Zack Vayda and his Emotions: Part 3
Before I get into Part 3, I think it's important to mention why I'm focusing specifically on the perspective of someone with a lack of Emotional Intelligence. The most important reason is because I can only accurately speak to my own experience, and I know my weakness is a lack of Emotional understanding. There are definitely people, though, that have a much more natural grasp on Emotional Intelligence. I'm not ignoring those people, I would just feel hypocritical speaking to something I don't understand.
The other reason is because I think specifically with my generation and the generations younger than me, Informational Intelligence is more easily attained considering how easy it is to access any information on any number of devices. Because it's not nearly as simple to build an understanding and appreciation of Emotional Intelligence, raising awareness of it specifically for my generation could make a big difference as we grow older and attain more responsibility in this country and the world.
We understand the existence and the importance of Emotional Intelligence from my last blog, and luckily working towards mastery of Emotional Intelligence is a relatively simple (although not necessarily easy) two-step process: Exposure and Introspection.
Exposure is a very similar process to how one works towards Informational understanding. Give yourself every opportunity to come into contact with emotional concepts. Listen to stories from people who have dealt with hardships in their life, people who have passions and drives that they work tirelessly towards, people that like connecting with other people. Try to understand the perspective of someone dealing with cancer, someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, someone who has tried and failed to make a positive difference in the world and yet keeps on trying. If you have the opportunity to speak directly with another person about their experiences, you'll benefit the most growth from that.
For those of you who are like me and can't see themselves asking strangers for their life story, the good news is the internet is packed full of these stories. There are blogs, websites, podcasts and articles all about stories steeped in Emotional Intelligence and growth. The more of these you experience, the better understanding you'll have of the undeniable importance of Emotional Intelligence.
Introspection is the process of recognizing you're ignoring your emotions, choosing to accept them instead, analyzing why you feel what you're feeling, and then deciding that you control your emotions, not the other way around.
Two days ago I was in the process of blogging when my girlfriend texted me. Immediately I was annoyed, because it's difficult for me to write effectively when there are distractions. My first reaction was to ignore my emotions, as I usually do, but instead I decided to test out this process to see if it works. I recognized that I was ignoring my emotions. I knew this path was only going to lead to more frustration (because I've done it many a time), but I thought maybe there's a different conclusion I could come to. I accepted that I was feeling an emotion, and that that was alright. Then I began the process of analyzing that emotion:
"What am I feeling? I'm feeling annoyed. Why am I feeling annoyed? Because I'm trying to blog and my girlfriend keeps distracting me by texting me. Is she doing it on purpose? No, I'm sure she doesn't know that I'm blogging. In fact, if she knew I was blogging, she probably wouldn't text me so that I could focus."
After this inner dialogue, I decided I could control my emotions and the situation, not the other way around. I texted her back to let her know I was blogging and that I would text her back afterwards. Immediately I felt a weight lifted away from me. Annoyance was no longer a burden on my mind.
Let's make this as simple as possible: Your mind is a garden, and unwanted emotions are the weeds. You know that if you stomp on the weed and push it further into the ground, it'll only grow back faster and stronger, taking up valuable space in your garden. Instead, you put the work and effort into stooping down to yank the weed from the ground. You have now removed the weed from your garden, and since you analyzed the weed, you know what to look for when it sprouts up again.