Emotional intelligence is a choice. It’s a commitment to slowing down so we can recognize our own default ways of fault-finding and then regulating out of the limited perceptions that lead to finger-pointing, blame, and victimization.
A major challenge to consistently practicing emotional intelligence is our difficulty in dealing with conflict. Conflict among people and ideas sets the default mind into limited perspective-taking. Narrowing one’s view of a challenge can be a fast track into finger-pointing, criticizing, blame and taking sides.
We humans don’t handle discomfort and conflict well. If we could, our ability to be empathetic and emotionally intelligent would dramatically shift.
As you start your week, I invite you to try something new at the moment you experience discomfort in conflict.
1. When you hear pain in someone’s sharing (anger, panic, blame, worry, over focusing on the details, aggravation, yelling) see if you can exhale,
2. Then, remain present in your mind and see the hero behind their pain.
3. Can you determine what gift is that person trying to share, but believes they can’t? What shared human need isn’t being met for that person? Do they need more time, clearer boundaries, more frequent communication, to be included?
This mind shift helps you stop taking other peoples expressions of discomfort personally, keeps you out of your fixed mind perceptions of the other persons expressions of pain, and helps you honor their needs for safety – which happen to be the three steps to practicing empathy.
This practice ensures you don’t get caught up in finger pointing and fault finding, which keeps us disconnected in spaces where nothing grows.
We want to come closer in conflict. Connecting in conflict requires that all people feel safe – which means we all take responsibility for our words, actions, thoughts, beliefs and their impact and for regulating out of our fixed mind judgments. Whether at work or in our personal lives, we want to create a safe environment for all people to connect with love, compassion and empathy. (The only ways change and growth happen!)
Let me know how it goes practicing this strategy this week.