Fresh Insights into Emotional Intelligence
Psychology Today defines emotional intelligence as “the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.”
Since Daniel Goleman popularized the term emotional intelligence in the 1990s, so much of the literature has treated emotions as a troublesome appendage to the human experience. Or as a human capacity that deserves to be dominated—managed.
And so, a lot has been written on how you can be more successful in life if you gain greater emotional intelligence. You will have more sales, better management of people, and better social skills. And it is true; success is a benefit of emotional intelligence. But emotional intelligence is so much more.
What we really need is an enlightened understanding of our emotions. Because the reality is we experience all of life through an emotional lens. Just like we see the road in front of us through the windshield as we drive our car, we see the world through our emotional state.
So understanding that, a person’s emotional state is crucial. But I don’t remember being exposed to any enlightened understanding of emotions in school. Do you? Or anyplace else. Not in Sunday School, from my parents, or from any of the books I read.
It’s a little like where sex education was 50 years ago. No one wants to talk about it. At least not in any depth. Perhaps because there are feelings of shame associated with it.
And who has an in-depth understanding of emotional intelligence to share? So most people are left to cobble together whatever knowledge they can from unlikely sources—television dramas, romance novels, and other bits of wisdom and misinformation floating around the mass culture. And from their own life experience.
Here is what I know. We don’t manage our emotions. They are not a misbehaving child that deserves to be punished. Our feelings are there to be enjoyed. And they bring the greatest pleasure and fulfillment when we understand and embrace them instead of shunning them. They play a vital part of a happy life.
As it’s said, the map isn’t the territory. That’s true when it comes to any philosophy of human emotion. But still, we need a map! Just like exploring any wilderness, a map can be a guide to what is really there on the ground. And sometimes, a guide who has been there before can help.
Ten years ago, seeing the great need for an accurate map of the human emotional experience, I began to write a book to create that map. I got fifty pages into the draft and had to stop. I was presenting emotional intelligence as if it was a purely academic study. BUT IT ISN’T! By its very nature, it is a matter of the heart. And while there is definitely an intellectual component to it, if it is not understood intuitively, we’re lost.
Putting my first draft aside, I remembered, I’m a poet! And I’ve had life experience that has taught me the reality that I was seeking to communicate.
So I began again. But this time with the clear intent to write a book of prose and poetry that contained not only the clear intellectual map I had initially sought to convey but also the felt experience of emotional intelligence.
I knew from the beginning that the ideas I was working with applied to every field of human experience. They apply to our professional life, family, relationships, and health. They even apply to the really big things, like our collective future. Just look at the world scene. Any lack of emotional intelligence behind the global issues we face?
In fact, at one point, I used the working title, 12 Strategies for Success in Absolutely Everything. But I dropped that because I thought it could limit people’s impression of what the book was about. Besides, my book wasn’t so much about “everything.” It was about the intuitive and intellectual understanding that could be applied to “everything.”
I believe that the most central element of our human experience is our spiritual state. So how could I leave that out? I’m not speaking so much about our religion or lack thereof. I’m talking about the reality of what is happening for our human spirit. Emotional intelligence is a window to that experience. So it is not only relevant to the world around us. It is relevant to what is inside—to our human potential and to our connection to all of nature and the universe beyond. It is relevant in the process of tapping into the source of our own wisdom and love. So I chose to address this, too, in my book, along with everything else.
The result is that I published my book in March 2019 with the title, Becoming a Sun: Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence for a Happy, Fulfilling Life. It offers fresh insights into emotional intelligence and a map that helps people answer the question: What am I feeling—and why? And ideas about how to move creatively through the emotional territory of their life.
Writing the book was an amazing process. But you know what has made me happiest about the experience? People like the book! They read it and enjoy it. And they are enriched by it. They gain insights into the depth of their emotional experience. And knowing more about what makes themselves tick, they understand others in a way they hadn’t before.
I wrote the book in mini-chapters of about three pages, so it lends itself to daily reading.
If this field fascinates you as it does me—if you are wondering about what you are feeling and why—I invite you to sign up here for my Becoming a Sun blog on my website, davidkarchere.com. It’s free. And each week, I post a quote from my book with some of my short, current reflections on the subject it raises.
And of course, you can buy my book. It’s available here in the United States on Amazon.com and on Amazon in many countries worldwide. It sets forth a comprehensive, holistic understanding of human emotion.
Write to me here if you want to share your insights into emotional intelligence. I’d enjoy hearing from you.