Emotional Intelligence is any win-win choices-processes-exercises between anger and denial.
Mr. Google told me today our definitions of Emotional Intelligence (EI) are weak and vague:
Dictionary ~ noun: Capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
Psychology Today ~ Ability to identify and manage your own emotions and emotions of others. Generally said to include three skills (1) Emotional awareness; (2) Ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; (3) Ability to manage emotions; including, regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.
These definitions of EI sufficed in the 1990s. For our needs now and going forward, I believe they are indirect and vague. Comments on Daniel Goleman’s EI books appear further below.
Proposed new definition of Emotional Intelligence
(1) EI is internal and external expressions, behaviors, exercises which effectively replace conflict;
(2) EI is all win-win choices and processes, between anger and denial, initiated by either partner.
Q: I don’t get angry in conflict; I get depressed.
A: Yes, true many times for many people. To gain therapeutic direction strong enuf to address depression effectively, we need more language and we need a few categories for invisible, unconscious habits and patterns.
For starters, let’s back up and call “conflict” a category of ‘dysfunctional expressions, behaviors, exercises.’
From this higher viewpoint we can see two categories of conflict:
– OVERcharged expressions of conflict; and,
– UNDERcharged expressions of conflict.
Conflict can occur in either or both OVER- and UNDERcharged forms.
For example, with a partner, conflict can look like hitting with your fist; conflict can look like withdrawing from your partner.
Within yourself, conflict can look like cutting your arm; conflict can look like depressing yourself with Inner Criticism, any habit of reinforcing an inward downward spiral.
In Best Practices in Energy Medicine, quite a bit is known about these sub- and unconscious patterns, all the way down to the organ level:
OVERcharged conflict tends to flip-flop between angry-disappointed expressions and withdrawal. This points to the liver organ; and, to the child archetype in our etheric body.
UNDERcharged conflict tends to flip-flop between rejection-depression and withdrawal. This points to the organs of stomach, pancreas, spleen; and, to the mother archetype.
Under-the-surface complexities can be substantial. So we say more simply: Emotional Intelligence is any and all win-win choices-processes between, the two dysfunctional poles, between anger and denial.
Let’s go back to ‘EI is internal and external expressions-behaviors, which effectively replace conflict.’ This can be made more clear by discerning the pattern of complementary inner and an outer versions:
– EI is INternal expressions-behaviors, effectively replacing mental-emotional conflict (healthy self-empathy),
– EI is EXternal, inter-personal expressions-behaviors, effectively replacing conflict (healthy compassion, healthy boundaries with others, win-win negotiation).
Q: What would UNhealthy self-empathy be?
A: Self-pity, excess self-criticism.
I also like this approach: Emotional Intelligence is all the things you can do with yourself and with a partner to support mental-emotional transparency; mutual respect–and if desired–win-win outcomes.
Q: Why is this a big deal? Aren’t Daniel Goleman’s books the clearest presentation of EI?
A: No. Emotional Intelligence is bigger than a couple books. EI is the future of mainstream culture, the evolved inTRA- and inTERpersonal practices and exercises required for any “kinder, gentler” tomorrow. EI is the healthy middle ground missing from male-dominated competition-culture, since the Enlightenment.
Q: What was The Enlightenment?
A: …the “long 18th century” (1685-1815), part of a movement referred to by its participants as the Age of Reason, or simply the Enlightenment. Enlightenment thinkers in Britain, France and throughout Europe, questioned traditional authority and embraced how humanity could be improved through rational Thinking… ~ History Channel online
Q: Who is demonstrating and teaching Emotional Intelligence now?
A: Principally women, androgynous men, and anyone believing inter-personal and intra-personal conflict is no longer absolutely necessary–and in many cases–no longer an option. The BluePrint of WE meme is a big part of this too: https://www.collaborativeawareness.com/
Q: If EI can be so clearly defined by you, why isn’t this more widely known?
A: Mainstream corporate-consumer-capitalism since 1685 has been competition oriented: win~lose. If competition is all you know, all you are good at, NON-competition and win-win look like losing, to immature males especially.
Let’s recall, the Human Potential Movement, modern humanism, is only about 40 years old. Only a significant fraction of people, in a few Western countries, “got the memo” the first time around. This “good news” is still unknown news to the majority of people.
Q: If EI can be so clearly defined, where are the textbooks? Why isn’t this taught in junior high, high school and college?
A: Maybe you, like me, are waiting for our mainstream culture to turn a corner and take an interest in a more whole-brain (right AND left brain equally, male AND female equally) culture.
It will take a while to re-take the public schools back from corporate textbook publishers, testing corporations and state legislators using children’s testing scores to get re-elected.
The bottleneck is not philosophical, not missing textbooks. The bottleneck is arranging what we know about Emotional Intelligence into fun, live, social, interactive, games and exercises people can ENJOY DOING, FACE TO FACE. Games Trainers Play (et al), Cooperative-collaborative learning literature, and the three books of Best Practices in Group Process are the start of this literature.
Q: Can’t we learn Emotional Intelligence the same way grad students learn counseling and psychology?
A: Nope. Why? Because two or more generations of younger people have already passed OUT (beyond) the age where book-learning was the primary path to knowledge. Fewer and fewer young people now are interested in linear-sequential book-learning.
What do they want and expect? Younger generations TO LEARN THRU DIRECT EXPERIENCE. They want fun, live, social, interactive, games and exercises, ENJOYABLE FACE-TO-FACE. EI, evolved into live, interactive exercises, is the big key to re-inventing healthy face-to-face civic culture.
