Inner Work With MaryAnn Walker

10 Ways to Increase Emotional Intelligence

December 28, 2023 MaryAnn Walker Episode 75
Inner Work With MaryAnn Walker
10 Ways to Increase Emotional Intelligence
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, MaryAnn Walker delivers on her promise to share 10 practical ways to boost your emotional intelligence or emotional maturity. Before diving into these tips, she explains why cultivating emotional maturity is crucial, outlining five compelling reasons.

  1. Increase Self-Awareness:
    • Gain insight into your emotions and behaviors.
  2. Enhance Interpersonal Relationships:
    • Develop empathy for stronger and more fulfilling connections.
  3. Effective Conflict Resolution:
    • Better manage emotions for finding workable solutions.
  4. Stress Management:
    • Take ownership of your emotions for self-regulation.
  5. Improve Work Performance:
    • Enhance leadership, teamwork, and adaptability.

10 Ways to Increase Emotional Maturity:

  1. Assume There Is Always More to Learn:
    • Encourage depth and increase empathy and connection through curious questions.
  2. Let Others Have Their Experience:
    • Avoid stealing the spotlight; let them share without interruption.
  3. Separate Facts from Your Story
    • Examine situations objectively, distinguishing between facts and interpretations. 
  4. Consider the Other Person's Experience:
    • Foster empathy by thinking about their perspective.
  5. Save Level 10 Reactions for Level 10 Situations:
    • Match your emotional response to the significance of the situation.
  6. Take Responsibility for Your Emotions:
    • Identify and fulfill your emotional needs for self-regulation.
  7. Take Responsibility for Your Actions:
    • Acknowledge your role in conflicts, even if it's a small part.
  8. Be Clear in Your Requests:
    • Clearly express your needs, avoiding emotional manipulation.
  9. Find Middle Ground
    • Notice if you are slipping into black and white thinking and find common ground. Allow space for both experiences and perspectives to exist. 
  10. Know That Two Experiences Can Exist at the Same Time:
  • Increasing your capacity to feel and process multiple emotions at the same time can increase your capacity to hold space for others joy or pain. 

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Well, hello and welcome back. So, as promised, this week I'm going to be sharing 10 ways that you can increase your own personal level of emotional intelligence or emotional maturity. But first, I want to share with you five reasons why This can be very helpful and very beneficial for you personally. So, first, it increases self awareness, especially around your own emotions, and that kind of lends insight into why we do the things that we're doing. It all comes from that place of emotion. Second, it enhances our interpersonal relationships. those with higher levels of emotional intelligence, they're able to be more empathetic, and that can lead to stronger and more fulfilling connections with others. Third, it makes for more effective conflict resolution. When somebody knows how to manage and how to self regulate their own emotions, it helps them to just come into conflict a little bit more clear headed and a little bit more level headed so they can find something that works for both parties. Fourth, stress management. So it's only when we know and understand what it is that we are feeling that we're able to identify what our needs are and have them actually met. I can't tell you how many times people are trying to figure out how to have their own needs met but they want everybody else to try to figure out what it is that they need. It's like, no, that's not it, that's not it, that's not it. And that creates a lot of frustration for both parties. So when we're able to identify and fulfill our own needs or make those requests specific requests to have our own needs met, it can be very helpful for stress management. And fifth, it actually improves our work performance, especially when it comes to leadership, teamwork, and attempting to adapt to new situations. So now that we know five ways, it can be very helpful. I'm going to now tell you 10 ways. And of course there's a million ways, but today we're going to talk about 10 ways to increase your own level of emotional intelligence. And I actually had a lot of fun with this one. I kind of had an idea of what direction I wanted to go in and I knew I wanted to pick 10 and narrow it down to 10. So I spent some time this weekend at the local beauty school where my daughter's attending school and it was so fun to just chat about this with her classmates because I'm pretty sure that people that work in the beauty industry, they have a lot of first hand experience when it comes to watching people process in real time their emotions and just these varying levels of emotional intelligence. So it was a really fun conversation. So shout out to the local beauty school. I just love you ladies. And here we go. So the first way that you can increase your own level of emotional intelligence is assume that there's always more to learn. And because the brain learns through contrast, I'm going to offer up some examples of each of these things. So for this first one, let's say that somebody is telling you about their trip. And you're saying, oh, it was so great. We went to the beach and we went surfing. And, you