By Yvonne Nyatundo

I am certain that you’ve heard these two words being dropped into conversations and leaves even the most intelligent people mulling after the conversation has moved on. Emotional intelligence is something we cannot dare ignore because whether we like it or not, the consequences of our decisions shall catch up with us no matter how elusive we might want to be. Emotional intelligence basically enables you live your best life while cognizant of it and enables us make decisions that we will not look back and cringe or find ourselves remorseful.

Have you ever posed this question to yourself? Why did I do that? Yes, me too. This happens mostly when we try to decipher why we behave the way we do. Surprisingly, it is one of the three aspects of emotional intelligence in the name of knowing oneself. This aspect of emotional intelligence begs the question why? Why? Why? Do you behave the way you do because you want to or are you on autopilot? Over the next few days, observe yourself – your reactions to situations, people and your general demeanor. More often than not, we’re robotic in our actions. We have gotten used to doing things in a certain way that we don’t even realize we’re doing them which is why knowing yourself is like peeling an onion. You have to strip through each layer in order to get to the underlying reason for a particular behavior. For instance, why do you think you shut down when someone corrects you? And what follows after you’ve shut down? Why is it that you shut down? Why do you place yourself on a pedestal so high that you believe you should not afford any mistakes? When did the elevation of status happen? Isn’t human to err after all?

Secondly, as an emotionally intelligent person, you have to learn to choose yourself. How many times have you, in some situations, drawn uninformed conclusions about a situation and gone on verbal spew instinctively only to later find out that you were wrong in entirety? I know I have done this a number of times. How many relationships, business opportunities, and connections have we lost because we allowed ourselves to be emotionally hijacked? Usually, a thought should go to the rational brain then the emotional brain then you act which takes exactly 6seconds. This is where the ‘count to 10 when you’re angry’ stems from because then you’ll give your thoughts and emotions time to pass through the rational brain first and enable decisions that will not result in your own undoing. Emotional hijacking is when our thoughts go straight to the emotional brain bypassing the rational brain and creating a recipe for disaster. Therefore, next time you’re itching to tell back at your boss, send that harsh, angry message to the love of your life or hang up on your mom because you have ‘better things to do’, pause and pause again and pause again then make a rational decision because rational decisions always have our best interest at heart and reduces our chances of being irrational and self sabotaging.

Lastly, give yourself. You have to learn to live for a higher purpose and no, your higher purpose does not have to be the president of the United States or to change the world because you cannot change the world. You can only change the world you have been called into. Your world. Volunteer if you wish, mentor others, participate in a cause. Living for a noble cause gives you a purpose and grants you self fulfillment that you otherwise would not find elsewhere and yes, your higher purpose can be fickle and it can be found again.

Even the best of us mess up and in a split second make a mess of things by downplaying out emotional intelligence without realizing that we’re emotionally driven creatures and our emotions are always trying to tell us something. Instead, we spend so much time fighting out emotions and ignoring them or suppressing them and in the end it’s a lost war. A lost war on our own selves.