Q: Wait, Daniel promotes four branches as comprising EI:
– ability to accurately perceive emotions in oneself and others,
– ability to use emotions to facilitate [and complement] thinking,
– ability to understand emotions, emotional language, and [unspoken] signals conveyed by emotions,
– ability to manage emotions so as to attain specific goals.
A: Viewing Daniel’s EI books and underlying research, from counseling-therapy, what comes to light is its academic roots. In conventional old-school academics, the “observer role” is primary: we ‘look at’ emotions, we ‘observe emotions.’ We are not yet asking ourselves, nor readers, to enter into, enjoy, and begin the work of maturing-up our multiple emotional intelligences.
An academic view of emotions is primarily left-brain-only. Counseling-therapy views of emotions are more whole-brained views of emotions, Thinking~Feeling working together, as teammates.
In counseling-therapy we say individuals pursuing interests in EI, at some point, give up the observer role and begin accepting, participating, managing and transforming emotional habits. If they persevere, at some point, individuals sign up for hands-on experiences and exercises to expand awareness of emotional intelligences in themselves and in partners, as a method of self-connection and deeper connecting with others.
A normal-natural gap exists between academic approaches to EI and hands-on approaches. The more willingness to heal an individual has, the more desire exists for practical methods and clear therapeutic direction.
Q: What touchstone methods are currently available?
A: Several high-quality touchstones available. Here are the top three in my experience. So far, they remain little known outside of small circles of enthusiasts:
– Compassionate (non-violent) Communication – http://www.cnvc.org/cert-directory-home-country-only
Compassionate Communication is still primarily known by its old initials, “NVC.” “CNVC” might be an improvement.
NVC is far and away the primary post-modern source of practical, hands-on, exercises and methods of Emotional Intelligence. Serviceable theory and method for EI has been worked out in since 2004. As suggested above, NVC is rarely learned from books, even good books on the subject.
Q: What about Thomas Gordon and Active Listening?
A: Marshall Rosenberg (NVC) and Thomas Gordon (PET, TET) were both originally active and knew each other somewhat in the suburban Pasadena-Rosemead area, north and east of Los Angeles, where William Glasser, Touch for Health and Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness are were “born.” NVC is the more evolved, more accessible version of Active Listening.
Q: What about Solution-Focussed Brief Therapy?
A: Also wonderful. Danial Goleman’s original impulse is to bridge EI to and for lay persons, the wider public. SFBT and other talk-therapy methods are designed for professional therapy, involve too high a skill level, to be transposed down to high school and junior high where EI education naturally needs to start.
Complicating matters for NVC, a 2016-2017 re-organization effort so far has produced more smoke than significant increase in organizational capacity. If NVC can get its group-process and physical routines together, it has great potential to fill the gap where practical, effective, popular Emotional Intelligence training is wanted.
I recommend a live in-person intro over any book currently available. In the meantime 30-40 hours of NVC training videos, from paid workshops in the early 2000s, are free on YouTube. I suggest beginners and parents start with this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQO7h9MNCqI&t=178s Parenting with Nonviolent Communication (NVC), the best single evocation, demonstration of NVC I know of.
The next two touchstones are DESIGNED as activity bridges for wide general audiences to access EI:
– https://www.InsightSeminars.org/ Still the leader in heartfelt experiences of a life-changing nature. Teen Insight trainings are often many times more robust and dynamic than adult Insight trainings. Insight is successful in multiple languages and has trained over one million persons. The children’s trainings are still waiting for more stage-developmental insights from Waldorf education to take off and become more widely successful.
Unlike NVC, Insight intends no rigorous method and has no significant literature. It’s strength is experiential education.
– goUSM.edu – University of Santa Monica The originator and still a leader in Spiritual Psychology live and distant learning programs. USM is somewhere between Insight and NVC as to method and literature. Heartfelt experiential education is its main strength.
Comment on Daniel Goleman’s books
Q: What value do Daniel Goleman’s books, starting in 1995, have now?
A: I’m grateful for Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book and its several followups. These are perhaps essential reading for adults wishing to get outside the box of male-dominator, corporate-capitalist culture; and, begin imagining how mainstream culture could be kinder, gentler and more win-win.
Let’s remember from a holistic, personal-spiritual growth viewpoint of 1995, Daniel’s book was a journalism rear-guard action. It reported on how leading edge personal-spiritual growth activity 1965-1985 was trickling into academia.
Also, Daniel was not writing for working counselors and therapists. Anyone working in the fields of counseling, talk therapy and/or holistic Energy Medicine had already “got the memo.”
Emotional Intelligence (1995) was written for the larger majority of people who did NOT “get the memo” about Multiple Intelligences 1.0 and internal and external relationship behaviors beyond macho-macho-man and entrenched subtle forms of this in corporate-capitalist-industrial competition culture. In EI and subsequent books Daniel directs his remarks primarily to the workplace and to workplace managers.
Neither are Daniel’s EI books self-help books. For me Daniel’s EI books are an explanation of EI, an appreciation of EI, an explication of the newer, more truly human values of EI. Wisely perhaps he stops short of an in-depth exploration of the large topic of specific methods successful for increasing EI.
MAYER AND SALOVEY MODEL OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE [what Daniel based his first book on]
Tapping emotional intelligence for peak performance [PDF]
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Author, Health Intuitive, Bruce Dickson online: