Emotional Intelligence for Couples: Part 1 Self-Perception

In my life as a leadership coach I get to support people in growing their emotional intelligence (EQi). This work is usually in the context of work but, of course, this work also makes us better partners in our personal lives. 

Some of my Luv Life Coaching blog posts have touched on emotional intelligence but I thought that a little mini-series might be in order. 

There are a couple different models in the world of emotional intelligence assessing and growth. The one I am trained in and familiar with the tool from Multi-Health. 

Here is a link to a great visual on this specific model: EQ360

As you can see there are 5 main categories in this model. Today, let’s focus on the first and how our level of emotional intelligence here can impact our relationships. 

The first area is “Self-Perception”. In this model each main area of emotional intelligence is made up of 3 sub-scales. What we are talking about here for self-perception is: 

a) having a good grasp on knowing and coming to terms with my strengths, my limits and feeling self-confident; 

b) really seeking to grow, learn and be my best self, setting meaningful goals and going after them; and 

c) being aware of my own emotions, what is behind them and how they are affecting my actions and my thoughts. 

That’s a lot. 

Now let’s play with this thinking about a life partnership. We will do each of these in turn. 

a) How I feel about me.

i. If I feel grounded - I’m aware of my strengths and comfortable with them, I’m conscious of where I struggle or want to grow and accept myself as imperfect but in progress, and live with a pretty good sense of liking myself - this will have implications for my relationship. I will still enjoy and benefit from feedback, encouragement, affirmation, etc. from my partner but I don’t need it to feel good about me. My well-being is more independent and I have likely learned about offering some kindness and support to myself. 

ii. What about the opposite? If I feel uncertain about my value, judge myself for shortcomings and don’t have good self-compassion habits and practices, then I am more vulnerable to the treatment I receive from others. Think of it like having your center of gravity outside of yourself instead of at your own core. 

iii. If I don’t feel really good about myself then I may adopt unhealthy patterns of trying to feel better about myself. This can include passive-aggressive patterns and other ways of making others look bad so I can look better to myself or others. In my other coaching blog,  I just recently wrote more on this if that peaks your interest. (http://capacitybc.com/being-your-own-best-support

b) My drive for growth. 

i. When I have a clear idea of how I want to grow, what I want to learn, who I want to become and take meaningful steps towards being ‘my best’ then I will have a lot of meaningful satisfaction. Again, this allows me to be fulfilled apart from my partner having to provide meaning for me. 

ii. The opposite? If my partner is living very engaged with their growth and fulfillment I could feel resentful, abandoned, less than. Growth and fulfillment look different for each of us and the level of stimulation and new learning is also different for each of us. Here is a great example of where our best way of showing up for our partner is to help them understand what really meets their needs and sharing clearly what we need. 

c) Knowing my own emotions. 

i. Once practiced at this I know what I’m feeling, how I got there and what I need to do about it. This means less of just feeling flat or grouchy and more of being about to put my finger on something and then do something about it. We are talking about mindfulness here. Raising our conscious awareness of the moment. The best version of this also includes not shaming or minimizing my emotions. Brene Brown’s quote comes to mind here: 

“We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” ― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are 

ii. When instead I try to ignore my feelings or minimize them, then I act out of much more vague feelings and this is when I can move towards flat, irritable, depressed or just numb. Being less aware or conscious of what I’m feeling leaves me less able to get my needs met. 

This topic of emotional intelligence is one we benefit from visiting often. I can either keep growing my EQi or stay stagnant. For the rest of my life, I want to keep working on this. It will benefit me, my partner and everyone I’m in relationship with. 

Daniel Goleman is one of the big gurus in this whole area of Emotional Intelligence. Here is a link to a very practical article by him on Emotional Self-Awareness.

Here is a link to request a sample report from Multi-Health

Until next time, 

Marilyn Orr, The Luv Life Coach

Marilyn Orr, MA, CEC, PCC is a relationship coach with Luv Life Coaching, passionate about equipping couples with the tools for real and lasting intimacy.

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