by:  Mary Christian

Emotional Intelligence (“EQ”) is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage our emotions to perceive and influence the emotions of others. EQ encompasses self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and social skills. EQ plays a crucial role in how we navigate and respond to the powerful emotion called “FEAR.”  Fear is one aspect of human experience which can limit, control, or even paralyze us from changing, evolving and/or bettering our circumstances.  Fear can be both a protective mechanism and a hindrance throughout our lives, and how we manage, understand, and deal with fear is where Emotional Intelligence comes into play.
Let’s talk about it.  FEAR! 

You’ve heard me mention exhaustively, self-awareness is the catalyst to EQ. Recognizing when we are experiencing fear and having the ability to identify and understand its underlying cause is powerful.  This awareness enables us to better manage our reactions to fear instead of allowing fear to dictate our action or inaction.  By recognizing what we are fearful of, we can pause, reflect, and choose responses which are constructive and helpful.

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Self-regulation during our “fear response” is another important aspect of EQ. By controlling our emotions and impulses even in the face of fear-inducing situations, we manage it effectively rather than simply ignoring or suppressing it. Deep breathing, mindfulness, or cognitive reframing are a few tools which will help us prevent irrational, hurtful, emotional responses from overwhelming or paralyzing us.
Empathy plays a significant role in EQ and fear. As we empathize with others, we better understand the root causes of fear and/or their fear and can offer support and compassion.  This deeper, empathic connection fosters trust and the development of stronger relationships, which in turn, create a sense of belonging and security can help mitigate the impact of fear and analysis paralysis.  Help and support can be sought through effectively communicating our needs, and conflict resolution can be had through collaboration and understanding – all essential social skills for navigating fear.
We can harness fear and its energy.  Instead of allowing fear to paralyze us, we can embrace it as a natural part of life and an opportunity for personal and collective growth.

(Next Topic: EQ & Natural Response – Guilt & Shame)


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