Last weekend, I took a long leisurely walk around the estate and ended up at a cobbler’s work station. He is a funny man with a very sensible mind. He has a small work station with a sewing machine that covers more than half the room. However, he is one of the happiest people I know. He sits at his work station merrily greeting those passing outside and chatting merrily with them. His shop faces the road directly.
On this particular day, a man in a small saloon car came and parked right outside his shop. The man in the car then proceeded to direct a tailor (who was sitting next door), to ran a couple of errands for him while he remained in his car. I did not think much of this and continued talking to the cobbler.
A few minutes later, a man with a giant of a car drove just outside the shop. As the man in the saloon car was packed awkwardly, it took more of an effort for him to pass. This obviously infuriated the man in the big car and he decided to give a piece of his mind to the man in the salon car. When I say a piece of his mind, I am being kind. This man was vile full of insults. He questioned the sanity of the man and advised him to go back to school because he was clearly an idiot. The man in the saloon car was silent and even somewhat nonchalant.
After a while, the man in a salon car was done with his errands and he drove off. The cobbler then turned to me and explained that he is disabled and that was why he had parked there. This just broke my heart. It pained my heart because of how he just sat there and listened to these insults. It hurt me to imagine the reason he was nonchalant is because he had gotten used to this kind of treatment. It hurt me to imagine that the reason he did not stand up for himself was because he had come to believe he is all those words that were used to insult him. This got me thinking about emotional intelligence and why it is very important.
Often we assume to be all knowing of other people’s circumstances. When we see a coworker not delivering at work, we assume they are lazy. When we see someone struggling with their weight, we assume they are greedy. When we see someone who does not speak much, we assume they are snobs. When we see someone who speaks a lot, we assume they are attention seekers. However, if we cared and looked deeper, we would be surprised by what we find. That coworker who is not performing as they used to, may be struggling with a tragedy that makes it next to impossible for them to focus. That lady you think has too much weight has been struggling with eating disorders all their life. That person you deem snobby is painfully shy and struggles with self-esteem issues. That lady you think is an attention junkie, nobody gave her a listening ear ever.
The thing about emotional intelligence is that it enables us to we act with other people’s feelings and welfare at heart. Before we pass judgement, we do not assume all situations are similar but instead, we look deeper. We are faster to watch than to speak and pass judgement. We are so in tune with other people’s emotions that we can tell when we hurt them. When we realize we have hurt them, we do not try to rationalize it but rather, we apologize earnestly and are ready to make amends. Often when someone gets offended by something we have done, we go down the route of trying to justify our actions. An apology is not about our actions but about the effect they have had on someone. It is not about the legitimacy of them and neither is it about whether the person has a right to become upset. It is about noticing that they have changed someone’s moods, realizing that, that was a wrong thing to do and genuinely going out of our way to make things right.
Today, before you say something, evaluate the impact it will have on those listening. Before you give people your opinion, be very aware of your audience. Before you do anything, evaluate how it will affect those you interact with. I agree sometimes we have to be ruthless and look after ourselves, however, some actions benefit neither us nor the people that we interact with. To read more posts by Angela, click HERE
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