My Emotional Intelligence Experiment
So what is it that sets you off? Becoming aware of what your triggers are, or what pushes your buttons is a great way to increase your emotional intelligence. We all have something or someone who drives us crazy. One of my triggers is, when someone tells me to “calm down”. It seems that approach usually creates the opposite effect in me. Think of Adam Sandler in the movie “Anger Management”. Other triggers for me are public criticism, my kids leaving their shoes where they take them off, picking on each other or placing blame, borrowing things and not putting them back and over-drafting my checking account.
Most of my life I have avoided looking at my behavior too closely. Why? Because it is not comfortable for me. If something upset me I usually repressed my feelings or “powered through”. Not only is that not healthy, it prevented me from learning how to better manage my emotions and feelings. Knowing who and what sets you off is essential to getting control of your behavior. When you become aware of your triggers, you are more likely to stay in control and respond to challenging situations instead of reacting.
The next step is to understand why these triggers set you off. I have found for example, when I am frustrated with some of my children’s behavior, it is usually for behavior that I see in myself. Ironically, I seem to get most frustrated with my children that are most like me in behavior and temperament.
Another source of frustration for me is, because I understand emotional intelligence, it is all the more frustrating when my emotions get triggered. In other words, when I get mentally hijacked, this hijacks me even more because I know better. Kidding aside, knowing your triggers and their sources is a great place to start to control your behavior and emotion. This will allow you to apply self-management techniques as you learn them.