The face is the reflection of the mind. If you are angry, joyful or afraid – it is very visible on your face. So what is Anger, Joy & Fear – 3 key emotions. Which brings us to the question – What is an Emotion?
A very simple explanation would be – Its a physiological reflex reaction triggered by perceptions in the brain.
And what forms these perceptions? A lot it comes from evolution. Man has been traced to existence 1M years before Christ – Agriculture is traced no more than 25,000 BC. What this means is that man has lived as a nomad/hunter/wanderer for 975,000 years – that is 40 times longer than he has been settled down as an agriculturalist. And a lot of our emotions come from this background. Those 975,000 years survival was key – and your reflexes were all tuned towards survival.
Emotions are thus influenced by 3 things
- Our Basic Personality – DNA , Soul we inherited ….
- Values & Beliefs – a lot of that determined by surroundings , culture
- Our Behaviour – Is a function of the first two
Our basic personality is hard coded and its very difficult to change that – but we can definitely change our Values & Beliefs and our Basic personality over an extended period of time. For e.g. Crying is good – it relieves stress but in most cultures the belief is that men cannot cry and its OK for women to cry. Similiarly women are not supposed to express their anger openly. These are beliefs that we can start to change with our children.
Changing our Values/Belief and thereby our Personality is a long journey – and thats where the importance of Self Awareness comes in. And this is the link between Emotional Intelligence and Spirituality. As Ramana Maharishi stated – the journey starts when you ask the Question – Who am I ?
A self aware person is in control of his emotions – there is a big difference between “being in control” and “suppressing” – the former is good the latter is bad. Anything that is suppressed will come out violently like a volcano. Most health problems are a cause of suppressed emotions – the whole schema of Psychosomatic illness stems from suppressing your feelings and emotions.
The Daniel Goleman model talks of this extensively and explains the core components of Emotional Intelligence under two heads
- Self Management – Self Awareness, Self Regulation & Motivation
- Ability to relate to Others – Empathy & Social Skills
The first step you need to take is to acknowledge that YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for your emotions – blaming others, the surroundings, the environment, destiny, fate – living in self pity is not going to help.
Lets take a simple example – Mr X is paranoid about being punctual – he gets wild if people are not on time. Who is responsible for Mr X being angry ? Most of us would say its because the other person was not punctual – but the reality is you cannot change others. If Mr X wants to be happy – he needs to change his belief system from being punctual is a commandment to its Ok if you are late.
Self Awareness helps you to peel the onion and get to the depth of understanding what are your core values and beliefs which you stick to – and take a real hard look at them – see if the are the cause of anxieties and slowly start working on letting go of them.
Emotions are nothing but an energy – we are all billions of electrons spinning around – we are all waves. Anger is an energy like a tornado, a smile and a radiant face is an energy wave like a breeze in a beautiful park – you can decide which energy wave you want to be , a murderous storm or a pleasant breeze in the park. Even in anger you can be aggressive , assertive or passive – being assertive shows you are in control of your emotions.
Positive energy creates more positive energy – which bring us to the topic of Strokes. The whole world is hungry for a compliment, a few words of praise – and the whole world is stingy – it costs nothing – But we are full of criticism and struggle to compliment. Facebook operates on the concept of positive Strokes – a Like is nothing but a positive stroke. When a child comes running and says I cam 3rd in class – you say OK but who came 1st & 2nd. A key thing to being happy is to be more open with compliments and positive strokes – it does make the world a better place and what goes out will soon come back to make you happy.
Research has shown that in high performance teams the Ratio of positive to Negative comments is 6 : 1 , the tipping points is 3 : 1 . This is not just at work but can be practised at home also. Everyone needs a positive stroke – so don’t be stingy.
Finally there are a set of 5 common drivers around which almost all of can be bracketed – you can always be a mix and match of a few but there will be one driver that is your main trait. Drivers give us an insight into peoples behaviours and help us to build relationships more effectively. Based on the work of Taibi Kahler there is a test by which you can measure your main drivers.
The 5 Drivers – Which one are you
- Be Perfect – “I have to square up the blocks accurately” – perfect accuracy is very important
- Hurry Up – ” I want to this on time” – Speed is very important
- Please people – “I will look around to see who is watching me” – Don’t take strong stands want everyone to be happy with them
- Be Strong – ” I will sit on the floor rather than the table” – as if discomfort gives it added benefits
- Try Hard – ” I will try it out horizontally first” – as if the extra effort was worthwhile
In summary – its good to reflect and invest in your self development. Reading books , discussing with friends is good – but take one more step. I did that and attended a wonderful 2 day training on Emotional Intelligence conducted by Aruna (She runs a Training company called Navgati – http://www.navgati.in/team.html) – in 2 days you get to learn so much from someone who is experienced and well read and is a wonderful facilitator. If you are at the right frame of mind a training like this can help you accelerate on your journey to self awareness