If I’m reading an annoying email and someone knocks at my door and I turn to them and yell, “What!?” That’s not very relationally intelligent. I’ve taken my emotion from one situation and bled it all over a different person for no reason at all. I’m sure they’d think twice before knocking on my door again.

If instead, I quarantine my annoyance over the email and turn to the person knocking at my door and say with a smile, “Hi, how can I help you?” I’ve demonstrated something called ‘emotional intelligence.

Well-known psychologist, Daniel Goleman has done a lot of research on the components of success, especially in the workplace. His conclusion is that Technical Skill and Intellectual Intelligence (or IQ) are very important, but that the quality of Emotional Intelligence (or EQ = Emotional Quotient), is the most essential. In fact, it’s twice as important as the other two attributes.

Emotional intelligence is learning to be aware of our own moods and take control of our emotions. It also includes knowing how to relate well to a wide variety of people.

How do we do that? Well, Jesus gave us some great advice as recorded in Matthew 7:12 when he said, “Do for others what you would like them to do for you.”

Some people call this the “Golden Rule”. The relational wisdom here is to take the time to think about how you like to be treated.

  • Think about the qualities and attributes that attract you to others, the ‘ideal friend’, if you will. People you enjoy being around.
  • We can also think about the qualities and attributes that repel us from others. You know, the ‘friend from hell’. People you don’t enjoy being around.

Then the application is to intentionally develop the qualities of a good friend and intentionally avoid or get rid of traits of people that annoy you.

This is proper advice for ALL of our relationships – think about how you want to be treated and then YOU take the initiative. Begin treating other people in that way. What a difference that makes!

Imagine a world where every one of us followed this basic principle of relationships.

This has been Soul Food with Mark Conner. See you next week!

You can watch a video of this episode on the Soul Food YouTube channel.

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