Emotional competence might be a familiar term thatnobody ever fully explained to you. And that’s because emotions aren’t something that people are taught to discuss and interpret. The world is too focused on pragmatic things, such as careers and money. Unfortunately, many people seem to think that material possessions are the only things that can improve your life. You should be happy with your life if you have a lovely house and a good car.
The thing is, people are social creatures. Sure, because we live in a society we need money and we need to work. But fundamentally, we need to create connections and socialize. And one of the most important types of connections people will form throughout their lives is a romantic one. Let’s face it; people love to be in love. But many don’t know how to create a lasting bond with someone.
And this is because, even in relationships, they focus on the material or superficial aspects. You want someone good-looking, who has a stable and comfortable life. And you think that getting that will automatically lead to love. Even if that’s not the case, and you are looking for a real connection without caring about the superficial aspects, you will still struggle. Most people are taught how to open up and communicate.
They aren’t told how to process their emotions and empathize with others. This means that you’ll meet great hurdles in your relationships. You are likely to have a lot of miscommunications and struggle to understand the other. Ultimately, you will not likely have a lasting relationship without working on your emotional competence. But what is emotional competence? And how can you use it to strengthen the bond between you and your partner?
What is Emotional Competence?
Emotional competence refers to one’s ability to understand and regulate their emotions. It’s derived from emotional intelligence, often defined as the ability to identify emotions. This concept is about making sense of your feelings before understanding others’ emotions. It’s important to realize that you can’t truly be empathetic if you don’t even understand what you are going through.
But, more than that, it’s about controlling your emotions. Everyone will go through the whole emotional spectrum throughout their lives. You’ll be happy, sad, angry, confused, and everything. But, say you get mad at someone. You might feel inclined to scream and make a scene. But emotional competence is about controlling yourself and regulating that anger.
How Emotions Alter Emotional Competence
Another critical aspect of emotional competence relates to expressing one’s emotions. Unfortunately, many of us have been raised in an environment where showing emotions was not encouraged. Not only that but this expression was often suppressed. If you cried as a child, chances are your parents told you to stop crying and be quiet. This parenting style isn’t even a malicious one. Your parents didn’t want to harm your emotional development.
But they were raised the same way, which made them believe that’s the best way to raise a child. Not understanding emotions is something that society struggles with. And these destructive behaviors have created a vicious cycle from which few people can break free. This means that most children grow up without ever learning how to express themselves. So, when they are sad, they don’t communicate and try to be proactive in finding a solution.
Instead, they isolate themselves. When angry, they don’t know how to calm down and let go of whatever made them mad. Almost everyone has developed unhealthy coping mechanisms. But emotional competence can teach you how to change those behaviors and express yourself better.
Social vs. Emotional Competence
Lastly, emotional competence has a social aspect. Sure, essential parts of this concept refer to the individual and how they can understand their own emotions. But social competence is also important, as it refers to how you interact with others on an emotional level. Essentially, social competence is about how well you can empathize with others.
Most people make the mistake of always putting their emotions above others’. But that’s unhealthy and will not allow you to create healthy connections. Instead, you need to learn to listen and honestly try to understand what others are trying to express.
How Emotional Competence Makes A Relationship Last
1. It Helps You Be Emotionally Balanced
Many couples struggle with how well each partner is well-adjusted and can balance their emotions. If you’ve been in a committed relationship, you have lived through petty fights caused by seemingly nothing. Those fights usually happen because one of you got mad at something unrelated to the relationship and decided to yell at your partner just because.
Or maybe one of you felt depressed and isolated, making the other mad. Not knowing how to regulate and express your emotions will always cause issues that should have never been there in the first place. This is why many couples break up, even if the relationship is going well. Because they aren’t balanced as individuals, this will affect their relationship.
But emotional competence can help you find the balance you need. You need to work on yourself and understand your emotions better. Figure out what your triggers are. If you introspect, you’ll figure out what makes you mad, saddens you, and makes you happy.
As soon as you understand where your emotions are coming from, you can start to regulate them. Learn how to compartmentalize and manage what you feel. For example, if you get angry at work, never let that anger spill into the relationship. Instead, go for a walk, cool off and then come back home and continue spending quality time with your partner.
2. It Helps You Communicate
Misunderstandings often cause the downfall of relationships. For example, you might feel jealous of how much your partner spends with someone. But you might think that sharing that will only make you seem crazy. The more you try to suppress that feeling, the likelier it’ll be that it will eventually boil over, and you won’t be able to control it anymore. And this will likely result in a huge fight or even in you feeling cheated on.
But the thing is, your partner can’t reassure you if they don’t even know that you are feeling jealous. And this logic doesn’t only apply to jealousy. It’s the same for all feelings. So, you need to understand that sharing how you feel and communicating are essential steps to processing your emotions. Emotional competence is all about communicating in a healthy way. This is important mainly because it can be hard to make sense of your feelings alone.
Telling your partner how you feel means that they can help you navigate and process everything. Plus, when you tell them if something is bothering you, there will be no miscommunications. For example, say you don’t like that they leave the toilet seat up. Better tell them now so they can change that behavior than allow this to become a real issue.
And the same goes for telling them things you like. The more you know about each other, the stronger your bond will be. Make sure you also tell them they can talk to you about everything. Communication should never be one-sided. When you can speak freely about your feelings and work through your issues as a team, your relationship will last.
3. It Helps You Be More Empathetic
As explained previously, emotional competence primarily deals with how an individual manages emotions. But the social aspect is still relevant. Learning to be empathetic and understanding your emotions is vital in any relationship. Unfortunately, many couples fail because their partners are too individualistic. They only care about their emotions and give little to no regard to how the other feels.
Or they minimize what the other is going through. For example, how often have you been told by a partner that your work issue is not a big deal, especially compared to what they’re going through at work? And how many times have you said something similar to your partner? Things like these can create an irreparable dent in your relationships and ultimately lead to a breakup. This is why empathy is a key factor in any lasting relationship.
But you cannot be empathetic if you don’t understand your emotions. So, by improving your emotional competence and being more introspective, you can learn more about feelings. But understanding your emotions is just the starting point. After you do that, you need to understand your partner’s particular triggers and emotions.
And the best way to do this is by simply listening to them. When they are trying to tell you something, don’t interrupt them. Instead, allow them to finish and ask additional questions to understand their perspective better. Even if you disagree, you at least need to understand. After all, you are not in a position to decide how the other should feel. If they are being unreasonable, tell them that.
But always try to work towards solving the issue instead of minimizing their feelings and putting them down. And always remember to look at both perspectives. You’ll find that, by doing this, you’ll strengthen the bond you have with your partner, and you’ll avoid unnecessary fights.
Final Thoughts on How Emotional Competence Makes A Relationship Last
Relationships are always hard, and they require a lot of work. You must learn to work through your differences and mesh your lives together. But they can become easier to manage if the partners understand how to analyze and manage their emotions. This is where emotional competence comes in handy.
Not many people know about this concept, but ensuring your relationship will last is very useful. It can teach you how to understand and manage your emotions, so they don’t interfere with the relationship’s well-being. It also helps you communicate more efficiently and find healthy ways to discuss your feelings.
Lastly, it can help you empathize more and find a deeper understanding of what your partner is going through. All these aspects will strengthen your bond, ensuring that the relationship will pass the test of time.