Why is 'emotional intelligence' so important for good connecting?

'Emotional intelligence', or EQ, has been found to be more important than IQ in helping us to do well in life. People with high EQ have better relationships, feel happier, and even do better in their careers and academically. So what is EQ? It is a set of skills that mean we are aware of our emotions, we know why we are feeling that way, we are able to manage how we express those emotions, and if necessary, we are able to work out what may need to be done in response to the feelings we are having about a situation. For example, I feel scared; I'm able to identify  my fear, I know why I'm scared (e.g. the new boss at work has fired some people and I'm worried I'll be next), and I can manage my fear (e.g. I can keep going to work and doing a good job by doing extra things to look after myself), and I'm able to think about what I may need to do (e.g. talk to my boss about my concerns, or develop a Plan B for if I lose my job). We are not automatically born with these skills - they are learned. Many of us have not had the good fortune to learn these skills growing up, especially if our parents or other adults in our lives didn't have those skills either - after all, they could only teach us what they knew. EQ is crucial for good connecting. Imagine this - I feel angry because my partner is late home without letting me know. Scenario one - I don't realise how angry I feel about it until my partner walks in the door, then I yell at him and tell him he's uncaring and thoughtless. He feels attacked, yells back and before we know it, we're having a heated argument. If we have many of these interactions, our relationship may feel less connected and supportive over time. One or both us may even question if we want to stay in the relationship. Scenario two - before my partner gets home, I realise that the reason I've been finding it hard to relax is because I'm angry my partner didn't let me know he'd be late. I make sure I am as calm as I can be before he arrives home, and I plan how I will talk to him, using a soft start in how I raise the issue, something like "Honey, I know you work really hard and time can run away with you; but I felt angry that you didn't let me know you'd be late. I was unable to plan my evening, and also got worried if you were OK." I say this to my partner, thinking of the best time to tell him. He is apologetic, we talk about how this could work differently next time, and a major fight is avoided. Because we have worked through this well, next time we need to talk about an issue, I remember that my partner does care about how I feel, which will help me bring things up in a gentle way in future. EQ skills can be learned at any age, and it is vital that we learn them if we want to build and sustain good relationships that are essential for our health, wellbeing and success. 

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