Honesty in Emotional Intelligence

Updated: Dec 28, 2019

By Nandini Rao

Contributing Author for Spark Igniting Minds

In the last couple of years, I have been actively engaging myself with meeting strangers, making friends with them and speaking to them. I speak about what is the one thing that they really care about and is the most important to them. The most important aspect of life that most of them say is important is a unit that they call FAMILY.


I get them to share their daily and weekly schedules with me. In their own words, their family is the most important drive in their life, it is not so in their actions. They hardly spend any time with their family on a daily basis or even on weekends.


When I question them about it, more often than not they go into the victim mode of justifying how demands of modern life and career prevent them from maintaining their family time and emotional commitments.


In that case, I wonder, are they being truly honest when they say that family is most important for them? If not, who are they not being honest with? Me, as one who poses the question; their family who has expectations from them; or is it themselves who are fearful of confronting their own true selves?


Very often, people have built successful careers for themselves, by showing a great deal of emotional intelligence at the workplace. Even such people are not so successful when managing their own emotions in their personal life. Why this paradox? If a family, as they say, is most important to them, why do they fail to manage emotions in their personal life, with their family members?


In my understanding and experience, this contrast occurs because they are not connected to their own selves. They are not aware of many of their own emotions simmering at a deeper level.


Can a person who is emotionally intelligent about others not be aware of his own emotions? Yes, of course. When he/she is fearful of confronting his/her own inauthentic behavior, it is difficult for him/ her to connect to oneself. To be able to become aware of self, one needs to be willing to become emotionally vulnerable in front of others; one needs to be willing to unlearn the old knowledge of self and learn new aspects of oneself; one needs to be willing to let go of old baggage of emotions and opinions and be willing to make a new beginning; one needs to clean up the mess that he/she has already created in relationships and be willing to create new equations and dimensions in those relationships.


Easier said than done! We may argue that all of us know this but this is not very practical. Then the question is, what is required to make this practical and a reality in our lives?


To make this utopian idea a reality, one needs to completely surrender to the coach or a Guru to attain awareness of Self. To surrender, here, is to do whatever he/ she is told to do by the coach or the Guru, with full trust, with no questions asked and be willing to be led by the other. Let us call this EMOTIONAL HONESTY.


This process of shifting one’s innermost self is the most painful experience, yet the most liberating one. When one gains the ability to intelligently manage (not control) one’s own emotions by connecting to their innermost self, he/she is in the process of becoming more and more emotionally honest with himself/herself. This person, who is already having the ability to manage other’s emotions intelligently, after being emotionally honest to oneself, moves to an altogether higher level of managing the emotional intelligence of others.


Developing emotional honesty adds dimension to the existing emotional quotient of the person. With the heightened emotional honesty with self and with others, the RELATIONSHIP QUOTIENT with oneself and with others climbs several steps of the success of the relationship.


Hence, I say, with the conviction that developing emotional honesty with our own self will catapult the emotional honesty that we have in other relationships. That alone is the basis of fulfillment in life.


Let me illustrate with an example, how I can achieve that level of emotional honesty.

Five most important things in my life (not necessarily in that order) are

  • Health and wellness of the family,

  • Financial security for the future

  • A little more money to satisfy my travel and creative yearnings

  • A comfortable lifestyle in my old age

  • Making a difference in the quality of life of people around me


These five priorities in my life have come out of my consciously ‘searching within myself’ over a span of two years. The first list was close to a hundred things that were important to me. I had to pitch each thing on the list against another to decide what was more important to me. The process of gaining this clarity connected me to my Self deeply.


I emerged as a fulfilled person. I emerged as a person who was free to make m