Emotional intelligence or maturity is a choice. Forget all of the times when you have heard the phrase: “I have to do this.” “You are making me so mad.” “I’ll get in trouble if I don’t do this.” “If you refuse, I will make you do it.” “I can’t help it.” None of these statements are true. Nobody can force you to do anything which you do not want to do, including minor life occurrences. To put this responsibility and privilege of choice onto someone else is refusing to admit to actively making a personal decision. This applies to all forms of emotional intelligence.
Logically speaking, someone who does not enjoy taking on the repercussions of their decisions is someone who is most likely to not admit to them. This is, in part, a form of laziness and, in part, a form of spinelessness. Somewhere along the line, they were given to believe that it is okay to not take responsibility for your actions and that someone or something else will be there to do it for you.
In physical form, this is the very act of drug abuse or alcoholism. Substance abuse takes this emotional deprivation and turns it into a physical action. One is psychological and one is psycho-physical. Other than this, there is no difference whatsoever between substance abuse and low or undeveloped emotional intelligence.
We have all seen the individual who acts like a child and blames everyone else in a petulant voice. They become defensive when questioned about showing up late for work. They spend all day loudly explaining why they were late. They obviously have low self esteem, but that does not stop them from blaming their low self esteem on someone else. Their excuses are frequent and varied. They often proclaim how much they are the victim, the one left out, the one screwed over, and the one who everyone should pity and/or look up to, depending upon their mood.
Even though we have all seen this individual, there are others whose behavior is more socially acceptable and not as easily identifiable. They use the phrases at the beginning of this article, phrases which are almost the norm. These are a much softer, subtler form of refusing to take responsibility, but they still lack emotional maturity.
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Goleman, Daniel. Working with emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam Books, 1998. Print.
Zeidner, Moshe, Gerald Matthews, and Richard D. Roberts. What we know about emotional intelligence: how it affects learning, work, relationships, and our mental health. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2009. Print.