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Emotional Intelligence - The Special Connection Between Mind, Emotion, and Behavior

Emotional intelligence is a complex concept that touches almost every aspect of our lives: emotions, behavioral patterns, relationships, and work. I'll try to explain it not through theories or quotes, but through my understanding of emotional intelligence and its connection to our lives.

I often say that emotional intelligence is the way we manage our lives consciously while allowing space for emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, especially for ourselves. The keyword here is awareness. In simple terms, it's a genuine connection between the mind - intellect and cognitive understanding, the heart - emotions, and action - our behavior.

Some people operate through intellect, meaning they understand emotions, but for them, it's a nuisance, so they make most decisions based on intellect. However, ignoring emotions doesn't mean they don't exist; on the contrary! It just gives more room for emotions to "control" us or dictate our behavioral patterns.

One of the questions I often ask in the first session of a course is, "Who is managing your life? You or your emotions?" The point is that we don't always act freely in choosing our behavior - sometimes we automatically follow the strongest established pattern.

Some people grew up in families where emotions like sadness and frustration were not legitimate - and over the years, they developed mechanisms to "hide" these emotions. Every time they encountered sadness or frustration, they reacted with a substitute they learned in their childhood: they might have reacted with emotional detachment or sarcasm, or they might have reacted with anger. Is this the choice that truly promotes them? Is this a free choice of behavior? No! Since they didn't have a conscious choice, they might have chosen to stay a little with the original emotion - with sadness or frustration, and strengthen their awareness of themselves - what caused this emotion? What am I feeling now? Maybe not, but at least it was in their choice space.

We can act automatically: every time someone annoys us, or we think they meant to annoy us, we activate the automatic mechanism of fighting back, resistance, or shutdown. But is this the most effective and correct response in this case? A "correct" response is one chosen consciously when we feel we truly have a choice. (We may choose the same response that used to be our automatic response - but it will be out of conscious choice).

In my opinion, emotional intelligence is a collection of acquired skills that deepen a person's awareness. Emotional intelligence is also deepening awareness of communication - between a person and themselves, between a person and others, and between a person and the world. All of these are related to emotional intelligence.

Generally, I say that emotional intelligence is something acquired through experience - or learning processes. So here's an experiential exercise where you can dedicate a few moments to introspection: read the following questions and try to answer the first answer that comes to mind. Those who like to work with intuitive writing (and those who want to try) can write these questions, one by one, with their dominant hand, and answer with their non-dominant hand.

Reflection Exercise:

- What do I love?

- What are my strengths and abilities?

- What makes me feel good?

- What's hard for me?

- Which emotions are difficult for me to deal with and why?

- Who am I, what is my essence?

- What motivates me, what makes me want to live?

- Who are the people who upset me within seconds? (Who raises my fuse the fastest?)

- And what's the reason for that, in my opinion?

- What am I proud of about myself?

Now sit with the answers and reflect:

- What is your initial reaction to the answers (without judgment)?

- Are you learning something new about yourself through this reflection?

In emotional intelligence workshops, participants meet the patterns they want to change or strengthen. Some people say, "That's who I am, it's my character." And in my opinion, there's no such thing as "it's my character." Our character is shaped through experiences we've had, through environmental reactions. Although there's something called temperament, a person is more introverted at their core, or more extroverted, but the excuse of "it's my character" doesn't work for me... I believe that every pattern can be changed - if we look at it non-judgmentally, and examine what it's made of. It's like taking a magnifying glass and looking closely at our behavior. What is it made of? What drives us? What was the internal button that was pressed just before I answered the way I did? And after I know something so closely, I can also understand its mechanism, and how it works - and if necessary, change it (parts of it or all of it). Awareness is the most powerful tool, and in my opinion, the more aware we become, the easier it is for us to deal with life experiences and see the bigger picture.

The field of emotional intelligence is very broad, and of course, I can't present it all in writing - especially because I believe in experiential learning. And of course, our greatest teacher is ourselves.

Have a pleasant journey and enjoyable learning!

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