Getting off the Rollercoaster via Emotional Intelligence


Emotional intelligence is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. It’s the ability to get a good read on your feelings and the feelings of others. There are many ways to fine-tune your emotional intelligence or EI. Although, what I have noticed lately is people don’t seem to know how to handle conflicts and or disagreements. The distress signals flare up for those people faced with confrontation, and they want to run. I was guilty of this myself, but I learned how to deal by taking steps to dismantle my need to be right.

Awareness of Yourself and Others

Awareness comes with responsibility. If you know something and you don’t do anything to improve upon your experience or those of others, then you might be careless. Remember what we said about people responding with an I’m doing FINE to the question, “How are you today?” If it is said with an attitude then fine is far from the truth. We can tune in to others and help the situation go smoother if we are aware of what’s really going on around us. EI involves taking action based on your conclusions or tactfully removing yourself.

Sometimes we can have this keen awareness of our thoughts (as with anger or fear) that produce emotions or vice versa, but there are other times it’s as if we are literally sitting beside ourselves and detached from our feelings. We are then in a state of indifference or apathy. To develop a better awareness of others, it is essential to have a sense of what’s going on within yourself first. You may want to serve others who need your help personally and professionally, but if you don’t know how to connect with yourself, how can you connect with them? This requires practice, and who better to start with than yourself? It’s good to ask questions and get curious. You can ask why am I feeling this way? Or what is going on inside me right now? And then the awareness you have will help you express your needs, feelings, and wants.

Control Under Pressure

For me, control can be a synonym for stress; if I try to manage and control things, I’m usually trying to get my way. However, our aim here is self-control rather than trying to control others. That’s what we have the most control over anyways – ourselves. Controlling your emotions in response to a stressful provocation is imperative in interpersonal relationships. If there comes a time where you’re out of control with your feelings, the situation is then about your adverse reaction and you lose the point or your objective in having the conversation in the first place. I liken this to a rollercoaster. The rollercoaster is anything that causes tension or heightens your fight or flight response. The rollercoaster will come for you at some point and in some way. You can choose to get on the ride or not. If you decide to get on, then you’re more or less deciding to put on the verbal fighting gloves. You can also choose to disengage in a confrontational scenario and say something that diffuses the situation with kindness. When you are caring rather than hostile, you are then taking control over the raging waves that may be within you. Now that is self-control. Let them have the rollercoaster and choose not to ride the crazy cyclone.

Empathy and Intuition is the Way Out

It’s easier to be empathetic to someone that is downtrodden and having a hard time rather than someone who is irritated or even furious. Usually in these kinds of situations I can take it personal, but it’s really not. It is a function of what’s going on their mind, and it’s really fear masked as anger. However, applying empathy to a difficult situation will most likely diffuse it. It is usually a situation where you can be sad for them but not in a pitying kind of way. Living in the present moment or “the now” and being in a state of watching your thoughts can get you out of tough struggles. Letting go of your ego and the need to be right or the need for someone else to understand you is the key out of sticky situations. Use your intuition here. Intuition is trusting your heart, mind, and gut instincts. The way out of some trying scenarios is to be understanding rather than to be understood. This is not easy, and it requires that you detach from thinking you are the sum of your thoughts. Let your mind run away if it wants to, vent to an understanding friend, but get off the rollercoaster. People who are hurting tend to hurt people. You will not win the battle with someone’s ego if they’re stuck in the need to be right.

Interpersonal relationships can be hard, but navigating them doesn’t have to be when you have the right tools in your toolbox. I always say it doesn’t need to be a confrontation, but rather a conversation instead. Whether in a professional or personal capacity, we can help you make molehills out of what seems to be mountains.

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Boyd Falconer

Boyd Falconer

People have described Boyd Falconer as a secret weapon for navigating success. He specializes in coaching executives, entrepreneurs, athletes and celebrities.

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