Hi! Happy to see you here again. This is part 4 of 7 in our blog mini-series on emotional intelligence. The second realm of the EQi 2.0 model is Self-Expression.
As the title suggests, this realm is about emotional self-expression and is made up of three sub-areas: Emotional Expression, Independence and Assertiveness. Emotional expression involves one’s ability to express emotions both verbally and non-verbally in an open and congruent way. Independence is about being self-directed and self-controlled in your thinking and actions and to be free of emotional dependency. * Assertiveness has to do with the ability to express feelings and beliefs in an assertive way without being aggressive or abusive. Assertive people are not either passive, withholding their feelings and beliefs. All of these abilities can be done while taking into account the feelings and reactions of others.
Why is it interesting to be aware of our own emotional self-expression? Isn’t EQ about empathy for others? We send out messages, either consciously or unconsciously, to others is many ways. Being aware of and congruent with our own messages is one aspect of emotional intelligence. I’m sure you can think of a time when you were affected by someone else’s emotions. I definitely can, most poignantly at home with my children. They are mirror of my own emotions, especially when they were small. Adults may not show how they are affected by your emotions, especially in cultures that are trained not to show emotions, but make no mistake, recipients of our emotional messages are affected. Being more effective, especially as a leader, and developing deep relationships with other people, is so much easier when we are consistent and congruent with our own emotional messages.
You may or may not feel that you have an emotional vocabulary. Maybe you use the word ‘happy’ or ‘irritated’ to actually mean many different emotions. This can be especially challenging if you are speaking in a foreign language, even when you are fluent. One good way to increase your emotional vocabulary is to review and try to use the Plutchik wheel of emotions.
Try also the attached exercise in practicing resistance!
Have fun with it! I’m sure you can think of places in your life you can be better at expressing your own emotions in an assertive way.