Emotional intelligence can help promote harmony in relationships
Laina Makuzha LOVE by DESIGN
When I read a recent article about a young man who allegedly locked up & burnt his 3-year-old daughter to death inside a house while two other victims of the same incident were said to be battling for their lives “in a cruel act of rage during a domestic misunderstanding”, my heart sank.
This is just but one of countless stories we hear of disputes that sadly turn tragic. While such occurrences among many other different types, are of huge concern all year round, deliberations also intensify during various campaigns and concerted efforts to combat all forms of gender based violence, during the 16 days of activism against gender based violence(GBV), which is stretching from November 25 to December 10.
I also noted the concern for peace in relationships, in responses from some readers who on the WhatsApp group, gave their suggestions of topics they would like us to cover in this column.
Someone asked why couples argue, another suggested a topic on how to maintain peace with one’s in-laws and others sent a direct message to request topics such as how to discuss and overcome offence from one’s partner without retaliating or revenging; another asked if it is realistic to expect one to not revenge when deeply hurt by a partner?
Another asked this: How do you stop a partner from using children to hurt you? All of these questions will be addressed in interviews with relationship and marriage experts, to give us in-depth responses for anyone truly challenged or overwhelmed by the situation they are in.
In my view, few disputes start with the people involved imagining the tragic ending that we often see. But what leads to these fatal conflicts, are there signs one can look out for? It’s a genuine question that we can address in other articles.
In today’s society, gender-based violence continues to plague countless families, causing immeasurable pain and suffering.
The responsibility of addressing this issue in my view, is a collective effort that requires every individual to do their part.
This week my hope is to inspire individuals and couples to introspect, prioritise their mental health, and embrace emotional intelligence to foster healthy relationships.
I searched far and wide for some pointers we can all mull over as we commemorate 16 days of activism against gender based violence.
Gender-Based Violence: (GBV)
GBV is a pervasive issue that undermines the foundation of families. Generally, it encompasses physical, sexual, psychological, or economic harm inflicted due to gender disparities.
The Bible teaches us the importance of valuing and respecting all individuals, promoting love, and treating others as we would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12).
The United Nations (UN) defines violence particularly against women, as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
Emotional intelligence in romantic relationships:
Emotional intelligence plays a key role in building healthy and respectful romantic relationships. While it is normal to have some degree of conflict in relationships, couples can learn to have healthy conflicts.
Defined by psychology experts Mayer and Salovey, emotional intelligence is the ability to recognise, understand, and manage our emotions, as well as effectively navigate the emotions of others. It enables us to communicate openly, empathise, and resolve conflicts peacefully.
Renowned experts, Daniel Goleman and John Gottman have extensively studied and advocated for the application of emotional intelligence in our everyday lives.
They emphasise that emotional intelligence is not just an innate trait, but a skill that can be learned and enhanced. So I believe there is hope even for those who struggle with anger management issues for instance.
By proactively developing emotional intelligence, individuals and couples can create a safe and nurturing environment for their relationships to flourish.
Pitfalls of poor emotional intelligence:
When emotional intelligence is lacking, relationships suffer through unresolved conflicts, poor communication, and an inability to express emotions constructively having the potential to lead to emotional and physical violence. Studies have shown that low emotional intelligence is closely linked to aggression, hostility, and dysfunctional relationship patterns.
Even beyond the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, it is crucial to raise awareness about these destructive consequences of poor management of one’s emotions.
By having respect for fellow humans, an open mind and willingness to learn, we can break the cycle of violence, create healthier relationship dynamics, and encourage empathy, love, and respect.
When disputes or stress overwhelm us, it is imperative to remember that seeking help or talking to someone you trust, is not a sign of weakness.
Family and friends can offer support, guidance, and a listening ear but if not, don’t despair, a little research can result in finding the help you need.
The turnaround may be a process for some, or for others it can be as quick as you just making up your mind to change the narrative, or start with an honest simple prayer asking God to change your story.
He’s more than able if your heart is open and willing. Additionally, professionals such as therapists, counsellors, and mediators are trained to provide practical solutions and facilitate healthier relationship dynamics. Remember, it takes courage to recognise the need for help and take appropriate steps to address conflicts.
By cultivating emotional intelligence within ourselves, we can contribute to the creation of healthy and respectful relationships whether romantic or otherwise.
I always advocate introspection, which helps us with that very important audit of our own actions and how we are impacting our loved ones, colleagues and communities around us.
In our small and big ways, we can actively participate in the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence and go the extra mile to bring an end to this destructive cycle and build a future where love, empathy, and respect prevail.
As we conclude this week, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to share your views, experience or solutions for someone struggling with an aspect of gender based violence.