know, the conversation could end there. Maybe you're assuming that, you know, what a beach is like, or that, you know, what surfing is like. And so you just think, okay, I already know everything that there is to know about their vacation, but that isn't going to create a lot of depth or connection. And so maybe you might want to consider asking some followup questions to just gain a bit more insight. Assume that you don't know everything and find a handful of questions that you could ask. So maybe it could be like, Hey, Have you ever been surfing before? Like, what was that like for you? Do you think you're going to do it again? What was your favorite part about the trip? Ask some more questions and see if you can take things a little bit deeper. Oftentimes, the emotionally immature person, first of all, it feels really good to think you know everything. So, they want to assume that they know everything because it just feels so good. And it also requires a certain level of vulnerability to ask follow up questions because then it kind of lets on that Yeah, guess what? I don't know everything. But that is how you can deepen your own level of emotional intelligence as well as deepen your connections with other people. Alright, number two. When somebody shares an experience, let them have their experience. And this sounds so simple. But you'll notice, often times, if you're engaging with somebody who is expressing emotionally immature behavior or maybe you might notice it in yourself, if you find yourself resisting somebody else's experience. This could be a positive or negative experience. Then just notice that. And this might look like maybe devaluing their experience, or maybe you make it about yourself. So, for example, let's say that somebody is sharing something personal about their family. So, maybe they're saying, you know what, my dad passed out the other day, and they had to take him to the emergency room, and I'm just really worried about him. Now, an emotionally immature person won't know what to do with that. Remember, when you're Emotionally immature. You have a hard time navigating not only your own emotions, but other people's emotions. So one way that they can shift this is by saying something about themselves. So in this instance, the emotionally immature person might say something like, you know what? I passed out once before. Yep. In sixth grade. And then go on to tell about their experience. And it can feel very disjointed because it has nothing to do with this person's father being currently in the hospital. This is something that happened years ago. And it's in an attempt to empathize, but it actually shows more empathy to just allow them to have their experience. That's how you can deepen your own empathy. So allow them to have their experience. And maybe they're going to want to talk more about it, and maybe they won't. And it's honestly okay to ask them. It's okay to admit that you don't know something. It's okay to say, hey, you know, I don't know how to respond right now. I don't know what it is that you need right now. But if you want to talk, I'm here for you. If you just want somebody to sit and listen. I'm here for you. And whatever you need, it's totally fine. But think of some way to just allow them to have their experience. It's not going to diminish your experience. Just let them have their experience. And remember, it is okay to talk about yourself, but make sure that you're sharing the spotlight rather than taking over the stage. So let's kind of keep playing around with this vacation example. So an emotionally immature person would probably interject immediately to talk about their own experience. bit of answers for some of your questions about personations in the future. So even I can assure, first of all, there is a link in the description and there's a They want to talk about themselves too. So allow them to have that space. It's okay to share your experience as well, but take a little bit of time to just breathe and fill into it and maybe ask a few follow up questions before interjecting and sharing your experience. Allow them the space to share their experience fully and then you can also share. All right, number three, separate the facts. from your story about the facts. And we talk about this so much on this podcast, but this is something that even I need reminders of every now and then. It is really easy to assume that our story is fact when in fact it is not. So when we are acting through emotional immaturity, it's really easy to assume that yeah, that our story is fact. So slow it down and really look at it. So for example, your story might be that your supervisor is a big fat jerk that doesn't appreciate everything that you do. But the fact might be that you had your performance review and they told you four things that you're doing amazingly well and then they shared one area of improvement. And you made that mean that they were a big fat jerk and that they don't appreciate everything that you do. So really narrow it down and think through, okay, what are the actual facts and what is my story about it? Because oftentimes they can be quite different. Another story might be that your partner doesn't care about you or your relationship. And you might find yourself wondering if you're going to make it or not. But when you really look at the facts of the story, the fact might be That they were 15 minutes late