Adding a Splash of Emotional Intelligence to the Holidays

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I love the holiday season! I enjoy the festivities, lights, music, and gatherings. And I also know that it’s famous for interesting family/friend dynamics. We might be feeling a little more stressed, with more to do so our patience might be low. Or we might have expectations for how we think things should happen while others have very different ideas.

The good news is whether it’s the holidays or any time of year, a splash of emotional intelligence (EQ) in your holiday cheer can make a huge difference.

In a nutshell, EQ has four main areas as shown in the image.

  1. Self-awareness – being aware of our own thoughts, feelings, reactions (Pause, Notice)
  2. Self-management – intentionally choosing our words and actions in the presence of these thoughts and feelings (Choose)
  3. Social (or other) awareness – being aware that other people have thoughts, feelings, reactions
  4. Relationship management – intentionally choosing our response to their words and actions

Let’s pick a common holiday theme to explore these more.  Maybe you have a traditional family meal that you always look forward to, but this year the family is asking for something different. How can they ruin the celebration by NOT following the treasured tradition? You’re disappointed and frustrated.

Self-awareness is all about noticing how the situation makes you feel. When you can “name it to tame it,” you are also moving into the next step, self-management. Are you going to let your thoughts and feelings ruin your holiday? Are you going to get stuck in the disappointment? Can you find a new perspective to help you shift your thoughts? Maybe it would be fun to try something new. Maybe you could mix it up and have both types of food at your gathering.

Social awareness is reminding ourselves that other people have feelings and thoughts, too. We can get curious instead of judging. We can ask them why they want the change and how they’re feeling about it. We can stay calm and not react to their impatience or frustration. We can say, “How interesting. Tell me more.”

Now the magic happens! If we’ve successfully made our way through the first 3 steps, we now have more capacity to choose a response that benefits everyone. We now better understand their perspective. And we can remind ourselves that we are all imperfect humans making our way through the curvy path of life.

I’ve been practicing a mantra when I get triggered.  I give love. I receive love. I am love. What would my most loving self do? This is about loving ourselves as well as others.

See if you can find any situations that would benefit from a splash of EQ this holiday season. I guarantee it can make things more merry and bright!

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