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Emotional Intelligence – with emphasis on Morality

Emotional Intelligence – with emphasis on Morality

Annie Coetzee 

ELLE-20110414-10012-3Inspirational Speaker and Corporate Trainer in Emotional Intelligence and Resilience. 

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and keen insight of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection and influence. The original meaning of the word ‘emotion’ is ‘the spirit that moves us.’

Let’s face it: Everything we do and say involves emotions. Our emotions, as much or more than our bodies and minds, contain our life stories and every deep experience we’ve ever had. Our emotions comprise the feelings of who we are, and enter our bodies as energy – and this energy is a primary source of influence and power. Emotions pour through us when we are involved in any situation in life’s journey. That includes the media world. As emotions pour through us, they set in motion a confluence of deep processes that affect every aspect of our lives. When we develop our Emotional Intelligence, we shift this form of energy on to a higher level of understanding, and it changes our experiences and perceptions of work, life and people.

In the world of media, talented, productive people are being thwarted or sabotaged by gaps in EI and are caught up in an atmosphere of sometimes abusive management, mountains of rules and red tape and a fear-laced climate of uncertainty, perceived inequities, resentment and anger. A journalist, for example, will show up and keep his heart closed and his head down, just hoping to get the article published and receive a pay cheque.

Getting to grips with emotions and its role in work related to the media, reasoning has its power and value only in the context of emotion. No matter what the product or story is, people buy in, based on feelings – and then, if they want to, they justify their choices with facts. Thorough research has proved that emotions are more honest than reason. Do we allow the sincerity and honesty of emotions, when we write and/or give feedback?

Where does the media fit into this bit about EI? I want to link emotional honesty to morality in this short article.

EI and the intuitive abilities related to this Intelligence points to qualities of the heart more than it points to qualities of the mind. Feedback from the heart ignites creative genius, keeps us honest, shapes our relationships, provides us with an inner compass for the future and guides us to unexpected possibilities that may even surprise our very mind!

People can take away everything from us, except what we value and what we believe – that which is true in our heart. The depth of our emotional courage and character stems from our heart and often our mind cannot prove or explain it.

Our heart is the place of courage and spirit, integrity and commitment.

Our heart is a source of energy and deep feelings that call us to create, learn, cooperate, lead and serve. Our heart finds it difficult to lie.

Solid scientific studies and neurological evidence indicate that emotion is the indispensable ‘fuel’ for the brain’s higher reasoning power – and can serve as a vital source of accurate information about our character, relationships, growth, success and most of all, the influence we have.

How much of the heart is truly present in today’s media world?

To review our pattern of life/work – let’s take the media world – where pressures, uncertainties and change come from all sides: Do we as writers and readers call more on our emotional intelligence (including our moral values), or do we grasp from the alter of intellect, memorized facts, technical analysis and reductionistic reasoning?

Being honest and morally pure in what we write and how we read is not a mind game or being politically correct. It is about paying attention to what our heart says is true. Emotional honesty, with morality on its side, makes you real and true. To the extent that we can be emotionally honest – getting out of our head and into our heart – using well-chosen words to say what we truly feel and believe – we find our voice and become real. The world needs more real people. After all, we were created to be real and sincere!

Let’s learn to readily face and discover not only the bright, vigorous and expansive side of our feelings, but also from the more constricting shadow side of the heart, from which arise our self-doubt, anger and searching spirits. Without experiencing strong feelings which can be powerful catalysts for change, we would never be forced to take a good look, a clear look at who we are, what we are capable of and where we are going to with news and stories (or simply our future).

Many people find it hard to ask themselves questions, such as: “What are my feelings about this?” And if they do ask the question and then feel unhappy, do they ask, “What values and morals that I treasure are not being met here?” “What are the names of the feelings that are being activated with this story?”

It is immoral to pin labels on us to justify a story or situation, because we are this person or that professor. Through emotional honesty we can begin to illuminate our core personal values and morals – our character, and the feelings that drive them. Living and working in this ever-shifting moral climate, and the temptation to give in, go along with what others expect or want, is overwhelming. However, it has become vital to clarify and forge our unique influence and do so from a pure heart. This includes holding yourself accountable to your best, and others to theirs.

Morality and integrity are about your character: That which is inside you, in your heart. Most writers believe that they behave with integrity and moral values in place, yet in practice, many of them struggle with how to apply effectively a sense of morality in their actions and interactions.

Many people assume that integrity and morality are the same as blind loyalty and discretion, or keeping some of the truths away from others.

Some think it requires narrow or rigid consistency, even in a false or damaging cause, while others believe it is honesty, pure and simple, or a ban on outright lies.

All of these views miss the mark.

In essence, integrity and morality in the media mean accepting full responsibility, communicating clearly and openly, keeping promises, avoiding hidden agendas and having the courage to write and speak with honor, which includes knowing and being honest with yourself, not only in the mind, but also in the heart.

I would like to conclude with a strong statement about how I see integrity and morality, once these qualities are applied in the media world:

  •  Discerning what is right and what is wrong;
  • Acting upon what you have discerned, even at personal cost;
  • Saying openly that you are acting on your understanding of right and wrong.

It requires a strong degree of moral reflectiveness in which every dimension of EI are coordinated and brought to bear on an issue or problem.

As writers and/or readers/researchers we should be unashamed of writing what we believe is true and right and good, showing a steadfast devotion to principle.

There is evidence suggesting that only from the depths of integrity are we humans empowered to reach upwards with our finest creative talents. An important aspect of integrity, linked to morality, is to tell yourself:

“ Only I will know.”

“ Only I will know if I betray my convictions and values.”

“ Only I will know if I am unethical with people who trust me.”

“ Only I will know that I have no intention of honoring my promise.” 

And do not forget: Your HEART will know.

Let’s be brave and own up to our shortcomings.

Let’s breathe the fresh air of integrity and pure moral standings.

The following words may help you to capture the role of moral standing in your life: Create any scenario where you have to give feedback.

Then talk to yourself about the following:

Attentiveness: What is the level of your applied alertness, the measure of your deepest complete attention that you are willing to devote to this specific person, situation or opportunity?

Concern: What is the level of your honest, genuine caring or interest you have in learning something new from this situation?

Ulterior Motive/s: Is there a note of ego assertiveness, desire or willingness to use coercion to impose your will or agenda on others?

Entitlement: How much do you feel you deserve to get from this interaction, in return for minimal effort on your part.

One of the most important reasons why I believe EI and its link to morality and integrity is so vital for human development and ultimate truths, is that it requires that you commit to wholehearted attentiveness, genuine concern and creative curiosity, rather than politics, evasiveness, spite, manipulation, dominance and entitlement.

The truth is the most powerful message we can ever release.

So let’s be real” Let’s have a good head on our shoulders, and of course, always with a heart! 

Annie Coetzee

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