According to Psychology Today, “Emotional intelligence is 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.”
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is something that can take time to learn, just like any type of intelligence. Emotional intelligence is learned through experience and self-discipline. Generally, people who are self-aware have a higher emotional intelligence than people who have a lack of self-awareness. Healing and emotional intelligence are directly related. In my experience, healing from the choice for adoption means developing emotional intelligence, and increasing your array of self-help tools.
Healing from any trauma or painful experience takes time. Along with time, it takes self-discipline, a desire to heal, and the action required to move forward on the path of healing. With every step toward healing you take, you are one step further in your walk for emotional intelligence.
Why is Emotional Intelligence Important?
Emotional intelligence is important for multiple reasons. Emotional intelligence allows an individual to process through their emotions, whether they feel good or bad. It also guides us in how to speak to others and how we treat others. It assists in the decision-making process. Most importantly, emotional intelligence reflects how we look at ourselves. People who have confidence and stand up for themselves likely have a higher emotional intelligence than those who are insecure and don’t set personal boundaries with others.
Emotional Intelligence and Adoption
So, what does emotional intelligence have to do with choosing adoption? Choosing adoption not only requires a level of maturity, but handling the emotions that come with the choice in the short-term and the long-term requires a level of self-awareness. A birth mother will process the grief of losing her role as a custodial mother, the physical absence of her child, and perhaps the loss of other relationships in her life as the result of the decision for adoption. These situations have emotional components to them. The higher your level of emotional intelligence is, the easier it will be for you to process those emotions and walk a path of healing.
How to Measure Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence can be measured with every choice that you make in your life. These are a few questions that someone who is self-aware might ask themselves when assessing emotional intelligence:
- Did you accurately assess the situation?
- Did you make a mature decision?
- If you could do it over again, would you do it the same?
- How well do you relate to others?
- What steps do you take when dealing with emotional issues?
Increasing emotional intelligence is something that occurs over time and with experience. A person who has lived an easy life and isn’t very in touch with themselves or the world around them may struggle when it comes to emotional intelligence. However, someone who has lived a harder life and come out the other side walking a path of healing might have a higher level of emotional intelligence. There are resources available to assist in increasing emotional intelligence. Some of these resources include utilizing a support group in a healthy way, going to therapy, and studying a bit on what emotional intelligence is.
Emotional intelligence is crucial in many aspects of life, including healing after adoption. Without emotional intelligence, the struggle to heal will feel more overwhelming. However, every step you take counts, and the first step is the most important. Walk your path of healing, and watch your emotional intelligence increase as you do.
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.