8 Ways to Improve Your Relationships By Being More Emotionally Intelligent

Emotions are arguably at the core of what it means to be human. Your ability to successfully communicate your precise, unique, and complicated feelings to those around you is what makes you you. That being said, feelings are also ridiculously good at getting in your way. Growing your emotional intelligence in relationships can help you strengthen ties of all kinds, so that feelings of anger, frustration, or love can be correctly identified and effectively communicated to your partner (or even just those around you). Emotional intelligence allows you to acknowledge feelings in a healthy way — and perhaps move past them into the realm of logic.

One problem with society is that “having emotions” is oftentimes synonymous with “being weak.” Because they have the potential to complicate relationships, work, and even your own thinking, they’ve been labeled “bad” — especially the negative ones like guilt, shame, and anger. People have gotten insanely good at just pushing emotions down and allowing them to slowly (but surely) destroy them. “Self-help” has become a genre that’s overflowing with the idea that it's necessary to staple a smiley face on top of negative emotions, when really, it’s quite the opposite. It's important to recognize sadness, anger, and insecurities for what they are before one can ever hope to move on. Here’s a list of books and resources for anyone looking to become more emotionally intelligent through mindful awareness and recognition, rather than through suppression.

Learn The Importance Of Emotional Literacy

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ , $11, Amazon

Written by Daniel Goleman, an international best-selling author and recipient of the American Psychological Association's Lifetime Achievement Award, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ uses neuroscience and psychology to teach readers why the ability to process and utilize emotions just might be more important than education, upbringing, and IQ. Emotions affect personal and professional relationships (as well as your relationship with yourself) more than logic does, and as a result, when you learn to be “literate” in them, you’ll be able to access your greatest potential. Reviewers have called this book “a must read” and “profoundly life-changing,” and it’s a great first step for anyone who needs to shine a spotlight on their feelings, rather than keep them cooped up backstage.

(Psst! Listen to this title now on Audible on a free 30-day trial.)

Get To The Root Of Your Emotions, So You Can Be Level-Headed

Stop Overreacting , $15, Amazon

Stop Overreacting , written by a marriage therapist and professor Judith Siegel, is designed specifically for people who make a habit of letting their emotions overtake them. Instead of covering up the desire to withdraw, the need to yell, or the pain that comes with rejection, Siegel teaches readers how to uncover the cause of their emotional triggers. That way, they can address their anger, hurt, or defensiveness at its root. She treats emotions like secondary experiences (rather than intrinsic characteristics), and she offers practical and straightforward insights you can utilize to address feelings and learn to react — without damaging relationships.

(Psst! This title is also available on Audible.)

Figure Out How Your Brain Processes Emotions

Thinking Fast and Slow , $9, Amazon

The first thing they teach you in psych class is that there are two parts to the mind — the conscious and the unconscious — but very few introductory courses teach you how to deal with them. Thinking Fast and Slow is a New York Times best-seller that teaches you the difference between intuition and logic, and how emotions play into both spheres. Daniel Kahneman is a renowned psychologist (and winner of the Nobel Prize in economics), who understands the human brain on a deeper level. He offers practical insights about decision-making, handling emotions, and goal-setting that are bound to positively impact relationships, work habits, and your own happiness.

(Psst! This title is also available on Audible.)

Learn To Face Rejection Without Giving Up

Resilience , $13, Amazon

Anyone who’s ambitious in their work life (especially those who work in an artistic profession, like writing or design) is bound to face a lot of rejection from bosses, co-workers, and potential employers, no matter how good they are. Resilience is a crash course on how to face criticism and countless no’s without losing your sense of motivation and confidence. Mark McGuinness, a poet and a coach for creative professionals, offers a book that’s witty, refined, and realistic, and which is also a great resource for people who tend to take things personally in relationships. It teaches the reader why exactly rejection hurts as much as it does, and how you can use it in a constructive way to improve your work — and make you even stronger than you already are.

(Psst! This title is also available on the Kindle app.)

Step Away From Victimization In Work And Relationships

Breaking Free from the Victim Trap , $10, Amazon

Negative emotions arise for a whole multitude of reasons, but most often, they’re prompted by the actions and words of other people. The problem, however, is that most people act and think without even considering someone else, so being hurt and offended by their thoughtlessness ends up hurting no one except yourself. Breaking Free from the Victim Trap teaches anyone and everyone how to step away from limiting cycles long enough to realize that something’s got to give. It helps the reader pinpoint addictions to drama and self-pity, so that they can move in the direction of peace and self-empowerment.

(Psst! Check out this title on Kindle Unlimited on a free 30-day trial.)

Learn To Communicate With People At Any Relationship Level

How To Win Friends & Influence People , $9, Amazon

Written by Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends & Influence People has been a best-seller for more than 60 years. While it’s primarily about handling people and networking, it also reveals a whole lot about the psychology behind what makes a person trustworthy, charismatic, and emotionally stable — definitely helpful to know when approaching partnerships of any kind. It offers timeless advice which readers have been using to improve their relationships for decades. Even years later, Carnegie offers a narrative that’s both practical and personal, as he ties his own experiences into the book along with an easy-to-follow how-to plan.

(Psst! This title is also available on Audible .)

Just Let It Go

The Sedona Method , $12, Amazon

Written by Hale Dwoskin, a renowned self-help speaker and writer, The Sedona Method remains one of my all-time favorite books about acknowledging and handling emotions, especially in relationships. Its main argument is that people have a bad habit of either ignoring an emotion entirely or obsessing over it until it destroys them. Dwoskin’s advice? Recognize it, and let it go. This book offers several straightforward, routine-based tactics for exploring your thoughts and feelings and learning to drop them as easily as if you were dropping a pen on the floor. Once you learn to adequately let go of the thought patterns and feelings that no longer suit you, you’ll start to see improvement in every area of your life, from the professional to the personal.

(Psst! This title is also available on the Kindle app.)

Deal With Emotions That Corrupt Relationships

Overcoming Emotions That Destroy , $12, Amazon

For anyone who has a habit of letting angry feelings rot relationships from the inside out, Overcoming Emotions That Destroy is an incredible read to help you get in touch with your irritations and be able to tell the constructive ones from the destructive ones. Speaker Chip Ingram pairs up with psychologist and author Dr. Becca Johnson to deliver a how-to book that’s both accessible and scientific. Rather than treat anger like a problem in and of itself, it helps you to uncover the root of your unhappiness, so you can process it in a healthy and effective way — and even realize that sometimes, anger is a good thing. While this book pulls from biblical examples, it’s accessible to all audiences because of its practical applications and straightforward writing. Reviewers say that they’ve finally made moves at resolving their deepest emotions, rather than just pushing them down again.

(Psst! This title is also available on Audible .)

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