This article is part of a series of articles written by Richard Cullinan, a leading emotional intelligence expert, author and creator of our Emotional Intelligence courses.
Although we all have emotional intelligence, when we become aware of our emotions and learn how to manage them, our personal and social performance becomes a far more rewarding dance between our consciousness and the expression of our humanity.
Emotional intelligence is your ability to think, feel and act with conscious awareness of your emotions and your behaviour. It is also your ability to understand and respond intelligently to the thoughts, feelings and actions of those around you, at home and at work, and within your social circles.
The good news is that unlike IQ, EQ can be developed over time with study and practice. Once you begin the journey of increasing your emotional consciousness you will see the benefits in the way you behave and in the way you pursue and achieve your goals.
Emotional intelligence and etiquette are co-existing sets of skills that, if practiced in an authentic way, serve to enrich each other and will determine your behaviour in polite society and help you to build positive and respectful interpersonal relationships.
In this series of short articles we will explore how a solid spiritual foundation coupled with the five key modalities that define emotional intelligence, namely, self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management and motivation, can serve to help you develop your etiquette skills and improve the way you conduct yourself with others.
An active spiritual life enhances our ability to practice good etiquette:
Before we consider how our spiritual life affects the way we communicate with others in a manner which is considered to be good etiquette, we need to understand how spiritual intelligence or the practice of a spiritual life fits into our personal ecosystem.
If we consider the four essential parts that make us up, that is our physical intelligence, our IQ, our EQ and our spiritual intelligence, it is fairly evident that one cannot operate without the other and each part adds extraordinary value to the functioning of the whole.
To put spiritual practice into perspective and to make place for everyone at the table I believe Gandhi had a very good perspective of things when he said, “All the great religions of the world are like rivers that meet in the ocean.” And so we all have a place on this earth to coexist peacefully and with respect for one another’s beliefs, customs and cultures. Afterall, there are no great religions of the world that do not teach brotherly and sisterly love and forgiveness.
Love is a catalyst for expressing kindness and care for one’s fellow man, woman or child. It is the foundation upon which understanding, humility and hope can coexist and without it you cannot authentically practice good manners and good etiquette in a way that is in synchrony with those around you. Forgiveness is a very powerful spiritual tool for developing one’s etiquette and manners because it goes beyond being right, it goes to the heart of compassion and grace.
Daniel Goleman put EQ and SQ into perspective when he said, “Those who are at the mercy of impulse – who lack self-control – suffer a moral deficiency.” And so it is with good etiquette. One needs a basic set of principles upon which to understand and communicate effectively with people from all walks of life and still remain true to one’s own beliefs.
By pushing aside all our unhealthy egotistical wants and desires we become grateful for our lives and the way we can express our purpose by offering the best of ourselves to the people we meet and work with every day.
If etiquette is defined as “a customary code of polite behaviour in society”, having a spiritual life that guides one through this social frame is not only desirable, it is highly recommended.
The practice of emotional intelligence, which is an active requirement for practicing good etiquette and manners, functions far better when there are spiritual values and principles in place to guide our expression of emotion.
Here are a few ways you can use your spiritual awareness to enhance your life:
• Learn about your feelings and behaviour and how to model them based on the values and principles of your beliefs
• Choose to be loving, conciliatory, curious and forgiving rather than adversarial in the way you talk to people at home and at work and in the way you build your relationships
• Develop an attitude of gratitude that puts your ego in check and sets the scene for a new living and learning experience every day