I want to touch a bit on emotional intelligence. Basically, emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions in yourself and sense the emotional needs in others. I’ve been studying this interpersonal skill and certainly am not an emotional master, but I constantly challenge myself to control any “miffed” (annoying) emotions that are connected to stressful situations.
Miffed? Mad? Upset? Irritated? Jittery? Soft? Antsy? Optimistic? All the Above?!?!
For example, when I’ve been on the witness stand in court (serving as a vocational expert), I have experienced verbal assaults on my work, my credentials, or even my vocation, by the opposing attorney. This of course is stressful! However, because I know myself well and have thee highest regard for what I do for a living, I am able to calmly turn mean and rude statements into mush (metaphorically in my mind where it matters!) You’d be surprised how effective a concerned look and a calm statement or simple facial expression saying, “I hope you realize how that sounded” can be.
Mush you say??? Yuck. Get Out of Here. No Way Would I Ever Eat That.
Seriously though, emotions can turn into enemies if they get in your way during certain times in your life (like on the witness stand!). I like to think of emotions as waves. A storm has rushed in, the winds are fierce, and the lake is churning up white caps. THESE ARE THE EMOTIONS – the things that get us disturbed, all riled up and self-absorbed. We liked the calm…
Emotional waves get in your way!
Now think, the storm will blow over and the lake will calm down. During the slowdown of the storm, the waves are just big, and in fact can be quite beautiful. THESE ARE YOUR THOUGHTS – and now you connect with the outside world….and to other people easily.
Calm those waves down!
Now think of a peaceful lake. Become aware of your own feelings and realize, hey ~ this is what makes me special, my stuff really is helpful and I am good at stilling the waves. Calm yourself down right when the lake’s current does too. Now there is no distinction between yourself and the environment. You become a part of it. Everything clicks. The world is safe….and you are alive! (yet potentially still on that witness stand!)
“I know that I know that I know!”
Understanding the effects of wind, waves and currents is not an easy subject to master. Waves (humans who may be intent on verbal attacks) behave differently under a large variety of different conditions.
So to be familiar with all, or at least rough water conditions, a professional seaman (or how about an expert witness such as myself?!), uses knowledge and skills to confidently control the ship through to the calm following the storm. That’s what it takes to be a good expert witness.
In another blog, I’m continuing on with another element of emotional intelligence ~ EI ~ stay in the ship!
My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.