because they got stuck in traffic and so they were a little bit late for your date. Or maybe you have a story in your head that your kid has totally run off the rails and that they're never going to be a constructive member of society. But when you really break it down, the fact is that your kid stayed out with friends late one night. And that's something that is totally age appropriate. So just notice the facts and what you're making it mean. Separating out the facts from your story about the facts can help you to see more clearly. And it can also really help you to regulate your own emotions and keep those in check because you're really working to see what is true rather than getting stuck in the spin cycle of ruminating on your story and what you think it might mean. Alright, number four. Think about what another person's experience must be like for them. Now, emotional immaturity, it thinks only of self, but emotional maturity, it thinks about both parties. Now there are many things in life that you might not actually have any personal experience with. And so it can be a challenge when somebody comes to you with something that you haven't personally faced to know how to show up for them. So maybe it's the loss of a pet. or the loss of a parent. Maybe it's divorce, or getting married, or having a baby, or having a second or third marriage. Maybe it's losing a job. And it can be really easy to assume what that's like for people, but everybody experiences those things differently. So think specifically about the person that you are in relationship with and what their experience must be like for them. Try to put yourself in their shoes. And remember that curiosity creates And empathy creates connection. Alright, number five. Save your level 10 reactions for level 10 situations. So this doesn't mean not having any emotions, but it does mean knowing the difference between, you know what, this is a level 10 end of the world event, and I'm going to treat it that way. And also recognizing when, okay, well, this is maybe like a level two, I'm kind of mildly disappointed and then adjusting your actions accordingly so that they fit on that scale. And so, yeah, like it can be really frustrating to be cut off in traffic, but the truth is that when you're cut off in traffic, it lasts just a few seconds. And then it's over. So treat it that way. There is no need to escalate it to a level 10. Save that for severed limbs. Okay? And it can sound silly, but actually putting things on that scale can be very helpful. So ask yourself, okay, so where is this experience on a scale of 1 to 10? And then ask yourself, okay, so what kind of response am I giving to that experience? And do they match? For example, if you discover that the shirt that you planned to wear that day is wrinkled and you have to wear something else, How much energy do you want to invest in fretting over the wrinkles? If your grilled cheese sandwich is now burned on one side, what level of response do you want to give to it? Notice what number you would give these experiences and then kind of see if your responses match that actual event on the scale and save your level 10 reactions for level 10 situations. All right, number six, take responsibility of your own emotions. And we talked a bit about this last week, but you are the only one responsible for regulating your emotions. And yes, other people can have an impact on your emotional state, but you are the only one responsible for regulating your own emotions. And so you think about what it is that you need. Maybe you need space. Maybe you need some time in nature. Maybe you need sleep, or food, or a blanket. It is your responsibility to identify what your need is, and do what is needed to regulate your own Emotions. Emotional immaturity often says you have to fix it. You have to make it better. But emotional maturity says, I know what is needed and I can fill my own needs. Your actions have impact on me and I am going to adapt accordingly. Right? It's acknowledging that, yeah, your actions do have impact on me. I'm not saying that you have nothing to do with how I feel, but it's me taking control of the situation and being proactive about. This is how this has impacted me. And this is how I am going to behave moving forward to make sure that I'm fulfilling my own needs, especially in situations where it's become apparent that the other person will not be fulfilling your needs. You need to be proactive about whatever it is that you want to do to resolve that for self. And honestly, there is not enough time here today to cover this one, so I will make a note for myself to do an entire episode at some point on honoring impact and also self regulation. But for now, just remember to take responsibility for your own feelings and do what you need to do to self regulate. And this leads to number seven. Take responsibility for your actions. And so we're not only taking responsibility for our emotions, but we're also taking responsibility for our actions. So emotional immaturity says, you made me do this. And emotional maturity says, I reacted poorly and I'm sorry. Now, keep in mind that this does not mean that you need to over own the situation and take on all of the blame. But it does mean taking ownership of your piece, even if that piece is small. So you might be responsible for only 10 percent of the conflict, but you can still take responsibility for that 