The Role of Emotional Intelligence In Caregiving
Street smarts, book smarts, knowledge, intelligence, there are a lot of ways we classify being “smart.” A recent article on the subject by Dr. Travis Bradberry got us thinking about the relationship between emotional intelligence and caregiving. Really, EIQ is the cornerstone of person-directed care.
I won’t go into the whole article (but I highly recommend you give it a read), instead I’m just going to talk about some of the main areas of focus. To those of you reading this going “Duh, caregiving is ALL about emotional intelligence” bare with me.
For everyone who doesn’t know what emotional intelligence is, this is a great starting block to get it figured out, and if you do, use the information as a measuring stick. Are you as intelligent as you thought you were?
Essentially, the term breaks down to mean you can accurately identify emotions in yourself and others and that you have developed appropriate and healthy responses to them. Here is an excerpt of just a few of the criteria Bradberry mentions.
You’re Curious about People
It doesn’t matter if they’re introverted or extroverted, emotionally intelligent people are curious about everyone around them. This curiosity is the product of empathy, one of the most significant gateways to a high EQ. The more you care about other people and what they’re going through, the more curiosity you’re going to have about them.
You Embrace Change
Emotionally intelligent people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. They look for change that is lurking just around the corner, and they form a plan of action should these changes occur.
You Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Emotionally intelligent people don’t just understand emotions; they know what they’re good at and what they’re terrible at. They also know who pushes their buttons and the environments (both situations and people) that enable them to succeed. Having a high EQ means you know your strengths and you know how to lean into them and use them to your full advantage while keeping your weaknesses from holding you back.
A few other relevant criteria are:
- You Know How to Say No (to Yourself and Others)
- You Give and Expect Nothing in Return
- You Neutralize Toxic People
- You Disconnect
- You Don’t Seek Perfection
A lot of these points boil down to language you may have heard before from us. Be curious about people = Become well-known and get to know others. Know your strengths and weaknesses and be open to change = continue to grow throughout every stage of life. You give and expect nothing in return = be kind, giving, and seek mitzvahs. Being empathetic = treating the elder as a person not a condition.
Everyone has their ticks, their flaws, and not everyone is going to ace this self-assessment. But growth is part of what we do, and knowing which way to grow is an important piece of the journey.