In a comment on a recent post, someone posited, “men are emotionally lazy.” I understand why she feels that way, I really do, but I suspect it is really a gender difference. So, I did a bit of study.
The idea of Emotional Intelligence (EI, or EQ) is rather new. Some discussion of the concept goes back about fifty years, but most work has occurred in the last two decades. EI is made up of several parts. There are a few competing models for this – below is the model proposed by Daniel Goleman:
- Self-awareness: being aware of your own emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs and drives, and recognizing their impact on others.
- Self-regulation: not being driven by your emotions, avoiding rash decisions, and being able to adapt well to changing circumstances.
- Motivation: being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement, and to exceed goals and expectations. Able to stay optimistic despite setbacks.
- Empathy: being aware of and considerate of other people’s feelings.
- Social skill: being able to influence others to do what you want.
Over all, men and women score the same on EQ tests, but they score differently in the sub-categories. Women are more self-aware, have greater empathy, and show better interpersonal skills. Men are more self-confident, more optimistic, and more adaptable.
It sounds to me as if men and women speak different emotional languages. The differences are not black and white, as there is a good deal of overlap. Some men exceed most women in areas where women are generally stronger, and some women exceed most men in areas where men are generally stronger. In short, not wrong, just different.
The good news is EQ can be learned. Just because you or your husband is weak in one area does not mean it must always be that way. A book that has helped me improve my emotional intelligence a great deal is Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash a Revolution in Your Life In Christ. It is a slow read, but well worth the effort. I have done this book with two small groups, and have seen some incredible changes in myself and others.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero
~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’m growing up!