowledging, through your actions, the emotions of those with whom you regularly interact: your boss, your spouse, the barista at your favorite coffee place, your neighbor, etc.
● Build relationships with those around. As part of a team learn to resolve conflicts, become engaged in social situations, and practice give-and-take.
If you recognize weaknesses in any of these areas, begin working to strengthen your EQ or Emotional Intelligence. We all have the ability for increasing our EQ. The first place to start is to increase your personal awareness, social awareness, and learn to build positive relationships with others.
How to Become More EQ Focused
Observe your emotions. Take the time to pause and identify your feelings in a variety of situations. No matter how busy you are, your emotions must be recognized and dealt with or, like a pot on a stove they will boil over, spilling onto other parts of your life.
The next time you experience a negative emotion such as anger, jealousy, or sadness, pause and take some time to reflect. If that’s not a doable action at the time, take a moment to jot down what you’re feeling and to what you’re reacting. Later, find a way to examine your internal emotional reaction and where those feelings may have originated. This can help you to identify triggers so that you can readily recognize and deal with them as they arise in the future.
Instead of reacting in a knee-jerk way, take the time to consciously process your feelings and make a decision of how to act. Becoming aware of your triggers allows you to recognize the feelings you’re experiencing and behave in a more positive and constructive manner.
Learn to notice when you begin to feel stress building; for instance, in a meeting with your team, or co-workers, and pause to collect your thoughts. You’ll be valued for your calm and capable response, instead of your over-the-top reaction.
Keep Your Ego in Check
It can be easy to get caught up in your accomplishments, but those achievements, in your mind, can cast a pretty big shadow, masking your faults and shortcomings. You believe life should always go “your way” and you can become emotional when life takes a different turn.
Not only will you gain insight into why others feel the way they do, but it will also help you to see your emotions more clearly. The view is much different when you attempt to see eye-to-eye instead of just from your subjective perspective.
Practice honing and developing your EQ every day. No one is truly happy by accident. The path to living a fulfilled, meaningful, and prosperous life is achieved through patience, perseverance, and mindful dedication.
Tying It All Together
Developing Emotional Intelligence is something that requires conscientious effort, constant practice, and time to develop, but once it becomes a habit, it makes life much more meaningful, simpler, and more enjoyable.
Once achieved, authentic happiness can become a life-long state, fed by your Emotional Intelligence. Will you be happy all the time? Of course not! Unfortunately, life is filled with disappointment, injustice, sadness and moments of discouragement. This is out of your control, but you can learn to control your response by understanding your emotions and triggers.
Charles Swindoll, once said, Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. We are all responsible for our happiness. So take the time to become more self-aware, learn to manage your emotions, and empathize with others and you’ll begin to experience your happiness and success rise dramatically.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tim Crowley, Ph.D.
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Leadership, and Resilience Expert
Tim is a well-known speaker with a passion for growing agile leaders, teams, and organizations that produce extraordinary results. For more than 25 years his services have touched the lives of leaders in some of the most recognizable companies in the world. Including AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Ernst & Young, Hallmark, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Marriot, Microsoft, Nestle-Purina, along with numerous organizations, universities, state and federal agencies.
When not speaking, leading workshops, and blogging he looks for inspiration through mountain biking, volunteering, and spending time with his family and friends. Invite Tim to speak at your next event. You can learn more about Tim and how his services can help you and your team at drtimcrowley.com. Connect with Tim on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.