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Looking Critically at Emotional Intelligence

Looking critically at emotional intelligence can be a fruitful exercise to help us more fully understand its utility for our lives.

Written by: Daniel Goleman

The first inkling of trouble came in an early morning email from a friend, warning me about an article in a popular forum, a takedown of emotional intelligence and of me.

The next day I read the article, a rather sneering and vitriolic attack. The feelings it aroused in me were a muddy mixture of anger, fear, sadness, shame, plus the urge for revenge or at least a defense.  Just about every disturbing feeling washed through me.

As a longtime meditator, I chose to be with those feelings as they arose, just accepting them. After some time of doing this, they withered. I felt more calm, more clear.

Then I talked to family and friends about the unnerving attack – and they helped me become even calmer. And that calm clarity let me choose how to respond more effectively. 

We all have moments like these – everyone has some stress, faces threats or just hard times.

The question is, How do we react? Does the stress overwhelm us? Can we ride through to recovery?

And how can we get a sense of the ongoing, background stresses that, in total, can disturb our peace of mind?

Along with that exploration of stressors, there’s an equally important calculation: what are the sources of relief and nurturance in our lives, and are they great enough to counter whatever stresses come our way?

We may not be able to control the stress, but we can increase our renewals – the real antidote to stress.

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