Emotional Intelligence

Have you ever said or done something that as soon as you walk away you cringe and think “Ew, why did I just say/do that?!” Me too. We have all been “socially awkward” at one point or another, but there’s this thing that we all have that tells us when we’ve done that awkward thing called: Emotional Intelligence. There’s more to it than that, but at the base level that’s what it is! You make a joke at your friends expense before you realize they're trying to tell you something really heartbreaking. You ask a question without realizing it’s probably too personal. You let your friend down by overcommitting and not following through on what you’ve promised to do for them. You jump down your friend's throat for ditching you at lunch before finding out they had to retake a quiz they failed. Your friends do all the work in a group project because you waited until the last minute to get started. The list goes on and on. What do all of these things have in common that they are lacking: social skills, self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation.

The formal definition of emotional intelligence (also known as EQ) is the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as other people’s emotions. You have that ability by breaking it down into the different facets of EQ as listed below:
  • Social skills is the competence in facilitating interaction and communication with others within the realm of the social rules such as communication both verbal and non-verbal. (Colossians 4:5-6 - “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”)
  • Self-awareness is the ability to recognize your own emotions, strengths, and limitations, and their impact on others around you. (Romans 12:3 - “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”)
  • Self-regulation allows you to wisely manage your emotions and impulses. (Proverbs 16:32 - “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
  •     and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”)
  • Empathy is having the ability to identify and understand other’s emotions. (Romans 12:15 - “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”)
  • Motivation is having the internal drive or need to complete a goal. (1 Thessalonians 1:3 - “Remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”)

Now you have all of this information and you’re probably looking back on times you were lacking EQ. So why did I bring this up and make you feel uncomfortable? Because lacking EQ as a christian teen doesn’t just affect your relationship with your christian friends, christian teachers, christian parents, etc. But it also impacts your ability to be salt and light out in the world with your non-believing friends and acquaintances. If you are “socially awkward” (or lack EQ) then it can be a turn off, you’ll lack credibility, and you could even push the unbeliever away from the Truth (Christ). 

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