I recently answered a question: How do I become a high emotional intelligence (EQ) person?
Why do you care? Quitting pornography and rebuilding trust required me to reconnect with Lori emotionally. I had to empathize and feel all of the emotions my behavior caused. My lack of emotional intelligence made this process more difficult.
The photo above is a good example: I thought things were going well, only to find out she was angry with me. I couldn't effectively tell where she was emotionally, so I missed a lot of opportunities to really connect with her.
So, I put these steps together for you to benefit from my mistakes. If you follow them, you can build your emotional intelligence, as well.
- Understand your own emotions more fully - if you can’t distinguish your own frustration from disappointment, it will be difficult to recognize in someone else.
- Try to connect the emotion you are feeling with a facial expression - if you can’t imagine what someone looks like when the feel lost or sad, you won’t be able to make an educated guess about what they are feeling either.
- When you attempt to connect with someone start with the emotion you think they are feeling - Wow, you look happy today. What’s going on you sound so sad? This is practice so you may miss it, but it is a starting point for the connection.
- Connecting with the emotion doesn’t mean you agree with it - If someone else is excited about something, you don’t have to agree in order to connect.
- Empathize with them. Sympathy implies pity or relief that you don’t feel they way the other person does. Empathy means you understand their emotions and why they feel the way they do, without judgment.
- Keep practicing. Human emotions are complex, trying to connect with another person is challenging, especially as we get older.
- It is a risk of self-image to “fail” at the connection, give yourself some grace to make mistakes.
If you want more information on developing your emotional intelligence, join me on the Monthly Meeting for Men where we explore this and other important topics for saving your relationship.