Several years ago at a marriage retreat my wife and I participated in a core motive-based self-assessment. We also attended the seminar series explaining those results. I couldn’t have imagined what I learned not only about myself, but also about every other person on the planet – especially my wife and kids. That knowledge opened the door to my own self awareness. It was like I was standing outside my body and observing my behaviors. I realized that not everyone thought about things the same way that I did. Everyone didn’t see things just like I saw things. I encountered a perspective that I never experienced before. I was able to see myself as God and others saw me. I was able to gain some understanding why people acted and reacted in the way they did. I was gaining emotional intelligence in the area of “Social Awareness” which is also the natural progression after becoming self-aware. In the last post, Increasing Emotional Intelligence Through Self Awareness, we talked about the 1st component being “Self Awareness”, and now we continue in this post with the 2nd component called “Social Awareness”.
2nd Component of EQ – “Social Awareness”
Despite recent popular culture, it’s really not all about ourselves. Life is about relationships and bringing God glory in all that we do. In order to actually form a relationship, you will need someone other than yourself to participate. Since we can’t form relationships all by ourselves, we better get some EQ in the area of being “socially aware”. If we want to have the best relationships possible with other people, we must invest the time and effort to gain emotional intelligence in this area. We must pursue the skills of becoming aware of other people’s responses to their own thoughts and feelings.
Focus and Observation Leads to Understanding Others
If we are too busy looking at ourselves through our own selfish perspective all the time, then how can we possibly observe what is going on with others? We also have to put down that cell phone, or that tablet and actually see with our own eyes what is going on with the people around us. We must also put our focus on Christ and let Him lead us towards others. When we seek the Kingdom first, God will provide all the necessary tools and skills that we need to accomplish the task at hand. Once we are focused on what is important, it creates the environment where we can begin to observe and understand others.
Empathy Leads to Connection With Others
Empathy is the capacity of an individual to understand or feel what another person is experiencing. Possessing the skill of being empathetic of others is evidence that there is existence of some level of emotional intelligence in someone. When you begin to feel or experience what someone else is feeling or experiencing, you are creating an environment where a common connection can be established.
Romans 12:15 (NIV) Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Compassion Leads to Love of Others
Compassion is the response to the suffering of others and possessing a desire to help. Empathy is great, but without compassion it goes unnoticed. You can be empathetic without breathing a word, but to be compassionate you must take action and respond by comforting others. This comforting of others will build on that initial connection and pave the way for love to grow.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Why is all this important? Because God created us to give Him glory and to be in relationship with Him and others. By learning and practicing the skills of self and social awareness, we are able to better communicate and understand one another. We are also able to have better relationships with the ones we love, especially in our marriage. When we love each other in good relationship, God gets the glory. Stay tuned for future posts when we discuss the third component of EQ, God awareness.