10%. Remember that everything is co created, and so reflect on what is yours to own, and own that piece. Alright, number eight. Be clear in your requests. And this one is an interesting one, and it can be a little bit harder to spot. Because oftentimes people, they think that they're making a request, but really they're making an observation. Or, maybe they think that they're making a request, but really, they're making a manipulation. Now, let me give you some examples so that you know what I mean. So, if you aren't asking a question that somebody can easily say yes or no to, then you have not made a request. So, some examples of passive comments that are not requests are, Boy! That trash sure is full, or it sure is getting late. I sure wish somebody would offer me a ride home, or, oh, there's so much laundry on the bed that needs to be hung up and I'm so tired. Now these might feel like you're making a request, but really they're just passive comments. The other person, they cannot say yes or no to it, And they might just think, okay, I guess that they're just making an observation. They might not have any idea that you're actually trying to make a request of them. Remember that clear is kind. So make an actual request, something that the other person can actually say yes or no to. So for example, hey, would you please take the trash out? Now they can say yes or no, or maybe saying, I'm really tired, can I please get a ride home? It's very clear, it's very direct. They have an opportunity to say yes or no. Or, hey, can we work together on the laundry? I really want to sleep in the bed tonight and I'm just so exhausted. Again, they have an opportunity to say yes or no. That brings clarity. to both parties. So now to talk a little bit about the manipulation portion. So also notice if you're making a clear request or if you're making an emotional manipulation. So an emotional manipulation, it's making somebody else responsible for your feelings, whereas a request actually owns your own emotions. So for example, an emotional manipulation might sound like, I can't believe I wasn't invited to your party. I guess I'm not as important to you as I thought. Or it might sound like. You don't even care about my feelings. It seems like you're always too busy for me. Or maybe it might sound like, Did I do something wrong? You hardly ever talk to me anymore. A kind and clear request on the other hand, it might sound a bit like, Hey, I noticed I wasn't invited to your party and I'm feeling left out. Can we talk about it and maybe plan something for you and I to do together? Or it might sound something like, Hey, I've been feeling really lonely lately. Would you and I be able to grab something to eat sometime? Or it might sound like, Hey, I miss you. Are you free to hang out? It's being assertive, it's being clear, it's taking ownership of your feelings and making a yes or no request. It is taking ownership of your emotions. And then making a clear request that the other person can say yes or no to. So remember that clear is kind, unclear is unkind. Alright, number eight. Know that two experiences can exist at the same time. Now I recently had an experience where I was having the best day ever and I was sharing it with somebody. And as I was sharing it with them, I soon found out that this for them was actually the worst day ever. They had had some events happening just that morning and they were really in a rough way. Now, emotional immaturity in this space, it might look like, how dare you rain on my parade? This is supposed to be a good day and now you're telling me all these horrible things. But emotional maturity acknowledges that both of these experiences are valid and it can make room for both of those things to exist at the same time. Emotional maturity allows for more than one experience and more than one emotion at the same time. Time and the greater your capacity is to experience more than one emotion within yourself, the greater your capacity will be to hold space for other people, regardless of what emotion they're currently experiencing. Life is 50 50 and sometimes we're on the high side of 50 and sometimes we're on the low side of 50, but both of these experiences are valid. Emotional maturity is allowing space for both and it's increasing your capacity to hold space. Emotional maturity allows you to hold space for another person's joy when you're really struggling and it also allows you to hold space for another person's pain when you're on top of the world. It's learning how to meet them where they're at and honoring both of those experiences. They are not mutually exclusive. Practice allowing space for both because guess what? Both of these things are actually existing at the same time anyway. It's just our capacity to hold space for both. That is limited. So if you notice yourself being upset by another person's joy or another person's pain, just take that as a cue that you need to work on your own emotional maturity and work to allow space for both of these things to exist. All right, number nine. Find the middle ground. Now this is somewhat similar to number 8, but this allows space for middle ground. Black and white thinking oftentimes draws battle lines in the sand rather than boundary lines. And that keeps both sides on the defensive, right? If there is a battle line drawn, both sides are going to be on the defensive. So let me share a few examples