Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Emotional Intelligence

Let me just start off by clearly stating the fact that I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist or anything remotely like that. I don’t pretend to know anything about the human mind or any mind…mine or anyone else’s. I am just a regular gal that likes to think about things… and one thing that has popped into my head recently is the topic of emotional intelligence.

Psychology Today, a magazine published every two months in the United States, founded in 1967 by Nicolas Charney, Ph.D with the intent to make psychology literature more accessible to the general public, defines emotional intelligence as:

the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.


I guess the basic elements of emotional intelligence could be bullet pointed as follows:

1. Self-Awareness

2. Social-Awareness

3. Self-Management

4. Relationship-Management

I might be swimming in murky waters here, but when people in my professional circles and other non-Christian environments speak to me about Emotional Intelligence or the value of Emotional IQ… I can’t help but thinking that all those highfalutin concepts of which secular thinkers are so proud… are non-other than ideas long-held by Christians throughout the ages.

I mean, really, have any of the psychiatrist and/or psychologist that came up with the idea of Emotional Intelligence ever heard of say… The Fruits of the Spirit?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5: 22-23

If this is not referring to self-awareness and/or self-management, I don’t know what does.

How about the “Golden Rule”?

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7: 12

The way I see it, this is the best relationship-management tool ever invented.

The myriad of verses on empathy and solidarity with one another shout social-awareness and our divine call to mind the needs of others:

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12: 15

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4: 29

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 1 Corinthians 12: 26

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4: 32

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6: 2

And of course, the greatest commandment sums it all:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12: 30-31

This very small sample of basic Christian teachings has been speaking to believers in terms of Emotional Intelligence for as long as the Bible has been around…which is WAY longer than the day modern psychiatrists might have coined the expression. And these are only examples from the New Testament. The Old Testament is filled with the same teachings… if in doubt, look at the Proverbs and the 10 Commandments!

I don’t purport to be a leading thinker on the subject. I just wonder if secular minds might have, perhaps missed the fact that the lack of what they term Emotional Intelligence might be, indeed, a lack of the presence of God in the lives of those experiencing such a situation?


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