Lots of men pride themselves on their capacity to fix, solve and pragmatically respond to their lives and relationships.
There is nothing wrong with that!
However, some men’s emotional lives drop down the pecking order of priorities and their mental health, and relationship health suffers.
Our level of emotional intelligence naturally gets tested as life throws us the proverbial curve ball straight where it hurts!
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence includes the following abilities:
– To identify and understand our own emotions and be able to communicate with others about how we feel
– To understand other people’s emotions and be able to identify and interact with them when they are emotional
– To regulate our own emotions (including controlling, expressing and modulating emotion) in a culturally and situationally appropriate manner
– To use emotion in our life in order to achieve our goals.
What’s the fuss! Why is it so important?
The general flavour of many of my consultations with men carry a significant, underlying and consistent ingredient. The huge struggle to identify, observe and accept feelings.
This struggle impacts massively on moods, behaviour and a capacity to cope with the stress and strains of life.
Emotional intelligence is so important because:
* It allows us to have awareness and control over what we do
* It results in lower levels of stress, which are associated with better health
* It enables more satisfying friendships and lasting intimate relationships
* We can soothe ourself, and are therefore able to calmly focus, concentrate and think when we are faced with a challenging situation
* It makes us more resilient. This means change and stress are easier to deal with.
Indeed, the research highlights that Emotional Intelligence is a better predictor of life satisfaction than IQ!
It’s all in the family!
As children our level of emotional intelligence emerged through the early years. Our competence in this area is a direct result of our interaction between our own innate emotional temperament and the environment in which we grew up.
I wonder, do you remember what kind of emotional temperament you had as a child?
Our parents will have naturally influenced the level of emotional intelligence for good or bad. They will have done so by how they:
* Modelled expression and regulated their emotions
* Reacted to our emotions
* Discussed and coached us about emotions
* Created the type of experiences they gave us and the emotional climate they exposed us to
What does the research say?
Dr John Gottman is a psychologist and relationships expert with 40 plus years of breakthrough research on marriage, relationships and parenting.
He has written numerous books on the topic of healthy emotions/healthy relationships such as The Heart of Parenting and Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child. I highly recommend them.
He and other researchers found how positive and negative emotions are managed and coached/taught by the parent forms a crucial part of emotion socialisation.
They also found that how parents managed stress, being too busy, distracted, and overwhelmed combined with their own temperament and background, significantly shaped their responses to their children.
You and I were the beneficiaries of all this!
Through the research, John Gottman and others developed one of the most powerful parenting styles that enhance kids Emotional Intelligence, they called it Emotion Coaching.
A guide for Life!
Emotion Coaching provides a great guide for us as adults and as parents (if you are one).
Using the skills of emotion coaching within our close, intimate relationships helps us develop a high degree of emotional intelligence, a happier more content life and long term secure relationship.
The 5 key aspects of Emotion Coaching:
1. Being aware of our emotions
2. Viewing the display of emotion as a time for intimacy and connection with ourselves and our loved ones
3. Being able to verbally label the emotions we are experiencing
4. Empathising and validating our emotions
5. Allow our emotions to help problem solve
The benefits of high Emotional Intelligence are:
- It allows us to have awareness and control over what we do
- It results in lower levels of stress, which are associated with better health
- It enables more satisfying friendships and lasting intimate relationships
- We can soothe ourselves, and are therefore able to calmly focus, concentrate and think when we are faced with a challenging situation
- It makes us more resilient. This means change and stress are easier to deal with.
Developing skills of Emotion Coaching has major benefits for kids, see more here