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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

11 Oct '11

The Lens through which we view life

Posted by T.J. Addington in emotional intelligence (EQ)
It is fascinating to watch the lenses through which individuals see life. Some see the cup half full, others half empty. Some are by nature pessimists and some optimists. There are those who approach relationships with trust while others mistrust. When colleagues do something unhelpful, there are those who instantly assume ill motives and those who don't. These reactions are a reflection of our personality, our family of origin and experiences of life. All of us have a set of lenses that filter our view of life, people and situations and none of us has perfect vision but some have better vision than others. And, all of us can grow toward clearer and healthier lenses.

Part of our Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is understanding the default reactions we have to people and situations and to work on modifying or managing that default when we know it is not helpful or accurate. It is not unusual, for instance, when someone does something that irritates us to assume they had an ill motives in their actions. That default reaction is often incorrect and learning to withhold judgement until we understand why they did what they did is healthier EQ than drawing conclusions without the full information.

Think of how often married couples make assumptions about words or actions of their spouse that are not accurate but which cause friction or conflict because of assumptions we make. I plead guilty! Often our default reactions are faulty.

Our default reactions are particularly evident when we are under stress which brings out either the best or worst in us. How often we wish we could modify some of those reactions! Understanding what our default reactions are and what pushes our buttons toward those reactions that are unhelpful allows us to be aware and modify those reactions in the future.

Healthy individuals learn to be self aware of their default assumptions and reactions and to modify the unhealthy words, emotions and behaviors that those default reactions trigger. It is high self awareness coupled with the self discipline to respond more slowly, thoughtfully and wisely in those situations where we know we are at risk of responding poorly. I have learned for instance that keeping my emotions in check when someone pushes my buttons also keeps my responses in check but it has had to be learned and practiced.

Becoming aware of the lenses which we wear and the default reactions we have to people and situations gives us the opportunity to modify our attitudes and behaviors that are problematic. It is all about EQ - and personal growth.