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Listen Deeply: Emotional Intelligence When It Matters

Why Our Country Is In Need Of High Emotional Intelligence

Like millions of others, I awoke this morning in disbelief. I’ll preface this article by saying, for the record, Rewire, Inc. takes no official position about political outcomes. That is, we neither cheer or boo for any individual winner or loser. Instead, we will observe and do our best to listen and understand.

As I lay in bed this morning, groggy with few hours of sleep (not ideal for a company that promotes rest like we do), I came to the conclusion that I needed to get up and take action. In my case, that means make some tea and write this article.

My first order of business was to take an honest inventory of my emotions. How did I feel about the outcome and about repeating the words “President Trump?” You see, having a deep understanding of how we feel and why is the beginning of high emotional intelligence. Seems to me that our country is desperate need for some high emotional intelligence.

If you need a distraction this morning from emotional reeling, you may want to tiptoe through Google and find a definition of emotional intelligence that you can sit with for a while. If that doesn’t appeal to you, I will take a stab at defining it here. Emotional intelligence is when one can identify and connect with how they feel in a given moment, and then be able to internally manage those emotions so that they can act in a way that is congruent with their core convictions.

Inevitably, this morning there are people all over the world (not just in our country) who are elated, excited and hope-filled as a result of the outcome. Conversely, there are countless people who are disappointed, angry or flat-out afraid. There could be some ambivalence, but I suspect that is not the norm.

Regardless of your particular response to the outcome, our hope is that you will practice high emotional intelligence. If you’re wondering how to do that, start by simply listening. Perhaps by listening to yourself deeply. There really is no such thing as a wrong emotion. If you are sad or scared, joyous or celebratory, the right thing to do is still to listen. And since there is no such thing as a wrong emotion, listen to yourself without judgment. This is the crucial practice that will ultimately create in you a capacity to listen to others. If we do this — if enough of us do this — we will be acting like the country that we all hope we could be.

If you are embittered by last night’s results, that is a normal human reaction. If you take that embitterment and act out by being bitter with others, then you are missing an opportunity to listen and understand. Conversely, if you are feeling some joy of victory, that, too, is a normal human emotion. If you take that and spend time gloating and rubbing it in someone’s face, then you will also be missing an opportunity to listen and understand.

Political pundits cannot unite this country. But we as a people can choose to listen and understand in a way that is productive and loving. Don’t forget that you DO NOT have to agree to understand. You do not have to deny or in any other way suppress any feeling in order to practice listening.

We are not each others’ enemy. May we quickly practice this method of high emotional intelligence. It should absolutely be what defines us as a people.

That is my hope.

For the record, I would have written this very thing had the other person won. We need peace. We need understanding. We need to listen deeply. We need emotional intelligence and Rewiring like never before.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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