Emotional intelligence can be our greatest ally in discovering the truth. It can help us recognize the external and internal factors that can cloud our judgment, allowing us to make more informed decisions. By understanding how things like our biases and upbringing may influence our understanding of reality, we can peel away the layers of complexity that often come between us and what is true.
However, it is important to remember that truth-finding can be challenging because not all truths make us feel good, and some truths are relative to the situation or context. With emotional intelligence, we can better sift out what is real from what isn't. Here are five ways emotional intelligence can help:
1. Developing self-awareness is arguably the most vital component of emotional intelligence because it helps us confront and understand our motivations, feelings, and beliefs that shape our perceptions and decisions. When we become aware of our biases and personal experiences that may influence our judgment, we can use that information to help us distinguish between true and false realities and, most importantly, the "gray" area that rests in between.
2. Decern the truth from a truth. Differentiating between the truth and a truth is crucial. Everyone’s interpretation of events, feelings, and situations may hold validity. The truth is absolute and cannot be altered - for instance, a tree is a plant, not an animal, water always flows downhill, and a human male with XY chromosomes cannot naturally undergo menstruation or childbirth. However, a truth can vary depending on the context or perspective it is being discussed in. For example, some studies claim that chocolate is good for you. However, this is relative to the type of chocolate being consumed, the quantity, and the microbiome or biology of the individual consuming it. Global warming is a more controversial relative truth. Some argue that global warming is a result of human pollution; others say it is a natural cycle. However, both hold validity.
Being emotionally intelligent entails acknowledging that our beliefs may not be shared with others' perspectives. Rather than attempting to persuade someone to accept our version of truth, we should concentrate on living our values with integrity and compassion. We cannot change another person's beliefs unless they are open to alternative perspectives. So, why bother? Our desire to be right is nothing more than our ego attempting to assert dominance and to feel safe in our ‘rightness.’
3. Think critically. It's important to consider multiple perspectives and evaluate the evidence objectively before forming a conclusion or making decisions. This means that we should not simply accept the facts or opinions that align with their personal beliefs but instead question them. It is important to investigate both sides of an argument or claim and be willing to consider alternative views.
For example, when looking at research and data, has the study been peer-reviewed and been successfully replicated?
A large-scale survey of scientists conducted by Nature magazine in 2016 found that more than 70% of respondents had attempted to reproduce someone else's experiments, and more than half were unable to produce the results. This discrepancy suggests that certain research findings may not be reliable and may need further investigation or replication before being accepted as valid.
Critical thinking also includes weighing the pros and cons, not just for you but for the greater good.
4. Remain curious. As you gain more knowledge, keep reflecting on your understanding of the truth and be open to new information that could challenge what you already believe.
It is true that the more information we have, from every angle, the more we can realize just how complicated some matters may be. While it may be tempting to think that having a complete understanding of something is as simple as gathering all available facts, there are often unseen facets and nuances which complicate matters further. This is why it is important to stay open-minded and humble, realizing that knowledge is constantly changing.
5. Become comfortable with not always having the answer. Choosing to embrace uncertainty and be comfortable with not having a definitive answer is an essential trait of emotionally intelligent people. Self-awareness and trusting our instincts are important components of this process, as they open us up to new possibilities and solutions that may prove beneficial for both our professional and personal advancement.
Rather than seeing uncertainty as a roadblock, consider it an opportunity to explore the unknown and find creative solutions that may lead to unexpected success. Get comfortable with not always having the answer - you never know what you might discover along the way!
As humans, we often forget that there is a vast amount of knowledge that we have yet to discover. The past has proven that our current beliefs may not always stand the test of time. Therefore, it's important to approach the pursuit of truth with humility and emotional intelligence to truly understand its complexities and nuances.