Why Relational Intelligence Is a Thing

Emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ) is commonly understood to mean emotional self-awareness, the ability to name, understand and manage our emotions.  

But we want to make the following distinction: it is in relationships that we discover, learn about and grow our emotional capacities. For better or worse, relationships represent the central mechanism by which human beings operate in the world. From the moment we are born, engaging the emotional universe is not an internal experience. It takes place in relationship with others.

We are born out of a relationship into relationships. We are never without a relationship; in fact, hundreds of them.

Accordingly, as wonderful a phrase as emotional intelligence is, we will use relational intelligence or relational quotient (RQ); placing the locus for human emotional activity in relationships. It may seem a minor point now, but much of how we talk about emotions centers around this important distinction.

When we grow our relational intelligence, we are better able to manage conflict, grow self confidence, and see others’ points of view. In fact, how well we observe, interpret and engage in our relationships is central to our successes in life.

The Specific Challenges Faced by Boys

“Don’t be a crybaby” is the single most consistent message American boys get. Whether you grew up in the relative security of the suburbs or on the streets of the inner city, ask any American man and they’ll tell you the same thing.

“Boys and men don’t cry.” If you do, you’re a wimp, or a sissy… or a target.

And make no mistake, “Don’t be a crybaby” is code for a bigger, more overarching cultural message; a message which is reinforced over and over again in every professional, social and interpersonal context we encounter.

Don’t show your emotions.

This message begins to make itself known the day our little sons enter the larger world, gently at first, but with ever increasing degrees of severity.

Whether we are fathers or sons, brothers or husbands, we can learn to explore and express our emotions at any age. The question is, will we teach the next generation of men to pursue emotional empowerment or will our sons be left with little choice but to suppress their emotions, as dictated by a range of traditional cultural influences?

The long-term challenges emotional isolation can create are incalculable. Living emotionally guarded lives is robbing men of their hope, their aspirations and for millions of American men, their very lives.

Read more here: The Case for Kids’ Relational Intelligence 


The Emotional Suppression of Boys in 30 Seconds

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