This is a question worth centering a year around.
As I consider this idea, I feel compelled to commit to paying forward emotional intelligence because everywhere I look, whether it is in the interactions with my family over the holidays or the communications between the leaders of our government, I see a deep need for each of us to take a higher level of responsibility to be aware of how emotions play into the dynamics of each moment.
As you welcome the New Year, be aware that in the cosmos, there is a particularly potent confluence between feeling/emotional energy and the practical application of personal effort. The timing is ripe as we begin the new year to bring a higher level of awareness and skillfulness to our everyday interactions.
Every situation we are in is an opportunity to pay forward an act of presence and emotional intelligence that can make a substantive difference in our personal and professional lives.
When we do our own work to process feelings as they arise and ask what our emotional responses can tell us about what we and others might be needing, we pay forward a level of skillfulness that can shift the dynamics in our relationships and our world.
Balancing our personal desires and our emotional needs with the welfare of others requires reflection and discernment that we can learn to apply moment by moment.
Take some time in the next week to:
Simply pay attention to your emotional response in any given situation.
In the case of a more negative emotional response, this may be indicated by a desire to react strongly, defend, deflect, or blame. In the case of positive feelings, you may feel moved to compliment, praise, connect, reward. In either case, before responding take a breath, take note and simply name the feeling.
See if you can identify a need that may be behind the feeling, indicating a need that is currently unmet or a need that has been met.
If you can identify a need, state to yourself or share with someone near you. I am feeling _________ because I need________.
Likewise, observe feelings as they arise in others without judgement. Simply try to understand what the person is feeling and the need the feeling reflects.
If you feel comfortable, express empathy by simply taking a guess. Are you feeling _________ because you need __________ ?
This is a simple practice of emotional intelligence that you can use to soften potential frustrations and support sincere connection. Play with it as a way of starting the new year on a deeper level of commitment to paying forward a way of engaging that supports greater awareness and more mindful responses to life.