As a couples counselor in the Oakland, CA area, I get to see people use emotions to improve their relationship every day. Yet, it can be tricky to know how to make this happen in your own romance.
You might think it’s easy to use and express your emotions to improve your relationship—hugging, gift giving, acts of kindness. Yet, it’s more than simply self-expression.
Using your emotions to strengthen your relationship surrounds the idea of emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence doesn’t have anything to do with how intellectual you are. This skill is learned and strengthened through practice.
Plus, when you learn how to better meet your own emotional needs, you can improve your relationship by communicating those needs to your partner.
How to Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence
There are many different ways to strengthen your emotional intelligence. When you do, you’ll be able to better express your emotions to your partner.
Simply put, the more you understand your emotions and can share them, the easier it will be for your partner to do the same.
Everyone builds up their emotional intelligence in different ways. It’s important to find something that works for you.
Some common ways to increase your emotional intelligence include:
- Learning how to identify and manage stress triggers
- Practicing empathy
- Validating your own feelings
- Accepting your own faults
- Developing resilience
- Admitting when you’re wrong
- Being mindful of self-talk
- Acknowledging other people’s feelings
Depending on your personality and how you currently handle your emotions, these tips might be easy or very difficult.
Keep in mind that emotional intelligence takes time to build up. You don’t learn everything overnight in any area of life.
How Emotional Intelligence Can Improve Your Relationship
When you have a higher emotional awareness, it allows you to recognize how other people in your life might be feeling. This is especially helpful in romantic relationships.
Understanding your own emotions better can help you to become more mindful as well. In a relationship, one of the biggest ways this plays out is through nonverbal communication.
Emotions certainly do not have to be vocal. In fact, you can end up feeling (and giving) a lot more to someone by nonverbal cues.
Because you’ll be able to recognize those cues more, you can pick up on the subtle changes in emotions your partner might be feeling. You’ll also be more aware of your own subtle emotional changes. As a result, you can express them to your partner.
The better you are at recognizing even the most subtle changes in yourself, the sooner you can let your partner know how you’re feeling. This can help to stop arguments before they start, and get rid of confusion in your relationship.
How to Use Negative Emotions to Improve Your Relationship
You may not always like the emotions that arise from certain situations, especially in your relationship. Learning how to better understand and manage your negative emotions is important.
It’s helpful to use emotional conflict as a way to grow closer with your partner. After all, disagreements happen. Every relationship deals with conflict because no two people are exactly the same.
But, the more aware you are of your emotions, the easier it is to resolve those conflicts in a constructive way. Healthy communication and even healthy disagreements can make a relationship stronger than ever.
Don’t be afraid to become more in tune with your own emotions. By building up your emotional intelligence, you’ll be doing yourself a favor when it comes to every relationship in your life.
You’ll have an easier time understanding the needs and emotions of others while learning more about yourself than you may have ever thought possible.
Knowing how to use your emotions to improve your relationship isn’t difficult but it does require deliberate focus.