How often do you look back at something you did, said or wrote and think WTF was I thinking? Or maybe more like what was I NOT thinking? I’m talking about those deeply flammable thoughts or things we create and release into the world. The ones that kind of make us feel like we’ve spread our dirty laundry or deepest secrets on a big-ass stage. It could be a Facebook status, or just a conversation at a party. It’s not really the medium that matters, but the subject - as it’s a reflection of our thoughts.
When we think of what people share on social media - we cannot NOT think of wildly inauthentic interpretations of themselves - truly cringe-worthy stuff. The moments and memes that quickly glide me to a place of questioning their emotional intelligence. How some people can be traditionally intellectual, but seem to be lacking emotional intelligence.
In the last two months I’ve celebrated my privilege of being able to take a break from living in the States during these challenging times and stay in my motherland: Iceland. During this time I witnessed an Egyptian family receive a residence permit on humanitarian grounds, after first being denied and scheduled for deportation. A case that was so wildly unjust that the collective soul of Iceland, among other local humanitarians, fought for their justice.
While being touched by such human kindness I simultaneously witnessed jealousy, denial, and painfully observed unconscious and conscious racism towards my husband, my partner in fighting for justice and against systemic racism. I read volcanically tonedeaf articles by white Icelanders thinking they can write about the space of Black Lives Matter. All this is to say I believe that the creators of such behaviours are having human experiences sans emotional intelligence.
The reason I find this important to publish is I’m eager to have this conversation with you. I’m asking you to take this moment to observe how actions without emotional intelligence - are hurting other humans. And if we lack emotional intelligence, are we aware of it? (You might ask). I suggest that you take a breath, and retroactively observe your intentions and actions and their impacts.
If you find yourself having to repeat yourself to others, or repeat your thoughts towards others - perhaps it’s not about them. It’s most likely about you - you might be judging yourself but unconsciously cast your judgement onto another person. Or thinking of their experience as invalid as it might not be your experience.
Only recently I learned that empathy is the ability to understand others’ perspectives, feelings and experiences from their point of view, rather than from our own. When we are empathetic with someone else’s experience, we are more likely to forgo a judgment and have more of a positive view of that person or a group of people. And I believe that we are more likely to have a more positive view on life and ourselves. If you’re struggling to have empathy for someone in your life - or a person from afar, simply flirt with the notion that it’s not always about you.
Also, empathy is not sympathy. While empathy cares for others by trying to share an understanding for their experiences - sympathy is reflected in feeling sorry for them (which is a form of judgment). Therefore those who practise empathy are blessed with emotional intelligence. And that my dear reader - is a form of human wealth.
Texti: Anna Rósa Parker