Are you someone who is just a little too emotional for your good? You can’t seem to control your reactions and always find yourself in conflict with others? Have you ever met someone who always seems to be unflappable – never seems to get riled up, even in tough situations? What separates the two of you? It’s emotional intelligence. Having emotional intelligence is when you can perceive, understand, and manage emotions. Emotionally intelligent people can regulate their emotions, respond effectively to emotions in others, and create positive relationships. This blog post focusses on a Somalia proverb that says: “If you want to dismantle a hedge, remove one thorn bush at a time.” If you’re looking to improve your emotional intelligence, read on for some tips!
1. Understand your emotions
African proverbs are full of wisdom and this Somalia Proverb is no exception. By gaining insight into your emotional lives, you can learn to control your behavior and reactions to the events and people around you. When you know what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it, you can make better choices about how to respond. You can also use your emotions to guide you toward what you want in life. If you’re feeling happy, for example, it might be a good time to pursue a new opportunity. On the other hand, if you’re feeling sad or angry, it might be best to take some time for yourself and focus on self-care. In short, understanding your emotions gives you the power to shape your life in ways that are positive and fulfilling.
2. Learn how to regulate your emotions
“If you want to dismantle a hedge, remove one thorn bush at a time.” is an African saying often quoted in moments of disagreement or conflict, but it also applies to regulating your emotions. Because your emotions are intimately connected with your thoughts and behaviors, it can be difficult to manage them on your own. Instead, you need the support of others to help you stay balanced and grounded. Just as a group of people can work together to move a heavy object, so too can they help us regulate our emotions. When you are feeling overwhelmed or out of control, they can offer you a calm presence and a fresh perspective. In turn, you can offer them the same when they are in need. By working together, we can help each other navigate life’s ups and downs with greater ease and grace.
3. Take responsibility for your happiness
This African proverb can also be used in happiness. While it’s possible to be happy without help from others, it’s much easier to achieve lasting happiness when we take responsibility for our emotional wellbeing and build strong relationships with those around us.
Emotional intelligence is key to taking responsibility for your happiness. This means being aware of your emotions and the emotions of others, and being able to regulate them in yourself and your interactions with others. When you have high emotional intelligence, you’re better able to manage your moods and set boundaries with others to maintain healthy relationships. You’re also better equipped to deal with the inevitable challenges that life throws your way.
So if you want to be happy, make sure you’re taking responsibility for your emotional wellbeing. Cultivate emotional intelligence in yourself and your relationships, and you’ll be on your way to a happier life.
4. Practice self-compassion
The importance of self-compassion is well illustrated in this African proverb. Too often, we are our own worst critics, berating ourselves for our mistakes and shortcomings. This can lead to feelings of shame, inadequacy, and low self-esteem. However, research has shown that people who practice self-compassion are more resilient, have greater emotional intelligence, and are more successful overall. So next time you make a mistake, instead of beating yourself up, try showing yourself some compassion. It just might make all the difference.
5. Be assertive, not aggressive, in your communication
This wise saying encapsulates the importance of effective communication. When we can express ourselves clearly and assertively, we can forge strong relationships and achieve common goals. On the other hand, aggressive communication usually leads to conflict and ultimately destroys relationships.
So, does it mean there is a difference between assertive and aggressive communication? Yes. Assertiveness is about expressing yourself in a way that is clear, direct, and respectful. It is about setting boundaries and being honest about your needs and wants. Aggressive communication, on the other hand, is about trying to control or dominate others. It often involves yelling, threatening, or bullying.
One key ingredient of assertive communication is emotional intelligence. This means being able to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as reading the emotions of others. When you can do this, you are better equipped to handle difficult conversations calmly and constructively. You are also more likely to find win-win solutions that satisfy everyone involved.
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to slip into bad habits when it comes to communication. But if you take the time to be more intentional about how you express yourself, you can build better relationships, achieve your goals, and go far together.
6. Embrace change and uncertainty
Change is inevitable. It’s a constant in your life, whether you like it or not. And yet, so many of us resist change, even when it’s happening right in front of us. Why is that?
One theory is that we’re wired for self-preservation. Change brings with it a certain degree of uncertainty, and your brain is wired to protect you from potential threats. That fight-or-flight response can kick in even when the change isn’t necessarily harmful.
But here’s the thing: change also brings opportunity. Embracing change and uncertainty can open us up to new experiences and new ways of thinking. It can help you grow both mentally and emotionally. So the next time you’re faced with a change, try to see it as an opportunity instead of a threat. You might be surprised at what you discover.
7. Cultivate empathy
It takes effort and intentionality to cultivate empathy, but the benefits are well worth it. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It’s a key component of emotional intelligence, and it’s essential for building strong relationships. When you can empathize with others, you can see the world from their perspective and connect with them on a deeper level. You can also better resolve conflicts and build trust. So how can you cultivate empathy? First, you need to be curious about others and open to hearing their stories. You also need to practice active listening and be mindful of your assumptions and biases. By making an effort to cultivate empathy, you can create a more compassionate world for yourself and others.
We hope you’ve found these tips helpful. Emotional intelligence is a powerful tool that can help you navigate your personal and professional life with more ease and success. If you’d like to learn more, we encourage you to subscribe to our blog for weekly updates on all things emotional intelligence. And don’t forget to join us at the clubhouse every Monday to Friday for AFIAPodcast. You’ll get to learn a new African proverb daily. Thanks for reading!