10 Rituals for Social Self-Mastery
Self-Improvement on Interpersonal Effectiveness
Life is but a series of interactive and interpersonal events. Each day, we are exposed to countless individuals; we interact with them in countless ways: perhaps, we chat in-person, via telephone, by email, through video conference. No matter—it is not how these interactions are taking place or what we are doing within them, but it is that interpersonal interactions are constantly happening; there is nothing we can do to avoid interacting with people on a daily basis.
Social interactions and relationships are the epicenters of personal growth and social intelligence. With every interaction that takes place in our lives, we will find one thing present in every situation. Any guesses? If you answered with emotions, you are absolutely correct.
Emotions have an impactful presence in our relationships and daily interactions. What do we do with emotions? We learn from them: emotions provide us with information about thoughts, intentions and the probability of someone else's next interactive behavior.
Yes, in a way, emotions help us predict the actions of others. For instance, let’s imagine for a moment: someone is approaching you on the streets of New York. You are in Times Square when, and this person hands you a microphone upon reaching your location. This person tells you that you are required to address all the inhabitants of Times Square within the next 35 seconds at the podium set just along the street ahead. How would you be feeling in this situation?
Chances are, we all would be feeling some sort of fear, or a fearful response (or we would respond in utter terror, depending on our current opinion about public speaking and going in without a plan). Like noted above, if we are using our emotional intelligence to understand what is happening between the people around us, we can come to the understanding that being afraid has a predictable, and highly interpretational, pattern in which its behavior is perceivable by others and ourselves.
Fear is an emotional response induced by a perceived threat. We can trigger feelings, and subsequent physical responses, using the thoughts in our mind because our thoughts are capable of setting-off biochemical reactions capable of inducing necessary feeling states, such as fear— all from the comfort of our brain.
How we respond to feelings is of variable dependence—it is completely up to us. It's true, we all differ in our interactional approaches: we differ in how we process emotional feedback from others, as well as in our abilities to recognize, understand, use and regulate emotions in ourselves.
Romantic relationships provide contexts especially rich in emotions and potential conflicts, and research has shown that communication variables are among the most relevant predictors of the quality and stability of romantic relationships*. So, developing the skill of perspective taking is one of the most vital and important aspects of social intelligence that must be present in social interactions and relationships. Since this is the case, social interactions tend to be more successful when partners are able to understand the perspectives of each other.
Perspective taking is a cognitive component of empathy: it is this skillset that results in long-term feelings of partner satisfaction because both partners feel understood and validated—which is an important factor in developing intimacy in close relationships.
Even if one partner is to be higher in social intelligence, the other partner is far more able to better take his or her partner’s perspective, leading to higher overall satisfaction in both partners.
Conflict discussions are the most critical of situations in which emotions and the adequate handling of them are important. How we handle ourselves and our emotions has the biggest impact on our relationships, and whether or not we have the necessary supportive elements to achieve our wildest dreams. ⬛