Falling In Love With Emotional Intelligence
I am obsessed with human behavior. Since my early teens, I have read books, taken professional courses, and studied under mentors to absorb all I can about emotions, overcoming fears, love and compassion. While it took me decades to “master” self-awareness (logically, this is an ongoing life process), my level of empathy grew stronger each year of my life.
For the last six years, I have been focusing on Emotional Intelligence which eventually led me to Diversity and Inclusion. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be self-aware, aware of others, develop a strong sense of empathy, and learning how to manage one’s emotions. It comprises of many elements including spirituality, psychology, physiology, quantum physics, and more. It has truly been a life changer and I attribute Emotional Intelligence to my personal success in life.
It always surprises me when people tell me how outgoing and inspiring I am. Truth of the matter is, for most of my life, I was painfully shy and allowed the negative projections of others suppress my own life. I felt alone, scared, and insecure. I was a young single mother, once on welfare, a college dropout (though now I hold multiple degrees from higher institutions including New York University) and in and out of meaningless jobs. It was not until the study and practice of Emotional Intelligence that I was able to finally understand my shortcomings and turn my life around on many aspects – financially, spiritually, relationship wise and mindfully.
Finding Purpose In Diversity And Inclusion
As a minority woman and daughter of an immigrant mother, I felt compelled to further my knowledge into Diversity & Inclusion. While the two words are used interchangeably, diversity is understanding and valuing the differences of individuals among people including different races, ethnicities, political parties, genders, abilities, religions, ages and sexual orientation. Inclusion is the collaborative effort to create an environment that gives the opportunity for everyone to contribute and participate in a respectful manner. It can be deeply personal and touches upon people’s core beliefs.
As I spoke to different groups on the topic, I realized that my approach to the subject was not taught the same way many other speakers chose to address it. I found this to be unique which gave our audiences the ability to learn from multiple perspectives.I used Emotional Intelligence as a foundation for my speeches and focused on personal responsibility and living with an abundant mindset as opposed to fear and blame. I found this worked well for my personal life and used my personal experiences of being “different” from the norm and learned to embrace who I am as an individual.
Feeling I was a leader in my field, the universe found its way to test me and all my colleagues. Along came 2020 with Covid-19, the George Floyd travesty, and election year. Talk about hitting a trifecta! To help myself manage the overwhelming amount of emotions I was feeling along with the rest of the world, I dove deep into my books, joined a journaling group based on faith and enrolled in online classes held by a prominent Emotional Intelligence leader from a well-known Ivy League University.
George Floyd, Fear & Double Standards
My professor on Emotional Intelligence was speaking against conservative values and shaming those who supported President Trump. I was attacked on social media as a racist for not posting a black square and put down for condemning the riots, by the same people who previously told me I was an inspiration to them. I found myself confused and falling into a depressive state before I was able to regain my composure and go back to my faith in God and understand that those who were attacking were living out of their own fears.
Confirmation bias grew to and all time high with the help of social media algorithms. Watch “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix for a better understanding of how tech giants use algorithms to feed into the belief systems one already has without giving them alternate perspectives. The mainstream media fed fear and negativity nonstop to people hiding in their homes glued to the television watching the ticker of death. People who were once friends quickly became enemies due to social media posts. Those screaming anti-racism and unity in one post were degrading those who had either a different perspective or way of expression in another.
What happened to all the lovely Instagram hashtags of “we are one” and “stronger together?” More life and mindset coaches, inspirational speakers, educators were openly taking sides and posting on their social media “scripted” comments to stay in the norm for fear of being “canceled.” I was amazed how many of these posts were almost verbatim of each other. Suddenly, everyone else was wrong if you did not agree as they did. Many who made a career out of helping others become mindfully stronger and inclusive were failing us miserably.
I feel it is our responsibility to demonstrate how inclusivity works even if it challenges our own belief systems. It is our responsibility to understand different perspectives. It is our responsibility to take accountability for our own actions. I too, had to look deep within myself during 2020 to be sure that I was sending out messages to bring us together and not tear us apart. I had to take accountability for acting quickly out of emotions personally and be able to understand that everyone has had different life experiences that led them to where they are in the present.
As much as I may understand the weaknesses of others, I am disgusted by the continuing hypocrisy of so many who proclaim to help others bring about unity and acceptance while their actions show the opposite. Being a speaker, educator, or coach comes with a big responsibility that I take to heart. I have sat through conversations that stir up difficult emotions, but as I leader in my field, I have to go back to my own knowledge and truly be the change I seek in the world. I intend to do exactly that through compassion and empathy for others.
I challenge every professional in the field of Emotional Intelligence and Diversity and Inclusion to go back to the fundamentals of our teachings and truly break out of the fear based mindset and live life without bringing down others who have different perspectives. It is only when we break through our own fears that we can truly be stronger together.