Interpersonal Relationships is fitness training for your Emotional Intelligence

Chain of children's hand

Interpersonal Relationships refers to the skill of developing and maintaining mutually satisfying relationships that are characterized by the ability to both “give” and “take” in relationships, and where trust and compassion are openly expressed in words or by behavior.

Why are relationships important in our life? Dalai Lama said: “We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we don’t benefit from others’ activities. For this reason it’s hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.”

In addition to the wisdom of the Dalai Lama I look at relationships as excellent training of our Emotional Intelligence. Because relationships:

- Mirror our strong and weak points; they give us a chance to forge our self-regard and self-confidence.

- Offer plenty of opportunities to foster our self-awareness by reflecting on how we feel in relationships and understanding out feelings

- Increase our empathy in putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes in spite of the fact that “our shoes” are the most comfortable ones

- Stretch our flexibility by bringing us out of our comfort zone

- Catalyze our optimism by receiving support and compassionate from other people in moments of setback

Some people have a natural ability to build strong interpersonal relationships. They are proficient at intuitively knowing how to keep reciprocity in “give” and “take”. This balance is essential to keep the relationship healthy.

There are, though, some individuals who “give” more. Others sometimes see them as lacking self-regard or seeking recognition. Sometimes such people feel taken advantage of. They have difficulty being assertive. This is what fuels their “over-giving”.

If you the “Giver” in the relationships, use your self-awareness and assertiveness to keep reciprocity in “give” and “take”. Emotional self-awareness indicates how you feel in a relationship. Do you give more than you take? Are your personal boundaries respected or violated? Assertiveness helps you to be “a good lawyer” for yourself in bringing a point across when needed.

There are other individuals who “take” more. Others see them as selfish and not caring. Sometimes they forget to even say “thank you,” taking other’s people help for granted. The difficulty in dealing with such people is to make them aware of the “over-taking” behavior. Often their self-awareness, empathy and reality testing are not serving them enough, while their self-regard and assertiveness intimidate others.

To check whether you are the “taker” or a “giver” in relationships, ask for honest feedback and be ready to accept it. Use relationship to develop your Emotional Intelligence.