5 Steps You Can Take Today to Increase Your Peace And Fulfillment in Life
A few weeks ago, I was preparing for an important presentation required for work. It needed to be an hour long training video once I finished the research. On the afternoon of my deadline, I began to record. After what I thought was a decent performance, I checked the recording. You may see where this is going – there was no video. I had failed to confirm the recording and had waisted my time. Or did I?
Within a few seconds, I took a deep breath and started over. I reframed the failure as a serious practice session and managed to finish the real presentation barely in time. In the past, I would have agonized over the failure and called myself a few names before either asking for more time or throwing my hands up in defeat. Thanks to some valuable efforts to get in touch with my social emotional side, I see real change. I am not perfect, but I want to share this personalized approach to positive growth to anyone willing to give it a try.
Would you like to deepen your relationships, feel more in control of your life, regulate your emotions, and make better decisions? In the self-improvement world this translates to greater success in all areas of life. Extensive research concludes that “soft skills” are our meal ticket in today’s competitive world. What does that mean?
You may have heard about the importance of EQ or emotional intelligence. Expanding upon EQ, we can now capitalize on a range of capacities that make up our social emotional self.
Social emotional intelligence has been the buzzword of the last couple of decades for a reason. Educators, scientists, and business leaders have learned through research and experience that the most valued aspect of a human to develop is our social emotional skills.
If you’ve heard of soft skills, it has most likely been in the context of interviewing, networking, organizing your time, and conflict management or in other words playing nicely with others. Those of us who don’t play nicely are perceived as untrustworthy, out for themselves, or loners. Although we shouldn’t hold ourselves to an unrealistic image of perfection, the possibility exists that we can improve. We all have social emotional skills to some degree, a bit like a spectrum. Attention and extra effort in the development of these skills can bring us greater peace and fulfillment in life.
The part I like best about focusing on these skills includes how far the benefits reach. Our careers, work environment, and educational opportunities are only the start. Growing closer to our loved ones and connecting with many other people on a much deeper level widens our sphere of influence and gives us greater joy and opportunities. Maintaining strong social bonds are one of the most important factors in aging well and remaining healthy. After all, it’s the relationships we reflect on that matter most when it’s all said and done.
If you are ready to dive into a journey that can make the most of who you are – let’s get to it. It is essential that you move through 5 related and overlapping dimensions of social emotional development starting with self- awareness. Seeking self-awareness is nothing to wave off as silly business. Positive change requires a starting point, and this is how you determine yours across a continuum.
You may believe you know yourself pretty well by now. However, few of us devote time to a critical examination of our bare-naked thoughts and intensions, strengths and weaknesses. I’m talking about your most private and hidden nature. That does not include a plan to explore the superficial ego in an attempt to rise above others. Nor does this entail wallowing in our failures and disappointments. The goal is to notice and provide yourself with an honest appraisal of your shortcomings and positive qualities. To get started, take these steps:
- Carve out a chunk of time and write down prevailing characteristics that define you. Purge your thoughts and write it all down. You can destroy this later if you want. Carefully note positive and negative feedback you have received from others. If there is truth in the messages you’ve received over time, write it down. Each part of your examination is important and can help define your current limits or challenges. The trick is to think of this approach as if you are describing someone objectively – it just happens to be someone you have the inside scoop on. Ask others in different environments for help if possible. Do you tend to lie to give others a good impression of you? Do you worry about situations so much you lose sleep? Do you procrastinate? Are you the first to greet others? How do you handle conflict? Disappointment? Rejection?
- Next, go through your data and look for themes. Are there trends in your list like anxiety or a quick temper? Do you lack confidence in some settings or around certain people? Do you dominate conversations? Also, make sure you establish your uniqueness like coming up with creative ideas or dressing with flair.
- Using the information you have, describe in summary who you are in as many areas as possible. Examples include social confidence, emotional stability, empathy for others, anxiety, reactivity, patience, level of curiosity, and your ability to sense the emotions of others.
- After probing into your true nature, describe your realistic ideal self – not your perfect self. What do you want to see change? Do you want more respect at work or gain control of your reactions like I did?
- Over the next week continue to tweak your data and make notes in your phone or notebook throughout the day (every couple of hours) about how you are feeling. Also begin to note the thoughts that accompany your feelings. Steady observation of your typical approach to problems, changes, dull routines, or good news can add dramatically to your degree of social awareness. In fact, this is self awareness!
Jump starting and continually noticing your internal compass of emotions and thoughts leads to a more pronounced ability to alter your future thinking, emotions, and actions. People who do this regularly tend to develop an accurate sensor of how they are inside and how they are perceived by others.
If you found this useful and want to continue exploring what your ideal self can be, follow the next post as we journey together toward a peaceful and fulfilling life!
Thank you for reading.