December 16, 2017 – Be Emotionally Intelligent…Remember A Right Attitude Wins Always
By Oluwatoyin Segilola Awolesi
No do garagara for me” this idiom was boldly printed on the T-shirt of a dwarf I saw yesterday at the crowded Lagos Island market. I guess the short man was intentionally saying to everyone “watch what you say and/do to me…don’t take advantage of me..don’t you dare!”. Wonders will never cease. I believe this must be a self defense tactic. If a tall man engages him in a tussle…the fight will never end!!! Victory doesn’t always go to the ‘tall with Six Pack Abs’…but to the strategist who employs the most effective strategy. One of the essentials for victory is that; they will win who know when to fight and when not to fight. Not all battles are meant for you..you’ve got to learn to walk away from some, remember he who fights and runs away, may live to fight another day. In every situation it is best to review the possible outcomes before you begin to choose your course of actions.
On my way back home on Monday, December 11,2017 at 2.15pm, I saw a one legged middle aged woman with a bag. She was using crutches to help herself along the road and moving towards me. Under the scorching hot sun, I observed that she was sweating profusely and groaning with pain…what a pity! This touched me deeply and got me thinking about how I could help her. Fortunately, as she passed by me, she stopped and asked; “Hello, please I was told I could board a bus to Yaba around here…’’ hmmm…I was not too familiar with this route..I tried thinking on my feet but had no clue and in a bid not to complicate the matter, I sincerely responded “I am not sure ma, kindly ask the policemen nearby” Suddenly, I was rudely interrupted by her yell, I noticed she lost her temper and yelled at me “ Go, I don’t need you!!!” I was befuddled! What was my offense? Honestly, I had an intention to follow her to the policemen, and help carry her bag to the bus stop but her yell hit me like someone stoned me. “Ouch! That was mean’’ I painstakingly walked away without saying anything but kept wondering why did she yell??? I noticed after I moved away that she tried to engage another passerby but the man never gave her attention.
This experience taught me some vital lessons on understanding feelings. I perceived that this woman must have yelled out of frustration, she needed a practical solution and not a further complication. Obviously she was in excruciating pain however I felt her attitude was not comely and she might end up in the wrong direction if she continues to yell at everybody. I guess the other man observed the way she treated me and was afraid to face her, so he neglected her call for help. I could not help her with direction but I was willing to help with her bag, her reaction gave me a severe fright. Please take note; even if people do not have what you are looking for, understand the fact that they have something you might need, ‘No do garagara’! She might have had bad experiences maybe with passersby or even policemen taking advantage of her however she missed a dose of goodness while avoiding evil. I chose to quietly walk away because it was pointless reacting to her as this would definitely compound her situation.
‘Empathy is a non judgmental openness to other’s feelings and experiences that builds connection and awareness. It starts by noticing both the pleasant and unpleasant feelings and genuinely caring what the other person is experiencing. Generally, the emotional health of an average Nigerian is not good, it is far from ideal, little wonder rates of stress, depression, suicide, anxiety and violence are increasing. There is a great need to help people understand their feelings and how to adaptively process them. When you understand your feelings, it would definitely aid you in understanding another person’s feeling, then you can better address situations constructively. Feelings are literally emotions. Emotion is simply the capacity to feel and to care. Love, joy, happiness, hurt, anger, sadness..these core emotions are at the heart of our behavior. They drive us and they form the base of what we feel almost all the time. We tend to believe that experiencing positive or negative emotions reflects forces outside our control, blaming everything from our genes, family to even the government. However, what many people do not realise is that we can control our emotions. Research has shown that when people don’t acknowledge and address their emotions, they display lower wellbeing and more physical symptoms of stress, like headaches(negative emotions are disempowering). A report shows that 95% of diseases happen because of negative emotions.
Emotions don’t have to be positive (and many aren’t) but they can be used to strengthen our positive outlook and actions. Everyone of us needs a more nuanced vocabulary for emotions not just for the sake of being more precise, but because incorrectly diagnosing our emotions makes us respond incorrectly. There is a high cost to avoiding our feelings.
On the flip side, the ability to identify our emotions allows us to see the real issue at hand- to take a messy experience, understand it more clearly, and build a roadmap to address the problem. To be emotionally intelligent is empathy.
Emotional intelligence increases the capacity of speedy parents, teachers and managers to stop and check. We really need to be more genuine and polite in our communication and relationships. It seems trust is the basic factor that’s missing. Since it needs time and sacrifice to develop. The other day, I was asking a friend ‘Do you really like things when you click ‘Likes’ on your Facebook?’ it generated a thoughtful reelection on the issue. So if you really want to know how to understand people better, and have more sustaining relationships you have to dig deeper. Be emotionally intelligent. Remember a right attitude wins always.