This month on the blog I’m talking about the concept of Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) and offering my own framework around how I think about EQ. (Check out the introductory post here and Sunday’s post about mastering self-awareness here.)
Disconnection plagues our society right now. We’ve all been there: struggling with disconnection in our relationships, feeling lonely even when we’re around our loved ones.
In a recent episode of the Gathering Room, my coach and mentor Martha Beck redefined loneliness. Loneliness, she said, is not an indicator that you need more people around you.
Loneliness is actually an indicator that you need more of yourself.
When you fill yourself up with yourself - by recognizing and bringing awareness to your own needs - you no longer feel lonely. You no longer NEED people around you - instead, you want people around you (while also setting aside time for yourself).
This ties in perfectly with phase 1 of my EQ framework, which is self-awareness. When you’re aware of how you’re feeling, and are able to honor that (rather than force yourself to feel or do something that isn’t authentic for you in this moment), you become a master of self-awareness.
When you come to your relationships from a stance of having taken care of yourself first, you are more secure and more able to give and receive.
Which brings me to my point this week.
Let’s say that you’ve taken the time to take care of yourself. If you want to feel even MORE connected in your relationships, know this:
Complaining and criticism kill intimacy.
When you complain and criticize others, it disconnects you from yourself. (And as we now know - this is what creates loneliness!) Complaining and criticizing anchor you in what’s wrong - in negativity. That means that you can’t also be present with what’s right and positive.
Now: this does not mean that you should hold back your feelings or not stand up for yourself.
You can speak honestly about how you’re feeling and what you want and need without complaining. It simply comes from switching your perspective to be constructive and collaborative, rather than critical.
My challenge for you this week: spend the week abstaining from complaining or criticizing.
Notice your usual “ruts” of complaining. Notice the temptation to criticize. (And if it slips out, just notice that it’s happening and go right back to the intention of refraining!)
This is one of those things that will not work if you just think about it! Actually put it into action.
It’s like reading instructions on how to play the flute, vs. picking up a flute and learning which fingers go on which keys and how to blow correctly to make the right sound.
It might be harder than you think - but you can totally do it.
Controlling habitual complaining and criticism will skyrocket your connection and deepen your EQ.
Which will make you feel happier and more content.
And who doesn’t want that?
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