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How to Change Yourself to Become a Glass Half Full Person by Improving Your Emotional Intelligence
Have you ever wondered how is it possible to see positive in every situation?
Do you envy people who seem to be happy no matter what? Do you suspect sometimes it’s just a mask they are putting on, as life has ups and downs? Or do you believe that they are just very lucky and nothing bad happens to them? If you believe in the latter, ask yourself how realistic is that they would never have any bad experiences?
So what are they doing differently that they seem to be enjoying life much more than you are? If you asked them they would probably look confused as it's something that happens on a subconscious level. It's the way they perceive events, that is different.
Anything that happens to you is neither bad nor good, it's just a situation, an event - a fact.
You know it's a fact when everyone agrees on that. When something happens to you personally, in most cases it doesn't stay as fact in your mind. It becomes a positive or negative experience straight away. You don't even realise that you have judged the situation immediately as it happens on subconscious level.
Life experience, your beliefs, your ethics and what your parents used to tell you, all those take part in your judgement of the situation. It happens in the blink of an eye so we don't even know it had happened. It's our survival instinct - if in the past hunter did not react quickly in the life threatening situation, he would be dead.
Nowadays we can clearly see this mechanism working when we see someone for the first time. Even before they speak, we already have an opinion about them, and a feeling we know what they are like. This ability to analyse and judge in seconds is called Emotional Intelligence and is being explored more and more these days.
Your EQ as it's called is responsible for your reaction to events.
And in consequence it determines how do you feel about them - as being positive or negative. The good news is that, it is not fixed for life. Your reactions can be changed the way you want them to be. Just to make it all a bit clearer, let's talk about real life example.
Imagine that your friend, Andy for example, was just fired and he came to you to talk about it.
What do you think about it? Good or bad? Most people will say that it is a very bad thing and they would really feel for their friends. You would probably feel sympathetic and want to give him a comforting pat on the back.
But you may actually be surprised, as some people don't see it as a bad thing. They might be actually delighted. Can't you see how? There might be many reasons for that. Perhaps he didn't like his job but had no courage to leave, or maybe he felt bored and was looking forward to new opportunities.
It could be that he really wanted to do it for a while as he has other ideas but he needed employer to fire him, otherwise he would lose on shares or other benefits. Finally it could be just that he believes that a change is always for the better so he is looking forward to new options and challenges ahead.
Can you see it now? Different reasoning creates different feelings, instead of being upset or devastated, your friend may feel relieved, excited or be in a mood for celebration.
It all comes to your reaction to the situation as the situation itself is neither bad nor good. It is what we do with it - that it becomes.
It's not a trivial task to see positive in everything and also it needs practise before it becomes a second nature. One day although you will start noticing that you are actually content about almost anything that happens to you. The trouble is that the emotional reaction to the event is almost instantaneous so the only way to start changing it is from the end.
How to change emotional reaction from feeling upset to feeling positive.
Think about something that made you upset recently. For example you were going for your first date but the person cancelled on you. You may feel upset, hurt, rejected and ugly (especially if you are a woman). It's unlikely at this very moment you would feel very happy or even content about it.
Think again about your feelings - what have you been saying to yourself and others? What specifically made you upset about the situation? Sometimes it's good to write it down so you can look at the words you are using.
Generalisations and unhelpful beliefs.
You may have negative thoughts like “I'm useless, I will never find a partner” or “I knew he will not go out with me, I'm too fat”.
Look for anything that sounds like generalisation, for example “it always happens to me”. “Always” is a generalisation as it implies that nothing else happens at all which is clearly impossible. In the example above “never” is most common generalisation - are you a clairvoyant to know what future will bring?
Look also for unhelpful beliefs, things that you think or say to yourself that make you upset and give you no benefits at all. In the example above saying you are too fat or useless is not a fact, it's a belief that doesn't do you any good.
Analyse your own words, look at them from different angles, and try to see through your beliefs. In the example above, it's your assumption that the person cancelled because of your weight, it's not a fact unless he or she said so. It could be for any other reason.
In case of generalisations, search for hard evidence. What is the evidence for saying that you will NEVER find a partner? Have you had a chance to talk to someone from the future who knew you and been to your funeral?
Just putting things in different light and looking at them from a different angle, often changes your perception of the event for better.
Now we want to go even further, to create something that would serve you well in future. If something similar will happen in the future how would you like to feel? What would you like to feel instead of being upset and rejected? Disgusted? Angry? Relieved? Happy? Feel sorry for the other person? Choose something that suits you the best and find the reasons you might feel like that.
Feeling relieved instead of rejected.
Let's pick the “Relieved” feeling for our example. What sort of thoughts or reasons would you need to have to make you feel relieved that the date was cancelled?
Perhaps you are a shy person and you feel uncomfortable in new situations? Or maybe you were very busy lately and suddenly you've got a few hours of spare time when you can catch-up on a sleep or a book you have started ages ago? Or potentially you are glad as you suspect you were not a good match and you would have to dump him or her anyway later? You could feel sorry for your date if you thought he or she wasn’t on a date for ages and that made him or her feel anxious and scarred, or that he or she suddenly developed a big pimple in a visible place.
The key here is to remember that in most cases it is not personal unless you know someone for ages. Most of the time it's their problem not yours. Experiment with those different reasons and feelings. Do it alone or play it as a game with your best friend. Have fun out of it as the more you do it, the quicker it becomes a habit and you will be able to choose the reaction that is best for you.
Changing feelings not facts.
You may say to me that it is cheating, that it's not what had happened, and it's manipulating the facts! And what were you doing in first place? Making yourself feel measurable is not a fake? What have you done subconsciously wasn't a fact either.
The difference is the quality of your life and choices you make. If you keep your negative reaction like it was a treasure, you are less likely to change it to better one as you will be reluctant to try again. If you choose different reaction, like feeling sorry for the person, you yourself will feel relaxed. Thanks to those internal feelings, you will look great to others and you will be asked out by someone much better very quickly.