EI vs. EQ for the win!


Theories of emotional intelligence abound.

I have seen and heard a lot about something called Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ).  Of course, this blog discusses Emotional Intelligence Theory (EI) and rejects the idea that there is a method for establishing a quotient that is relevant to emotional intelligence.  Like EQ, EI depends on a personal commitment to change. Commitment to change begins with the realization that you have had enough of the way you handle your emotional life and you want to do something about it.

It appears that EQ promotes “thinking like” other people.  Essentially, EQ supports magical, nutty thinking and encourages an external locus of control. The person practicing EQ imagines s/he knows what is going on in the minds of others.  For example, if someone is behaving disrespectfully toward you, EQ endorses the following problem-solving strategy: “S/he must be having a bad day.  I think I will just be nice to h/er and treat h/er as if I know that h/er life isn’t working out well at the moment.”

Where EQ would have you imagine what is going on in the minds of others, a process of managing and coping with emotion, EI supports the idea that managing and coping with our emotions does nothing to produce long-term results.

Managing and coping are processes of postponing emotional improvement.

So, instead of imagining what the life of a stranger must be like, EI teaches that you can only know your own mind.  Instead of managing and coping with your anger, rage and anxiety, EI problem-solving works with concrete facts and long-lasting solutions: “This person is behaving disrespectfully toward me.  When I am treated disrespectfully I tell myself I cannot stand it.  I tell myself that it is awful when I am treated with disrespect.  I tell myself that when I am disrespected, I am worthless.  If I am treated as if I am worthless, people might think I am worthless.  If people don’t value me, I am a failure.  If I am treated as a failure, I wouldn’t be able to stand thatI have to have the respect and admiration of everyone I meet.  Everyone must celebrate the wonder of being me, or I am not as wonderful as I thought I was.”

Of course, confronting our self-defeating beliefs is not as pleasing and agreeable as imagining that everyone is simply having a bad day.  Your thoughts send messages to your body that activate a neuro-psycho-anatomical response that, once started, is nearly impossible to impede – without you taking some active in halting it. Confronting our own thoughts and making sense of them can actually lead to de-activating your body’s fight-flight-or-freeze response to noxious behavior, resulting in better health and continued wellness.

In order to regain peace and balance, like EQ, you will have to think differently. Only with EI you are thinking in terms of rationality and level-headedness, truth, fact and verity. Using EI, you actively participate in the process of problem-solving by asking yourself a series of rational questions: “Is it true that I am worthless because people treat me that way? Can I accept myself and my human value even when others don’t?  Do I have to be thought of by others as perfect in order to live my life happily?” This process of thinking will de-escalate your fight or flight response.  “No, I don’t need these behaviors from others to be content with myself.  I would like people to behave differently, but sometimes they don’t and I can certainly stand it.”

EI takes a bio-psycho-social perspective on mental health awareness.  Treating the whole person is expected to result in emotional wellness.  Heightened attentiveness to one’s biological response to thoughts will provide an individual with valuable information for emotional problem solving.

It will take the force of will to do this.

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13 responses

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