Wellbeing and Self-Perception

by Marcia Hughes and James Terrell

Self-Perception includes three core skills according to the EQi 2.0: Self-Regard, Self-Actualization and Emotional Self-Awareness. These three powerful skills are a part of the 16 skills resulting from rigorous research begun in the 1980’s by Dr. Reuven Bar-On when he asked the question: “What differentiates people who are successful in responding to environmental demands from those who are not successful?”. Emotional Intelligence is a set of emotional and social skills that collectively establish how we respond to the many environmental demands placed on us. “Environmental” is a broad concept drawing on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components of our lives.

While the EQi 2.0 module appropriately presents the 5 composites and 16 skills in a circle, we typically begin with Self-Perception when building understanding of EI. That’s because self-regard, self-actualization and emotional self-awareness are bedrock requirements for understanding ourselves accurately as well as engaging effectively with others. Our internal dialogue and self-perception has an inescapable influence on how we show up in our world.

Each of these three skills impacts how we hold ourselves, how many strengths and capabilities we have, and ultimately how we engage with others. If we see ourselves as honest, capable, and good at learning, we will hold ourselves with respect, take appropriate risks to leverage our capabilities into new opportunities and have increased capacity to connect with others. We won’t be distracted with the negative energy that leads to self-limiting inner dialogue, with holding ourselves back from new opportunities at work or with compromising what we ask out of life.

Emotional Intelligence skill development is a primary platform for developing our wellbeing.

Wellbeing connects with emotional intelligence in indispensable ways. Wellbeing is a positive outcome that is meaningful because it tells us that we perceive our lives are going well and with that we have more strength and energy to develop our skills and make our best contributions to our society, business, even the world. Our wellbeing is impacted daily by our self-perceptions and the deep impact they have on our internal state.

Self-Regard & Emotional Self-Awareness Skill Development

Self-regard can be developed to promote enhanced wellbeing through:

Improving your self-talk. Nothing is more impactful on individual self-regard than the quality of the continuous self-talk that we humans engage in.

Improve your self-talk by:

    1. Notice what you’re saying to yourself. Note your tone and the scenarios that lead you to be the most gentle, the most unforgiving, or the most curious. Write down what you hear yourself saying. Notice the trend of your comments.
    2. Step back and observe what you’ve just noticed. Access this information through the eyes of a caring friend so that you have some detachment.
    3. Develop new ways to speak to yourself for any circumstances where you’re being harsh or berating yourself. Three or four succinct statements are a good number to work with. Write them out, put them on your computer screen, bathroom mirror, your car dashboard. You might say:

“I care and do my best.” Or

“I love myself and others.”

    1. When you hear yourself being self-condemning immediately substitute one of your positive statements. Don’t judge the harsh statement, just move to the positive.

With these steps you’re building positive self-regard that can expand your internal strength, and thus how you show up to the world. This builds strength that allows you care about others. It builds the space to develop and demonstrate empathy. The 16 skills of the EQi deeply impact one another as we apply emotional intelligence. Two of the most closely related are self-regard and empathy – noticing and caring about ourselves and about others.

Future articles will provide strategies for understanding and developing self-actualization and emotional self-awareness, the other skills of the self-perception composite.

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