Cultivating Emotionally Intelligent Relationships

Emotional intelligence (or EQ) is perhaps not the first thing we think of, when reflecting on what we need in our intimate relationship. But emotional intelligence has been found to be the most powerful predictor of success and happiness in life. In fact, people who score highly on EQ advance further in their careers, as well as enjoying more connected and meaningful relationships. So what are the skills that make up EQ? They include - awareness of your own emotions and the emotions of others; adopting an attitude that emotions are important and necessary (some of us struggle with this - for example, we may believe it's OK to be sad, but not angry or anxious); knowing how to manage our emotions; how to express our emotions in a way that is respectful of others and fits with social expectations; and perhaps most importantly - how to respond to the emotions of our loved ones. These are skills that many of us may not have learned early in life, especially if our parents were not able to teach us (after all, parents can only teach what they already know themselves). The good news is - it's never too late to learn! Some of these skills need to be learned in sequence. For example, if I am not aware that I am feeling angry it will be hard for me to know when someone else is feeling that way. If I'm not skilled at letting others know that I am angry in a safe, respectful and non-blaming way, then it's unlikely that I will be able to deal with my partner's expressions of anger. If I struggle to accept certain feelings, then it's probably the case that I won't accept any expression of those feelings in others or myself. Counselling can be a place where the essential skills of emotional intelligence can be learned and practised, in a way that will enhance your relationships - with yourself as well as with your loved ones. This could be the most important investment you could make in your future and your happiness, and your partner and kids will thank you for it!

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