Can Emotional Intelligence make you a Leader? – Part 2
Posted on: August 16, 2019.

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“We must be guardians of a space that allows students to breathe and be curious and explore the world, and be who they are, without suffocation. They deserve one place where they can rumble with vulnerability and their hearts can exhale.

And what I know from the research is that we must never underestimate the benefits to a child of having a place to belong – even one – where they can take off their armour. It can, and often, change the directory of their life”.

Welcoming Joy – Brown warns us of the damages of ‘foreboding joy’ or joy that we dismiss on order to protect ourselves, in case the tide suddenly turns. When something great happens in our lives, we tend to say, “Don’t get too happy. That’s inviting disaster.”

Joy is the most vulnerable emotion that we feel, she says. She urges us to welcome joy whenever we feel it. Doing so allows us to truly enjoy life, but also ironically, offers us more protection than closing up and wearing armour does.

To celebrate joy, Brown recommends allowing oneself the pleasure of accomplishment, love, and joy by “conjuring up gratitude for the moment and the opportunity.” She says, “Equally important – share your joy with others. Some of us may allow ourselves to feel it inside, but not allow ourselves to share it with others. Some other may share with others but not really feel it inside. We need to practice doing both.”

People love feeling real joy with others, as long as it doesn’t come with an agenda tied to a social status. It should be genuine. Let’s empathize not sympathize. Practicing empathy does not mean comforting someone. It means being able to ‘stand in discomfort’ with someone. “Empathy is at the heart of connection”, says Brown.

For practising empathy for someone you don’t know well: “Engage. Stay curious. Stay connected. Let go of the fear of saying the wrong thing, the need to fix it, and the desire to offer the perfect response that cures everything. You don’t have to do it perfectly. Just do it.”

Setting boundaries – the ability to set boundaries for yourself and for others is absolutely essential to E.I. An insight the book offers is that boundaries lead to more, not less, compassion. Brown herself discloses that learning to set boundaries has made her, “less sweet but more loving”. When we are clear about what is okay and what is not, we stop resenting others for not reading our minds and stop resenting ourselves for not communicating sooner.

Brown says, “You can’t have vulnerability without boundaries. Vulnerability without boundaries is not vulnerability. It might be fear or anxiety. We have to think about why we’re sharing and with whom. What are their roles? What is my role? Is this sharing productive and appropriate?”

According to Brown’s research, participants named vulnerability, resentment, and anxiety as the biggest drivers of numbing, and resentment is always related to a lack of boundaries. When we know our boundaries and make it clear to others, we can be fully present and compassionate.

And that is the crux of being emotionally intelligent.

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