Image by Debbie Digioia
If you’re smart and successful, you may wonder why you haven’t been able to resolve your eating problems. You may find it bizarre that you can have a high IQ (Intelligence Quotient), yet still eat mindlessly or emotionally and have yet to manage to enjoy a positive, sane relationship with food and your body. Your challenge makes perfect sense if you don’t have a high EQ (Emotional Quotient) aka emotional intelligence.
According to psychologist and author Daniel Goleman, your EQ is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. “It is generally said to include three skills:
1. Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others;
2. The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem- solving;
Let’s see how the above would help you improve your relationship with food. If you were able to identify your own emotions and manage them more effectively, you’d know what you were feeling and accept your emotions as they come and go. You’d be able to ride the waves of emotion without freaking out or thinking that you shouldn’t be feeling whatever you’re experiencing. You’d value emotions as necessary and useful and use your intuition more effectively to help you succeed and be happy. You wouldn’t spend a great deal of time second guessing yourself and trying to avoid your feelings.
Moreover, you’d have a better handle on understanding what others might be feeling. You’d be attuned to nuances of emotion without the need to take on what someone else is feeling or, alternately, need to shut it out. You’d do a more effective job of sorting out which feelings are yours and which ones belong to someone else. You’d feel empathy, compassion for yourself and others, and not assume that other people are feeling what you’re experiencing, nor that you should feel the same way as they do or as they wish you would. You’d be able to regulate your feelings and help others regulate theirs. Instinctively, you’d know what to say to yourself and others to cheer up or calm down.
Consider this sentiment: “People are attracted to those who are comfortable in their own skin…” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, p. D14, 12/12/16, “Being a leader requires good EQ” by Dennis Zink). Think of folks you know who fit this description. Are they the smartest people you know? The most successful or cleverest or richest? Or are they ones who manage their emotions and those of others effectively? Notice how these folks act and react. Study them and observe what they say and don’t say, what they do and don’t do. Try modeling yourself after them. And be sure to surround yourself with friends who have a high EQ. I guarantee that their habits and attitudes will rub off on you, and that your eating will improve as you increase your EQ.