of black and white thinking through an emotionally immature lens, as well as a more emotionally mature thought. So this might look something like, I'm right and you are wrong, is the black and white thinking, versus sometimes I'm right and sometimes I'm wrong. That's more emotionally mature. So the black and white thinking would be, This is good and that is bad. Whereas more emotionally mature thinking might be this is good for me, and this is what I choose now. Let's talk about why you made that choice. It allows space for both It allows space for the free choice and agency of both parties Black and white thinking might be saying something like, I'm either the best ever or the worst ever. There's no in between. Whereas more emotionally mature thinking might say, I may not be perfect at everything, but I'm learning and improving as I go, and I'm learning through my mistakes. All right, one more example of black and white thinking. Black and white thinking might sound like, if you disagree with me, then you must be a really nasty and immoral person. You see this a lot on the internet, right? I'm right, you're wrong. I'm moral, you're immoral. So more emotionally mature thinking might look like, you know what, friendships have different perspectives and that's okay. It's okay if we don't agree on everything. What matters is our ability to respect and appreciate our differences. So notice the differences in these thoughts. If you find yourself experiencing the black and white thinking, see if you can come up with a more compassionate way to view that specific scenario. All right, number 10. Don't take everything personally. Again, emotional maturity, it wants to make everything about you. It takes everything personally. But guess what? Not everything is about you. There is so much that we just can't know about any situation. So notice if you're maybe taking things a little bit too personally. Now, I'm going to offer up a few examples here because again, we really can't know what's going on for people, but here are some alternative thoughts that you might choose So for example, rather than the thought They probably haven't responded to my text because they don't like me. Maybe be willing to just try on the thought of they must be busy or dealing with something right now. I can check in again later, right? We cannot know why the other person hasn't responded to our text. All we know is it's again, the facts and the stories, right? We can see that they haven't responded to our text and notice what story you're making up about it and just choose something a little bit more supportive. So another example might be rather than thinking, Oh, they seem really distant. I must have done something to upset them. Remind yourself that we can't know why they're distant. So maybe try on the thought, I wonder what's going on for them. I can ask if everything's okay, and I can offer support to them without assuming blame. All right. Another example. Rather than saying, I made a mistake in the meeting and they're all going to hate me now, maybe you could try on the thought, you know what? Mistakes happen. And it's unlikely that one small mistake will lead to these really extreme consequences that I'm picturing in my mind. So I can address the mistake and I can learn from it and move on rather than thinking, you know what? They haven't liked my social media posts in a long time. They must not care about me. Maybe you can try on the thought, you know what? Our friendship is more than social media. So I can reach out and connect with them in more personal ways. Remember that not everything is about you and remind yourself that oftentimes the story that the mind is making up is more extreme than the reality. So just check in with that. And in fact, this one, it really sums up a few of these different ideas. And so notice your story and separate it from the facts, regulate your own emotions, ask more questions, right? Don't assume what's going on for the other person or why they're showing up in the way that they are. And also just manage your reactions around that. So there you go. 10 ways to increase emotional intelligence. Find me on social media and let me know which one of these resonates more with you. And if this is something that you would like to explore a bit more when I was chatting with the ladies at the beauty school, my list doubled. So if this is something that intrigues you and you would like to learn a bit more about it, let me know. I would love to know how I could best support you. And yes, I will be making a list of each of these things in the show notes, so you can go ahead and click down there if you would like to have a ready made list of these ways to increase your own personal levels of emotional maturity. And also, you can click the link in the show notes to find me on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, I'm all over the place. So come and find me, I would love to connect with you. And as always, if you would like customized support for the coming year, come and work with me. I'm currently offering six weeks for 6. 25 and I think that you'll honestly be blown away by how much we can accomplish in our six weeks together. So feel free to contact me on social media or email me at maryann at maryannwalker. life to apply to work with me. I would love to work with you. So let's talk soon and I hope you have a great week. All right. Bye now.