By Lisa Cypers Kamen.
I’ve got a bit of news for those of you who haven’t seen the mudslinging TV ads, heard the accusatory radio spots or spotted the big, bold signs on every street corner: It’s an election year. Until November, presidential politics will likely dominate your preferred news outlet. It might even sneak into your dinner table conversations and barge in on your break room chats, and it could even motivate you to do a bit of campaigning yourself.
Amid all the public pleas and promises of presidential hopefuls, the always-difficult task of deciding what to believe and what not to believe gets even trickier. Information overload can quickly cloud our judgments or mislead us. Where, oh where, do we turn to stay emotionally intelligent during an election year and beyond?
We each have an internal political party with a set of principles that guides our actions and beliefs. Some of us are members of the Feeling Party, clinging fast to our emotions above all else. Their emphasis on the heart puts Feeling Party types in constant, heated disagreement with Reason Party members. Those are the folks you see using facts and logic to govern their actions. I’m sure you can see why the Feeling Party irks these logic-based people.
Somewhere in the middle of the spectrum is the Values Party, whose members use ethics and values to justify their beliefs. This party sees reason as a useful but one-dimensional tool, and views emotion as a reaction to one’s values. They’re often shrugged off as stubborn by people who think logic should trump all. And then there are the hybrids: The independent party of the decision-making world, these members subscribe to their own unique combination of emotion, logic and values to decide what choices they make.
What internal political party do you belong to? Do you ever cross party lines?
Just as the constant verbal warfare between Democrats and Republicans lowers our country’s morale, our internal politics, if not clearly defined, can put a damper on our emotional intelligence. It’s exhausting to constantly seesaw or overthink when we’re trying to make an important choice.
Maybe you subscribe to logic sometimes, and other times let your emotions run wild. If this is the case, which method usually brings the most positive outcomes? It is important to understand what compels you to make the best choices for you. That’s the first step towards achieving emotional intelligence.
Once you have a firm grasp of your own internal politics, make an effort to understand why other people choose different criteria to govern them. By having a strong understanding of what matters to you and others, you’ll be bound to make decisions that have a more positive impact all-around. How’s that for positive politics?
Happiness is an inside job. ®
Once you’re settled in for the night, or during any downtime you may have, turn on CNN, MSNBC, FOX or another TV news network. Once you locate a segment featuring a 2012 presidential candidate, watch closely for at least a few minutes, paying close attention to the candidate’s explanations and views. Try to identify whether the candidate is operating based on logic, emotion, values, or a mix of the three. Put politics aside and focus on your reaction to the politician’s thought process and reasoning. What does your response tell you about your own decision-making process?