Emotional intelligence is most often displayed in the way you respond to life. Respond is the operative word. If you find yourself constantly reacting to life rather than responding, you are lacking in emotional intelligence. You are not alone. Being emotionally intelligent is not a required skill one learns in school or in life. Emotional intelligence is gained through experience and instruction. Without either, it has hard for someone to become emotionally intelligent. In school you are taught arithmetic and history, being prepared for the day when you will get a job. You aren’t taught in school how to handle stress, emotions, or relationships. These are some of the qualities of emotional intelligence which you will need ongoing for the rest of your life. Emotional intelligence helps you interact with life rather than react to life.
The difference between reacting and responding
Defining a reaction is often describing something in opposition. A reaction is reciprocal or counteracting, acting in opposition to something which is perceived as a force. When we react, we move in an opposite direction of what we are reacting to. We react when we feel threatened, we respond when we do not. To respond, on the other hand, is to reply, to makea return, and to move towards something rather than shy away. Reacting indicates that we are not capable of handling the life that has been presented to us so we argue against it in opposition. We do not have to like or approve of what happens to us in our life. Learning to live life on life’s terms is an ultimate goal of recovery but it is not a cover up for learning to live life on our terms. We react to life’s terms when we do not accept life’s terms. Responding to life is accepting life on life’s terms regardless of opinion. Life has to be responded to. When we react instead of respond, we act without emotional intelligence because we are not working in accord with one of our highest understanding: that life happens, whether we want it to or not.
Emotional intelligence saves energy
Spending our time and mental strength fighting against the natural flow of life is exhausting. We waste our resources and fuel our stress when we do not respond to life. Emotional intelligence makes living life on life’s terms more efficient which gives us the strength to seke out our passions and live our lives more purposefully.
Castle Craig knows there is a purpose for your life. Our residential treatment programmes for addiction and alcoholism are designed to help you restore optimum health of mind, body, and spirit. For information on our hospital in Scotland, call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 115 3527. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006.
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | September 8, 2017